How To Reduce Hair Loss After Going Through Chemotherapy
Losing your hair is one of the most distressing side effects of chemo treatments. Chemotherapy can cause you to lose hair all over your body. You can lose hair from your scalp, armpits, pubic area, eyebrows and eyelashes. If you want to reduce hair loss on your scalp, then you should consider using cold caps.
What Is Scalp Hypothermia?
Scalp hypothermia is a procedure that cools your scalp using a cold cap. It is performed when a patient is going through chemotherapy treatments. This procedure works by decreasing your metabolism and inducing vasoconstriction. Vasoconstriction is when your blood vessels constrict, which increases your blood pressure. This results in limiting the amount of chemo that reaches your hair follicles. If you are not getting a lot of chemo in your scalp, then you are not going to lose as much hair in this area.
How Does It Work?
Scalp hypothermia works by filling a hypothermia cap with gel. It is controlled by a computer. The computer circulates the gel through your cap while going you are going through chemo treatment.
Patients also have to wear a second cap. The cap is made from neoprene and it covers the cooling cap. It keeps the cold from escaping and holds your cooling cap in place.
What Patients Should Use It?
The success of scalp hypothermia depends on how well you can tolerate coldness, the amount of chemo used and the type of chemo used. This treatment should not be used with certain cancers: melanoma, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and leukemia. Cold caps are also not suitable for patients in advanced stages of cancer and when it has spread.
There is a chance that cancer cells have spread to your scalp and are just sitting in that spot. If you choose to get scalp hypothermia, then you may not get rid of the cancer in that area. This can result in cancer cells growing after chemo treatment is done.
For the same reasons, scalp hypothermia should not be used with blood cancers, like leukemia. In cancers like leukemia, the cancer is moving around your body. Scalp hypothermia is also not suitable for someone who is going through several sessions of chemotherapy. It is impossible to keep your scalp cool for that amount of time.
There is the possibility of still losing hair with scalp hypothermia. The amount of hair you lose depends on the type of drugs used during the treatment. It also depends on how long the drugs are used.