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. 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 however is most often caused by the initial drastic reduction in nutritional and vitamin intake. The sudden change in calorie and nutrient absorption can be a shock to the bodies.
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 (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
When Might I Lose Hair?
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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 nutritional needs after surgery.
Generally speaking, losing hair after bariatric surgery is quite normal and most often temporary. Once the body’s weight has stabilized, in most cases it will begin to re-grow and return back to its normal fullness and thickness.
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. If you decide to undergo treatment for hair loss, we advise that you speak to your surgeon or dietitian to make sure that any dietary or drug changes will not interfere with your recovery. Read more about Treatment for Hair Loss after Weight Loss Surgery