Can Hair Loss Be Prevented During Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy, or just chemo, is one of the common ways that modern medicine uses to manage and even overcome many various forms of cancer. Chemo affects each and every patient differently, and it can cause a wide range of symptoms. Perhaps no symptom is more associated with chemo than hair loss. In fact, it’s usually one of the first questions a patient asks when discussing chemo as an option with their doctor. What’s important to understand, and what most doctors stress, is that hair loss doesn’t always occur, and when it does, the hair usually resume growing once the treatments end.

 

 

The Relationship between Hair Loss and Chemo

A primary characteristic of cancer is cells dividing too rapidly. The objective of chemo is to kill those cells. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to limit the treatment to just cancerous cells. Chemo affects the entire body and often kills cells that are dividing rapidly under normal circumstances. This is why many patients tend to experience symptoms at the lining of the mouth, in the stomach and at the hair follicles. Healthy cells are able to withstand and bounce back from this assault, which is why some patients are not affected at all and why most patients experience new hair growth after treatment.

 

Hair Grow After Chemo

 

 

Diet and Exercise

When undergoing chemo, the doctor will provide the patient with a diet and exercise regimen. The goal with these items is to strengthen the patient’s body as much as possible. A strong body will deal with the assault from the chemo better, and the cells dividing rapidly normally will be more likely to overcome the effects. Click here for more information about hair loss treatments that emphasize diet and exercise. However, keep in mind that it’s very important not to deviate from the diet and exercise instructions provided by a doctor since those additional efforts could be counter-productive.

 

Dealing with the Hair Loss

For many patients undergoing chemo, the best way to deal with it is to let it happen but to put themselves in a healthy mental state. For instance, transitioning to a short haircut prior to treatment can make the initial experience of hair loss a lot less jarring. In addition, many people choose to wear wigs, caps and scarves because it’s a positive way for them to bolster their body image. Dealing with it isn’t the only option, however, and there are hair loss treatments available that are designed to take place during the chemo treatment period.

 

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Treating the Hair Loss

Chemo can actually rejuvenate hair growth. When treatment ends, many people experience better growth than had been the norm prior. Many hair loss therapies are able to take advantage of this rejuvenation even prior to treatment ending. In fact, treatments that use minoxidil and the like often work at a faster rate in people who are undoing chemo treatment. There are other therapies, such as scalp hypothermia, that have shown a lot of promise, but in these cases, it’s important to verify with the doctor that the hair loss treatment won’t interfere with the cancer treatment.

 

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