Eat A Nutritious Diet
Eating after bariatric surgery is complicated. You cant eat a ton of food and there are certain things that may not agree with your new stomach. As we mentioned above, this can lead to nutritional deficiencies that cause hair loss.
If this is whats happening, you can help reverse your hair loss by getting all the nutrients you need back into your diet.
Ideally, you want to consume between 60 and 80 grams of protein a day. This can be in liquid form or otherwise. You can also talk to your healthcare provider about vitamins or supplements filled with nutrients like potassium, zinc and iron to help with iron levels.
You should also try to fill your diet with as many nutrient-rich foods as possible.
Dealing With Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is a general term used to cover many different types of weight loss surgeries. These surgeries are usually recommended to people who are dealing with morbid obesity and unable to lose weight on their own.
The two most common types of bariatric surgery are gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy surgery. Both involve removing part of the stomach, but gastric bypass also includes rerouting the gastrointestinal tract.
Bariatric surgery patients may experience rapid weight loss. This, along with the stress of surgery and the nutritional deficiencies many people face after weight loss surgery can make pronounced hair loss occur.
There are ways you can reverse bariatric surgery hair loss. Making sure your diet gets you the nutrients you need is the first step. Specifically, youll want to focus on your protein intake.
For some, lean protein may be the most digestible. From there, you can try other hair loss treatments like minoxidil and other hair loss products to encourage hair regrowth.
If you find you are living with excessive hair loss or hair thinning after surgery, its always a good idea to check in with a healthcare professional.
What Causes Hair Loss After Surgery
In a typical hair cycle, your follicles go through a growth process that lasts for a few years at a time. Hair follicles dont continuously produce new hairs they cycle through resting phases known as telogens.
According to the American Hair Loss Association, its estimated that 10 to 20 percent of your hair follicles are in a telogen state at any given time.
If the proportion of telogen hairs is greater than 20 percent, its an indication of telogen effluvium, one of the most common forms of hair loss.
Surgery can sometimes put your hair follicles in a longer resting state than normal. Rather than large bald spots associated with alopecia areata, youre more likely to see progressively thinner hair as a result of TE.
Surgery may cause TE-related hair loss in the following ways:
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Whats The Best Way To Treat Hair Loss After Surgery
While it may be concerning to see thinning hair or increased hair loss after your surgery, there are steps you can discuss with your doctor to help treat it.
A dermatologist can determine whether a home or professional treatment is best, but either option can take several months to take full effect.
What Causes Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery
Regardless of calorie intake, nutritional deficiencies are typical in overweight and obese people. With the dramatically reduced total calorie intake following bariatric surgery, your body may feel the nutrient struggle even more.
In the first 6 months following surgery, calories are tightly restricted and can contribute to a decreased intake of all macronutrients, especially protein. In fact, many patients have difficulty reaching the daily recommended protein intake. The body also might experience stress and hormonal changes after surgery.
All of these factors can result in telogen effluviuma type of hair loss thats associated with bariatric surgery. Its common in men and women of all races and occurs during the most rapid weight-loss phase.
Due to the stress of surgery, more hair follicles enter the resting phase. Between 1 to 6 months following surgery, you will most likely shed that hair. In some cases, the old hair follicle is released before the new hair begins to grow.
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Does Hair Grow Back After Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery can be pretty exciting, but unfortunately, you could still experience telogen effluvium hair loss. The body will experience new levels of stress and shock as your doctor makes the desired changes.
There’s some good news, though, according to Chacon, “The hair will grow back after plastic surgery. Even if you have minor surgery, it’s still a stressor, which could cause hair loss. However, hair does typically grow back after plastic surgery.”
Why Am I Losing My Hair After Bariatric Surgery
Is your hair looking shorter, thinner, and falling out months after your weight loss surgery? Youre not alone.
Many bariatric patients experience hair loss in the first six months after their surgery. While it can make many patients feel self conscious and can negatively impact their self esteem, hair loss after bariatric surgery is common and doesnt last more than six months.
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Facing Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery
Though it may not be an initial connection most of us make, the reality is hair loss comes with weight loss surgery. Bailey Bariatrics dietitian Rene Norman, RD/LD, joins us on the blog to discuss why this occurs and how nutrition can play a role in helping hair grow back after surgery.
