Effluvium Vs. Telogen Effluvium, Chemotherapy Vs. Hair Shedding
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One of my staff members husband is undergoing chemotherapy and she asked, whether he could start 82F or topical finasteride to help him with the possible hair loss, associated with chemotherapy. And I told her, unfortunately, the answer is no. So it actually, I had to go into an explanation of why that is the case. The reason why is that? It is a mechanism called anagen effluvium essentially that is different from telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium occurs after a hair transplant or just sometimes chronically and women more commonly than men. It just means that there’s a certain percentage of hairs that go from the growth phase over to the sleepy phase and those sleepy phase cause the hair to fall out. So there can be chronic shedding acute shedding after a transplant. That’s not telogen effluvium that typically responds quite well to therapy such as minoxidil finasteride to stabilize those hairs and to improve the situation, whether it be temporarily or long-term. Chemotherapy works very differently. It actually the process by which hair is lost as known as antigen effluvium it’s much more global much more extensive and much harder and longer time for it to come back. What happens in this situation as the name implies anagen effluvium is that the chemotherapy drugs actually attack the growth of the hairs, the hairs are a growing rather than shifting a percentage of the growth hairs into the sleepy hairs. Then those hairs fallout such as 10, 20 or 30 percent, all the hairs that are in grow phase are affected. Now, why is that the case, the reason why is chemotherapy essentially is attacking multiple cells that multiply very quickly. Those cells would be the cancer cells obviously, but it also tells good attacks good cells indiscriminately in the body and the cells that are multiplying very quickly would be the area like the hair. The hair, typically grows very, very quickly. So it’s going to make those hairs not grow and make them break. And those things are very natural for for certain types of chemotherapy drugs. Will the hair come back? In the vast majority of the cases, yes. There are some cases I’ve seen and I don’t know whether it’s chemotherapy related, whether it’s radiation-related, sometimes there can be some long-term changes, the hair, whether the hairs grow out more weekly or there’s or there, it’s sparser, but fortunately, for the vast majority of people that undergo chemotherapy, the hairs do come back and his full strength.
But there is a small percentage that don’t, and I’ve done transplants in those patients, you can look at my hair transplant, website hairtx.com to take a look at some of those examples, but hopefully this explanation of the difference between anagen effluvium and telogen effluvium makes sense.