Chemotherapy is a wide medical term primarily administered in the cancer treatment. There are almost 100+ various chemotherapy agents, which can be applied orally, i.e., in the form creams, through injection into veins or tumors, or by injecting into the bladder, stomach or primary nervous system. Nonetheless, many chemotherapy medications are administered to treat all several kinds of cancer the basic purpose of all chemotherapy medication is the same ‘to cease cell reproduction’. This characteristic of chemotherapy medication is accountable for their effectiveness against deadly cancer, but also for several side effects, which also includes hair loss.
Chemotherapy and the Cell Process
To understand why you lose your hair, it is necessary to develop the understanding of the association between chemotherapy and cells in your body. Each cell in the body is meant to perform a specific function, which is ascertained by its DNA. Some cells live for long while others reproduce and die early. Cells reproduce by creating their own replicas, i.e., their DNA code, which ascertains their function. If sufficient number of a particular type of cells destroys without replicating themselves, then there is a dearth of cells to serve that particular function in the body.
How Cell Reproduction Functions
There are five stages of replication of cells. Phase G1 is the relaxing phase, which occurs before cell reproduction phase. A few cells remain in resting phase for longer stretch of time compare to other cells. Cancer cells, including few other cells that reproduce frequently, for instance hair follicle cells, cannot stay in resting stage for a longer period of time. Phase G1 can lasts anywhere between 18 to 30 hours. After this phase cells begin to develop and generate more proteins in the phase of G1. The S phase is the second phase which can stretch from 18 to 20 hours. During this phase, the cell produces a copy of its DNA for the new cells to know how they have to function. The G2 phase is the third phase that goes up to two to 10 hours. The cell looks for the new DNA strand, and starts to split. It completes the splitting activity in the final M phase.
Chemotherapy and Hair Cells
Chemotherapy ceases cell reproduction from happening by obstructing one of the phases of cell reproduction. Usually, chemotherapy medications disturbed either S or M phases of reproduction. This obstruction to cell reproduction negatively influences any such cells that reproduce rapidly, as it stops them from replicating themselves. This is what makes chemotherapy so effective at eliminating cancer cells and cutting down tumors-cancer cells reproduction. Nevertheless, hair follicle cells are also known to reproduce rapidly and when their replication cycle is disrupted, ultimately the body copes up with an insufficient volume of hair follicle cells and this is when we witness hair loss.
When does Hair Loss Occurs
More often than not, hair loss begins within two weeks of the first chemotherapy treatment. After 14 days, the number of hair follicle cells drops low enough that it is experienced on the head, eyebrows and other parts of the body. Some chemotherapy drugs may lead to total hair loss, which generally takes between three to seven days to happen from the time the hair loss is experienced. This hair fall is temporary and once the chemotherapy drugs is stopped, the hair follicle cells start reproducing again and ultimately reach healthy levels.
Coping With Hair Loss
It is a bit difficult to ward off the side effect of chemotherapy i.e., hair loss. Any attempt to cease it, for instance by applying ice to the scalp or some other remedy, can disrupt the effectiveness of the chemotherapy effects preventing cancer cells from being eliminated. The best remedy of hair loss is to cut off the hair and/or shave the head to ward off any kind of discomfort or troubles associated with hair loss.