Hair Loss after Weight Loss Surgery

Hair loss after bariatric surgery is very common and can occur in up to 40% of patients. We lose hair every day as part of a natural growth cycle, but many other external factors including stress, genetics, environment and diet can also cause hair loss in both men and women. Losing hair after weight loss surgery is most often caused by the initial, drastic reduction in nutritional and vitamin intake. The sudden change in calorie and nutrient absorption is a shock to the body. Of course, pattern baldness (a genetic condition) is unavoidable. We often recommend adding Biotin to your vitamin regimen.

Why Might I Lose Hair?

Weight loss surgery can cause protein and iron deficiencies in your diet, especially if you do not stay abreast of your nutritional intake. As such, hair can grow back shorter and thinner as the normal hair cycle is disrupted and the root is weakened. Weight loss also causes changes in hormone levels (usually for the better – but changes nonetheless). These fluctuations can cause hair growth to be altered or stunted. After significant weight loss the body will continue to adjust its hormone balance until it stabilizes at more normal levels when the patient reaches their weight loss goals. Read more about the Causes of Hair Loss after Weight Loss Surgery and Preventing Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

When Might I Lose Hair?

Typically, if they lose any at all, patients can expect to start losing their hair between three and six months after surgery. Some patients may lose it sooner and some much later. On average, it will start to regain its former thickness about a year or 18 months after surgery when the patient’s weight and eating patterns have stabilized. Gastric bypass patients typically have a higher chance of losing hair than gastric banding or gastric sleeve patients as the restriction and malabsorption of calories is greater.

The best way to avoid hair loss or to mitigate its effects is to follow the diet that your bariatric surgeon has prescribed, as this will take into account your particular nutritional needs after surgery.

Treatments for Hair Loss

Since this is a temporary condition, we do not recommend altering your prescribed routine or taking additional supplementation to avoid or reverse hair loss. You must be especially careful not to take minerals such as iron and zinc or vitamins in excess as this could cause a dangerous overdose. We often recommend adding Biotin to your vitamin regimen. Read more about Treatment for Hair Loss after Weight Loss Surgery


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