For many people, the appearance of our hair contributes to our self-image and self-confidence. It is quite common for patients facing bariatric surgery to worry about losing hair after surgery.
If you are planning weight loss surgery but worry about losing hair, this post is for you. Our team wants to provide you with further insight into why hair loss occurs, and help you understand how to prevent or minimize it.
An Overview of Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery
To understand hair loss after bariatric surgery, it helps to understand the two-stage hair growth cycle. At any given time, about 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in the active growth (anagen) phase; the remaining 10 percent are in the dormant or resting (telogen) phase. Hairs begin in the active growth phase, and after some time, shift to the dormant phase. Following the dormant phase, the hair falls out within a few months.
Undergoing any major operation, including weight loss surgery, puts stress on your body. This can send more hairs into the dormant phase. There is no way to send the hairs back to the active growth phase, and within a few months, those hairs will fall out.
Rapid weight loss, low protein intake and deficiency of nutrients like iron or zinc can also put stress on your body, sending more hairs into the dormant phase.
Strategies to Prevent or Minimize Hair Loss
Do not worry. Hair loss does not affect everyone, and if it does, it is reversible. I’ve never seen any patient go bald after weight loss surgery. Eventually, hair grows back.
Make good choices about your diet. Eat nutritious, real foods as opposed to heavily processed or prepared foods. Avoid empty-calorie foods or beverages (e.g., chips, cookies, soda).
Consider vitamins or supplements. Take a multivitamin or a supplement designed specifically for hair, skin and nails. Hair, skin and nails supplements contain zinc, biotin and other ingredients to promote healthy hair.
Shampoo your hair regularly. Some people avoid shampooing because they feel it makes their hair fall out faster. The opposite is true: you must continue to keep your hair and scalp clean by shampooing it. In fact, the act of massaging the shampoo into your scalp helps promote blood flow, which is good for hair growth.
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