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Hair Loss After Weight Loss (Bariatric) Surgery

December 12, 2023

Hair loss after weight loss or bariatric surgery is a common concern among people who have undergone weight reduction procedures. Dealing with it as a side effect can be emotionally distressing for many, resulting in a lack of confidence and self-esteem.

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Why Does Hair Loss Happen After Weight Loss Surgery?

Hair loss after weight loss surgery can be attributed to a variety of factors. One of the primary causes is the rapid and significant reduction in calorie intake. Bariatric surgery – whether it be gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric banding – limits the amount of food the stomach can hold and alters the digestive process. As a result, the body may experience nutritional deficiencies, including inadequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals crucial for healthy hair growth.

Nutrient deficiencies commonly associated with hair loss after bariatric surgery include:

  • Protein Deficiency: Protein is a vital component for hair structure, and inadequate protein intake can lead to hair thinning and loss.

  • Vitamin Deficiencies (especially B vitamins): Insufficient levels of vitamins such as Biotin (B7), B12, and Folate can negatively impact hair health.

  • Iron Deficiency: Anemia due to low iron levels can result in hair shedding and reduced hair quality.

  • Zinc Deficiency: Zinc plays a role in hair tissue growth and repair, and its deficiency can contribute to hair loss

  • Rapid Weight Loss: The sudden and substantial reduction in weight can induce stress on the body, triggering a condition known as telogen effluvium, where a significant portion of hair follicles enters the resting phase, leading to increased hair shedding.

How Long Does Hair Loss Last After Bariatric Surgery?

Hair loss after bariatric surgery varies from person to person. In many cases, the initial shedding occurs around three to six months post-surgery. This period aligns with the time when the body is adjusting to the new dietary changes and experiencing the maximum impact of nutrient deficiencies. The shedding typically lasts for several months, with hair gradually stabilizing as nutritional balance is restored.

Can You Prevent Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery?

While complete prevention of hair loss after bariatric surgery may be challenging, there are proactive steps individuals can take to minimize its severity and duration:

  • Taking nutritional supplements may help support your hair (and overall health) post-surgery. Consult a healthcare professional to identify and address your specific nutrient deficiencies. Bariatric patients often require supplements such as multivitamins, iron, biotin, and protein to support overall health, including hair growth.

  • Prioritizing a diet rich in lean proteins can promote hair health. Poultry, fish, eggs, and plant-based proteins can contribute to the body's protein requirements.

  • Staying hydrated is essential for overall health, including hair hydration. Dehydration can exacerbate hair loss, so drinking lots of water is very important.

How Do You Stop Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery?

Addressing hair loss after weight loss surgery involves a holistic approach that combines proper nutrition, lifestyle adjustments, and targeted interventions:

Consult with Healthcare Professionals: Regular follow-ups with healthcare professionals, including dietitians and nutritionists, can help monitor and address nutritional deficiencies promptly.

Gradual Weight Loss: While bariatric surgery leads to rapid initial weight loss, adopting a balanced and sustainable approach to weight management can help minimize stress on the body and reduce the likelihood of telogen effluvium.

Hair Care Practices: Implementing gentle hair care practices, such as using mild shampoos and avoiding excessive heat or chemical treatments, can help minimize additional stress on fragile hair.

Will Hair Grow Back After Weight Loss Surgery?

The good news is that, in most cases, hair does grow back after weight loss surgery. As the body adapts to the new dietary regimen and nutrient levels stabilize, the hair growth cycle resumes its normal pattern. However, patience is key, as the regrowth process can take several months.

It's important to note that while many individuals experience regrowth, the texture or thickness of the new hair may differ from their pre-surgery hair. Additionally, some individuals may continue to experience periodic shedding due to factors such as hormonal changes or stress.

How Rex MD Can Help

Hair loss after weight loss surgery is a temporary and often manageable side effect that can be addressed through a combination of nutritional support, lifestyle adjustments, and proper hair care practices.

If you’re looking for additional ways to reverse hair loss and promote hair growth, Rex MD offers hair growth plans for men with thinning crowns, receding hairlines, or even those just going for a fuller look. The plan includes a daily combination of finasteride – a prescription treatment for male pattern baldness – and DHT fighting shampoo, a topical solution for healthy hair.

For other weight management treatments that aren't known to affect hair growth, you may want to consider GLP-1 medications.

The Rex MD Weight Management Program is a cutting-edge, online healthcare service designed to provide patients with easy access to GLP-1 treatments. These medications are known for managing type 2 diabetes and promoting weight loss.

Our program offers a seamless, discreet, and personalized way to receive the care you need from the comfort of your home. Just answer some questions about your medical history and weight loss goals and your healthcare provider will determine if GLP-1 treatment is right for you. If prescribed, a personalized treatment plan is created and your prescription is sent directly to your door.

Get started today.

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