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Understanding Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery

August 24, 2015 | Uncategorized


Understanding potential side effects of weight loss surgery is important for patients managing their recovery from surgery. Hair loss is a common, but sometimes unexpected, possible side effect. The stress of dealing with hair loss can be minimized by learning how, why, and when it occurs, and by keeping in mind that this type of hair loss is not permanent.

The hair loss that patients experience as a result of surgery is called Telogen Effluvium. We each have thousands of hair follicles on our head, and those follicles are continuously shifting between a growth stage, called anagen, and a resting or shedding stage called telogen. Normally about 10% of our hair follicles are in the telogen phase, which results in the natural loss of strands of hair like the ones you see day to day in your hairbrush. Telogen Effluvium occurs as a reaction to stress put on your body and it results in an increased number of follicles in the telogen phase.

The sedation from surgery, changes to the body, and the variation of nutrients are factors that can lead to this type sudden hair loss. The amount of hair loss varies and can occur between one to six months after surgery. People typically experience thinning hair near the crown of their head around three months after their procedure.

It is important that you take care of yourself after surgery, and there are several things you should do if you are dealing with post-operative hair loss.

  • Visit your primary care physician so that they can confirm that your hair loss is not due an unrelated illness, such as a thyroid disorder or vitamin deficiency.
  • Take control of your nutrition! Poor nutrition and deficient protein can contribute to hair loss. Follow all prescribed nutrition guidelines and eat the recommended amount of protein.
  • Take vitamin supplements. Vitamins such as B12, Biotin and Omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to metabolic health. There are also studies that suggest iron and zinc can help treat hair loss.

Remember this is temporary! You can expect regrowth within six months as the follicles return to normal.

Contact us if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our dietitians or join us on the last Sunday of every month on Facebook for Thinspiration.

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