HAIR LOSS AFTER WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY

Possible hair loss after weight loss surgery is a major concern for patients who already had the surgery and/or patients who are just starting to consider having the gastric sleeve or gastric bypass procedure. Let’s get this straight and forget about the myths and wrong information.

If I have weight loss surgery, am I going to lose my hair?

Statistics have shown that only 20 to 30 percent of the patients who had gastric sleeve experience this situation. Hair loss after weight loss surgery (especially gastric sleeve) is a temporary phase if the patient addresses this matter to his/her surgeon, primary physician or nutritionist, and follow all the indications provided.
Hair loss commonly arises on patients who had a malabsorptive procedures such as the gastric bypass, mini-gastric bypass, or duodenal switch. On these type of procedures, the nutrients (fat, protein, vitamins, etc) pass through a shortened intestine where they have less opportunity to be absorbed. Less nutrients absorbed = additional weight is lost.
To ensure the body gets enough vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, patients should be taking supplements and multivitamins prescribed by their doctor.

Why does hair loss happen after gastric sleeve surgery?

The answer is simple, nutrition and eating habits are drastically changed after surgery. These changes have a secondary effect on your hormones, some of these changes can be beneficial for your health and fertility, and others will be reflected on your body and hair.
Hair may begin to show changes in its usual appearance, being thinner, shorter and/or weakened from its root. Hair loss can be minimal to more noticeable while the body stabilizes (hormonally speaking), then it will be completely reversed if the patient follows a healthy diet that provides enough nutrition to the body. Supplements and vitamins must be used on this period.
Hair loss can be pronounced if the patient doesn’t consume the enough nutrients and micronutrients during recovery phase. Poor eating choices, lack of supplements and vitamins can lead you to malnutrition problems such anemia, hair loss, minimum energy, etc.
Another reason that may cause hair loss after any bariatric procedure is emotional stress, medications, aging, or hair care.

How much time will the “hair loss phase” last after weight loss surgery?

This situation usually occurs within the first 6 months post-surgery and normally last between 3 and 4 months.

Best recommendations to prevent hair loss after weight loss surgery


  1. A high protein diet: You must follow the nutritional guidelines provided by your surgeon after surgery. Focus on getting enough protein in each and all of your meals. You will also need to consume good quality protein shakes and supplements; these can be found on Nutrition Centers like GNC. Some recommended brands are Isopure®, MYOPLEX® and Unjury ®.
  2. Multi-Vitamins: Zinc, Vitamin-B12, Biotin, Folic Acid, Calcium citrate and Vitamin-D.
There’s plenty of options on the market, choose the presentation of your preference, just make sure it has the necessary amounts required. You can get in contact with a nutritionist or main physician to provide you more specifications and advise you for your personal case.  

  1. Less stress: It may sound easier to say, but there’s plenty of hobbies and activities that can help to gradually reduce the amounts of stress; walking, gardening, sewing, yoga, drawing, sports, etc.  It depends on how each patient manages stress in order to find a healthy solution to overcome stressful situations that occur in everyday life.
Stress can also affect weight loss, many patients experience doubts and concerns related with the results of the surgery; daily monitoring of the scale can result in a self-negative perception of the weight loss progress. Weight loss does not only occur on pounds, it also reflects in inches.  We recommend to check the scale once every 10-15 days. If the surgery was performed by an expert and the patient follows the guidelines provided by the surgeon, the results will come sooner or later.

  1. Keep an eye on the low intake of nutrients and calories: It’s usual to see patients wanting to accelerate the weight loss process by reducing their food and calorie intake after seeing great results, however, this is not a healthy and safe method. A bariatric patient must follow every nutritional guideline provided to succeed on their weight loss journey, as we mentioned before, malnutrition will lead to a prolonged hair loss phase. Our suggestion is to stick to the instructions provided and reach a health expert to make the adequate and necessary adjustments to overcome a malnutrition problem.

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