Unfortunately, hair loss is a natural process after surgery. Hair loss happens due to the stress of surgery, the rapid weight loss after surgery and the challenge of getting adequate nutrition after surgery. Hair goes through a growing cycle and a dormant cycle. Hair thinning is generally noticed two to four months after surgery and regrows about nine to twelve months after surgery. During times of stress, your body will shuttle protein towards essential functions like a beating heart, breathing, digestion, a healthy immune system and muscle movement. Contrary to popular opinion, hair growth is not an essential function during times of stress. Optimizing nutrition before and after surgery can help minimize hair thinning.
Understand the Life Cycle of a Strand of Hair
Anagen: This is the growth cycle of hair. Hair can grow for two to eight years.
Catagen: The time when the strand of hair transitions to the resting or dormant stage. The hair follicle will shrink and then shed the hair. This stage can take two to three weeks.
Generally, 90 percent of the hair on your scalp is in the growing phase. About 10 percent of your hair is either in the shedding or dormant stage.
How To Manage Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery
Many bariatric patients say that they take Biotin to control hair loss. Taking Biotin CAN help, but only if there is a biotin deficiency to begin with. In other words, if your hair loss is due to biotin deficiency, taking biotin can help make your hair regrow.
That said, below are some things you can do to manage hair loss after bariatric surgery:
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When To Talk With A Professional
Discuss hair loss following bariatric surgery with your doctor if you still notice significant hair loss after 6 months or a year. This could be a sign that your body needs more nutrients.
You should also see a doctor if your hair loss begins after 6 months, if you suspect you have nutritional deficiencies, or if any routine bloodwork shows that you have low levels of vitamins or minerals that can lead to hair loss.
Hair Loss And Heart Disease
Jan. 23, 2000 — Baldness may be more than just a cosmetic indignity: it could be a marker of heart disease risk, especially in men with other risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
In men with high cholesterol and severe baldness at the vertex, or crown of the head, heart disease risk was increased nearly threefold compared to men who had high cholesterol but were not bald, senior author JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, tells WebMD.
High blood pressure was associated with an 80% increase in heart disease risk if the men were also bald. Mild and moderate vertex baldness were also associated with an increased risk of heart disease, but to a lesser extent. Frontal baldness — a receding hairline — had little relationship to heart disease. “To our knowledge, this is the first large-scale study showing a relationship between a specific pattern of baldness and heart-disease risk,” Manson says. The researchers, in addition, saw that the men with more severe hair loss developed more heart disease during the 11 years they were watched than men with only mild to moderate hair loss, suggesting a link between the degree of hair loss and heart disease risk.
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Does Anesthesia Cause Hair Loss Post
Surgery itself can be a stressful part of life, between all kinds of mental and physical stressors, new medications, and the process of recovery — it can be a lot to handle.
Some people are wondering if the anesthesia medications that must be used to safely perform certain surgeries have any post-surgical hair loss effects. Is there anything to this theory?
Below, we will help try to answer the question of is anesthesia might induce hair loss, what type of hair loss might occur post-surgery, outline telogen effluvium hair loss, and let you know a little about what might help in your hair recovery efforts if you experienced shedding after a surgery.
How To Avoid Hair Loss After Surgery
While it is not possible to completely avoid hair loss following surgery, you may be able to reduce the harshness of the consequences of TE. This includes the following:
- Consuming a well-balanced diet that is rich in plant-based foods
- Frequent physical activity
- Coping mechanisms for dealing with stress
Why Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery Occurs
Three to five months after surgery, some bariatric surgery patients experience hair loss. One systematic review of research found that about 57 percent of people experience some type of hair loss after bariatric surgery. The same review found that young women were most likely to lose hair, but anyone can experience this side effect.
This type of hair loss can be something called telogen effluvium. This condition occurs when stress causes the hair root to prematurely go into a resting state. Major surgery is one of the known causes of telogen effluvium.
Hair loss after bariatric surgery can also sometimes be caused by nutritional deficiencies. Because you have to restrict your calorie intake after surgery, your protein intake may not be high enough. You may also not be getting enough of other vitamins.
For example, your levels of zinc, biotin, potassium, B6 and phosphorus might be too low.
Does Medication Affect Hair Loss After Surgery
Surgery will involve various medications that start from anesthesia and antibiotics to relaxants for post-surgery.
The US dermatologists carried out research in which they found that anesthesia medications directly affect the cycle of telogen.
They found that epilepsy medications, thyroid medications, and epilepsy medications, apart from anesthesia medications, have a great role in induced hair loss after surgery.
