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Scalp pain before my hair falls out?

piffken Member Posts: 8

I have just completed round 2 of chemo and still have all my hair.  It does seem to shed a little more than usual but now I have noticed my scalp is actually hurting. I've had thise feeling in the past before cancer, like when I had a cold and my whole body was aching. But this time it is worse and is not getting any better. It has lasted more than 2 days now. Did anyone else experience this? And is this a sign my hair is going to fall out soon? 


  • lexislove
    lexislove Member Posts: 277
    edited November 2009

    Your hair will wall out, but to lessen the sensitive scalp most woman would just shave the hair off.

    Most woman have scalp sensitivities. I noticed when my hair was growing back, my scalp was sensitive as well.

  • Niknak0320
    Niknak0320 Member Posts: 2
    edited November 2009

    yes, my head ached as if it were sunburned or as if I had banged it on something.  The minute I shaved my head the pain went away :)

  • diana50
    diana50 Member Posts: 253
    edited November 2009

    the reason your scalp hurts is because the chemo causes the hair follicles to become inflamed.  that is what causes the hair to eventully fall out.  i had gotten my hair cut when i started chemo and once the scalp started to fell like little pin  pricks..i went and got my head shaved.  even after you shave it; the tiny hairs left behind have to fall out.  eventually, it will all stop stinging and you wil have a soft; smooth head.  when your hair comes back; chances are it will be the best hair you have ever had** at least regrowth ended up to be terrific hair.  good luck. this part can be hard...hang in there.


  • thenewme
    thenewme Member Posts: 174
    edited November 2009

    Oh Piffken,

    I can definitely relate!  I felt like my hair itself had raw nerves!  I shaved mine too, but not to the skin - I still had stubble, but the pain was much less after that!  And it did go away when all the hair fell out.  Yes, hang in there -it's hard to believe but soon you'll be feeling like your "chemo phase" was another lifetime!

    PS - My hair was reddish-brown with a very slight wave.  I finished chemo on April 30, and it's now nearly black with very tight curls!  I always wanted curly hair, but now I have it and have no idea what to do with it, LOL! It's very strange looking in the mirror and seeing someone else in there!

  • MaineCoonKitty
    MaineCoonKitty Member Posts: 9
    edited November 2009

    It starts as a tingly sensation and then feels like a sunburn for a day or two.  My hairdresser said it's the angle of the hair shaft as it pulls on your scalp nerves as the follicle dies and releases it - sort of like an ingrown hair.  That's why the shaving of the hair helps, by lessening the pull on the nerves.

    But don't shave it to the skin - leave about a 1/2 inch or so.  If you shave it down to the skin, the hair might become trapped in the follicle and get infected.  If you leave a little bit, you can help it along by using either a lint roller or duct tape to go over your head a few times to help the hair come out.  Anything left will come out from the friction of just washing your head and rubbing it with a towel.

  • piffken
    piffken Member Posts: 8
    edited November 2009

    Thank you everyone for replying. i thought I was the "odd ball out" and everyone else just lost their hair just like that. It is really irritating me now, so I will probably have my hubby shave it tonight. It is tempting though to hang on to it for just a few more days but hair is everywhere and it is very nerve wrecking. Thank you all for our helpful tips and advise. This forum is a great help to me everytime I have a question. Piffken 

  • RedheadPam
    RedheadPam Member Posts: 5
    edited November 2009

    PIffkin,  I would say shave it off now!  A week ago I was exactly where you are now, and I have been hanging on to my hair.  My head itches like crazy, there is hair everywhere, and it looks so patchy and gross I have to wear hats all the time, anyway.  Do it now! (I am hoping to get mine shaved tonight -- I can't wait!)


  • weety
    weety Member Posts: 371
    edited November 2009

    Piffken,  You may want to wait to see how much of your hair falls out.  I didn't shave mine because it was just thinning, rather than falling out all at once.  I am going on treatment #5 this Friday and although I don't have enough hair left to go hatless/scarfless, I do have enough to let it poke out the sides and back.  An outsider wouldn't necessarily be able to tell that I was going bald.  My "sideburns" held up quite nicely!  Up until about treatment#3, I would just wear the wide fabric headbands to cover the top of my head at the part and let some of my bangs poke out.  The part area is what went the fastest--it just kept getting more and more visible.  It all depends on how you feel about keeping some hair.  Some women, like me, would rather have some than none.  Other women feel the complete opposite.  Decide how you feel about it.

  • mollyboo
    mollyboo Member Posts: 7
    edited April 2017

    Has anyone else had the lingering side effect of occasional scalp pain years out post-chemo? I had both cytoxin & taxotere & experienced a lot of discomfort with the hair loss. It's annoying to still have this on the crown of my head & I'm beginning to think it's with me for life

  • OCbuttercup
    OCbuttercup Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2017

    Hi Mollyboo, Yes. I also had Cytoxin and Taxotere. My chemo treatment ended 4 years ago last month and I'm still experiencing scalp pain and even thinning hair on the top of my head. If I move my hair around too much or if my hair accidentally gets tugged or even if one single hair get pulled out, I get what feels like a "brain freeze" headache that often time lingers. I also have to watch what hair products I use as my scalp is so sensitive and gets very easily irritated. I only use organic shampoo and conditioner now and don't put anything directly on my scalp. Most recently I've stopped coloring my hair until I can find a less chemically harsh color that willcover my grays. I have a feeling it's the taxotere that has caused this. You can read up on it's nasty side effects online.

  • Sballard
    Sballard Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2017

    OCbuttercup, just joined up. This is my 5th yr from Chemo tx for breast cancer. My scalp hurt so bad, a week before my hair started falling out. Every day it hurt worse. There was some relief when we shaved my head, but it's been 5 yrs and my scalp still hurts frequently. Seems when I get too tired or stressed it hurts worse. Still tired alot too. This is the first year I have felt half way like getting outside, getting some sun and being active. It's slow going but it's really nice doing something besides working, household chores and sleeping. We took our Yorkie out on the boat the other day and she loved it! Waite til I tell my husband we need to get her a life jacket!! Thanks for the tip on taxotere, I will look it up.

  • mollyboo
    mollyboo Member Posts: 7
    edited September 2017

    I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one experiencing this! I also let my hair go natural- no more coloring- & this too seemed to help! I fully expected scalp pain at the time of treatment, but not years down the road! I've also gone to "pure" shampoos as much as possible and this seems to help. I do agree the Taxotere is the culprit. Thanks so much for the feedback

  • Vikisez
    Vikisez Member Posts: 2
    edited November 2018

    Thankthank you to all of you for posting this I just started questioning why my scalp was hurting so bad the first few days I'm only been a week after chemo so after reading your post I think I'm just going to shave it I wear my hair real short anyway and I decided I'm going to rock that bald head