While undergoing chemotherapy, you can experience a range of side effects, including hair loss. Even though there is a chance you can lose your hair, there are steps you and your doctor can take to possibly prevent hair loss. Here are some treatments that are available to help prevent hair loss.
Minoxidil has been used for years to help prevent genetics-related hair loss and can possibly help to prevent chemotherapy-related hair loss. The drug works by stimulating hair growth, which can help to counter the loss experienced.
Minoxidil requires continuous use. If you stop using it, hair loss can start to occur after a few months. You do not need a prescription for minoxidil. There are very few side effects associated with using the drug.
Cold caps involve the use of a strap-on hat that is filled with a chilled gel. The caps work by narrowing the blood vessels that are beneath the scalp. As a result, less chemotherapy medicines are able to travel through to the hair follicles and cause them to weaken. The end result is that your hair is less likely to shed.
The cool caps are worn while you are undergoing chemotherapy. You also have to keep the cap on for a period of time following the end of your session.
In order to use cold caps, you have to be a good candidate. The caps are generally recommended for people with solid tumors. The results you experience can vary.
There is one drawback to using a cold cap that you should consider. A cold cap can cost hundreds of dollars and might not be covered by your insurance. Before using a cold cap, check with your insurance provider to determine if it is covered.
Spironolactone is a prescription strength medication that can help to slow the progression of hair loss. The drug works by slowing the production of hormones that are found in the hair follicles, which slows the loss.
There are side effects to the medication, including mild nausea, headache, and breast tenderness. While taking this medication, your potassium levels will have to be closely monitored by your doctor. You also have to monitor your potassium intake. For instance, you could be restricted foods rich in potassium, such as bananas and beans.
There are other ways that you can possibly help with chemotherapy hair loss prevention. Work with your doctor to find out what does and does not work.