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Why Might Anesthesia Play A Factor In Post
The function of anesthesia used during a procedure is to immobilize the patient and put them in a sleep-like state. This leads to the patient not being able to experience the pain or memory of the surgery, and is very necessary.
These medications may have a connection to triggering telogen effluvium hair loss due to the reduced perfusion of blood in the scalp to bring oxygen, and potentially also the slowed cellular division which may push some hair follicles out of the growth phase and into the resting phase, before shedding a few weeks to a couple of months afterward.
Anesthesia and hair loss may have a stronger connection when the surgery itself is a particularly long one.
Good Genes Are Nice But Joy Is Better
It appears that balding men have more to worry about than their vanity. The largest study to date concludes that male pattern baldness is associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
The more the hair loss, the higher the possible risk, according to researchers from the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston. Age seems to make no difference.
The study covered the relationship between hair loss and heart conditions such as nonfatal heart attacks, angina or chest pains, and procedures to open blocked coronary arteries .
Compared with men with no hair loss, risks for such events increased 9 percent in those starting to lose hair on the front of their heads. When a bald spot appears on the crown, relative risk jumps to 23 percent. When all hair is gone from the top of the head, the risk rises to a worrisome 36 percent.
We found men with extensive baldness that involves the top of their heads have the greatest risk of heart disease, says JoAnn Manson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. However, those with mild frontal hair loss, or a receding hair line, have no appreciable increase in risk.
This information comes from questionnaires first filled out by 22,071 physicians aged 40 to 84 years in 1982. Eleven years later, they completed a follow-up questionnaire about their pattern of hair loss at age 45. Both questionnaires also asked for information about heart disease, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
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Why Patients Experience Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery
As mentioned above, after weight loss surgery, your hair will transfer into what is medically referred to as telogen effluvium. This is a situation whereby a sudden or stressful event can cause certain hair follicles to stop growing and prematurely enter into the telogen phase.
The normal span that hair is in the telogen phase before falling out is 100-120 days. This is why about 3-4 months after surgery you may start to notice excessive hair loss. Combine this with a very low-calorie diet, and telogen effluvium is manifested to an even greater degree.
This is because since your body will be undergoing extreme changes, it will take nutritional storage from certain areas and give it to your vital organs. To your body, it is more important for your brain and heart to receive adequate nutrition than your hair.
Stressors that may cause an increase of hair to the telogen effluvium phase include:
- Iron and zinc deficiencies.
During telogen effluvium, the actual hair follicles are not damaged so your hair should return to normal within a few months.
The Three Stages Of Hair Growth
All mature hair follicles undergo three major stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
Anagen phase is the growth stage. During this stage, hair follicle cells are rapidly dividing. The hair grows approximately one centimeter a month, or six inches per year. A healthy hair follicle will likely stay in this phase for two to six years.
Catagen phase is the transition stage. Here, the hair ceases cell growth and pigmentation. The follicle starts to shrink and push up towards the surface of the scalp. This cycle generally lasts from a few days to up to two weeks.
Telogen phase is the resting/inactive stage. It can last from three to six months. Here, there is no growth and the cell activities remain minimal. Initially, the stationary club hair remains attached to the follicle. Meanwhile, a new anagen hair underneath the telogen hair is slowly forming.
The anagen hair will continue growing until it can push the telogen hair out.
At the end of the telogen, the hair sheds, making way for the newly forming anagen hair underneath.
We normally lose around 50-100 telogen hairs every day. This happens in the course of our daily activities like brushing our hair, shampooing, resting against the pillow, etc. These 50-100 hairs are a tiny fraction of the 100,000-150,000 strands on an average scalp.
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Tips For Minimizing Hair Loss
Although there are no proven methods to stop hair loss during this phase after surgery, there are supplements like biotin and zinc that help thicken or strengthen hair.
Following the bariatric diet and nutrition program, which calls for limited calories and diverse protein intake on a daily basis, is helpful in preventing long-term hair loss. Of course, you must be cautious not to add too much extra protein or you may not see the expected weight-loss results.
In addition to the nutritional recommendations, it’s essential to take a bariatric-specific multi-vitamin with adequate B vitamins, folate, zinc, and biotin. B12 and calcium citrate with a vitamin D supplement also are prescribed.
Regular follow-up appointments with your bariatric surgeon are important to ensure that your vitamin and mineral intake and your blood levels are normal. These visits also help minimize side effects, and theyre essential to long-term maintenance after surgery.