Will I Lose My Pubic Hair If I Have Chemotherapy?

The Chances of Hair Loss During Cancer Treatment

Female patient receiving treatment in hospital
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Whether or not someone loses their hair during chemotherapy depends upon a few different factors, such as the type of chemotherapy drug(s) and the dosage.

Your Chances of Losing Your Pubic Hair During Chemotherapy

Certain chemotherapy medications, such as those belonging to the taxane group, are known to cause hair loss, while other drugs may not affect hair follicles as much. Different people also respond to chemotherapy differently, even if they're on the same medication dosage.

One person may lose all of their hair, while someone else may just experience thinning. It truly varies from person to person, so it is hard to predict whether or not you will lose your pubic hair completely, though there is that possibility.

If your doctor informed you that you may lose your hair during chemotherapy, you may indeed lose the hair on your head and all of the hair on your body, including your pubic hair. Eyebrows, eyelashes, underarms, legs, and arms can all lose their hair because of chemotherapy. Hair loss usually occurs about 10 to 14 days after the first treatment. However, some people have found that it takes a little longer for pubic hair to be affected, if it is affected.

Why Hair Loss Occurs

Hair loss can occur all over the body because of how chemotherapy drugs are designed to work. Cancer cells have a mitotic rate, meaning they multiply and divide very rapidly. Chemotherapy works by targeting these rapidly dividing cells.

Unfortunately, our hair follicles also divide rapidly, and chemotherapy drugs cannot discern between healthy and cancerous cells that have high mitotic rates. Because of this, even healthy cells are attacked.

How Will My Hair Loss Affect Me?

Losing your hair because of chemotherapy can certainly take a toll on your self-esteem.

Your concern over losing your pubic hair is valid, and many women share the same concern. Some women find that wearing lingerie helps increase their self-esteem in the bedroom and decrease feelings of self-consciousness. Also, consider the fact that not having any pubic hair has become a bit of a cultural trend these days, so it may not be as bad as you think it will be!

Maintaining intimacy during treatment is important. Not only will it help keep stress levels down, but it can help you cope with having cancer. There may be some days that you don't feel like having sex, but just remember that intimacy doesn't always mean intercourse. There are plenty of ways to be intimate without having sex.

After treatment ends, hair regrowth usually begins about four to six weeks after the last treatment. Be warned that the texture and color of your hair may be a little different. Some people find that their pubic hair takes longer to regrow, and that it's thinner than it was before treatment. Again, this varies from person to person and it's impossible to predict how regrowth will occur for you.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

Exploring Sex and Intimacy Without Intercourse. When most people talk about sex, they're typically referring to sexual intercourse. And not just any intercourse, but specifically penile-vaginal intercourse. Learn how you can redefine sex to meet your needs and lifestyle.

Coping with Hair Loss During Chemotherapy. One of the most distressing side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss (alopecia). For many of us, our hair is part of our image, the way the public sees us when we step outside. Understanding the reasons for hair loss, and ways to cope emotionally and physically with hair loss ahead of time, may ease some of this distress on your journey through chemotherapy.

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