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How To Avoid Hair Loss After Gastric Sleeve

How Often Does Hair Loss Happens In Patients Undergoing Gastric Sleeve

Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery | Gastric Bypass hair loss after gastric sleeve

Hair loss after gastric sleeve surgerycan happen in 30% to 40% of patients. However, this situation is something merely temporary if the patient follows the advice of the bariatric surgeon.

Speaking specifically of patients with gastric sleeve surgery, this situation arises in them less frequently because it is a pure restrictive procedure, in other words, the absorption of ingested nutrients is not affected as in malabsorptive procedures such as the gastric bypass, minigastric bypass, duodenal switch, etc.

How Can I Prevent Hair Loss After Undergoing Weight Loss Surgery

Rapid weight loss can cause patients to lose hair weeks to months after surgery. This is related to reduced intake of protein, nutrients, and vitamins. Zinc has been shown to be involved in hair loss after weight loss surgery. It is recommend that you consume adequate amounts of protein, and take a daily zinc, and possibly biotin supplements after Gastric Band, Gastric Sleeve, or Gastric Bypass weight loss surgery. Also, various shampoos can help including Nioxin shampoo. Dr. Clayton Frenzel, a Dallas/Ft. Worth weight loss surgeon can educate you more if you have problems.

Thinning Hair After Bariatric Surgery

Many patients want to know why do you lose hair when you lose weight and does everyone experience hair loss after bariatric surgery? The fact is that not everyone will go through weight loss hair loss, and many patients may only experience thinning hair after bariatric surgery.

Telogen effluvium after rapid weight loss

Telogen effluvium is a condition in which the hair may start becoming noticeably thin, even though your hair loss is minimal. It is marked by diminishing thickness of the hair. Thinning hair after weight loss surgery is seen more commonly in women, and occurs when rapid weight loss causes a disruption of the hair growth cycle.

Treatment for bariatric telogen effluvium

Fortunately, thinning hair after bariatric surgery is a treatable condition. Once your doctor identifies what is causing this type of weight loss surgery hair loss, they can help you stop the trigger. In most cases, weight loss and hair loss cycles are related due to nutritional deficiencies. This can be corrected with diet and nutrition supplements.

READ THIS: Pros and cons of weight loss surgery

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Common Causes Of Hair Loss

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Thyroid issues

After weight loss surgery, you are causing caloric restriction and/or malabsorption of really important nutrients that the body needs. Naturally, there are going to be repercussions somewhere. After surgery, the body does the best it can to adapt to new changes and unfortunately hair growth is not at the top of the list. Although this seems terrifying, unless you have an underlying condition, you can count on your hair to grow back.

Why Patients Experience Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

Can you prevent hair loss after #gastricSleeve surgery? Share ideas on ...

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:

  • Major surgery,
  • 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.

Recommended Reading: Can Vitamins Stop Hair Loss

Nutrition And Hair Growth

Its generally agreed upon amongst medical professionals and researches that nutrition has something to do with hair growth and the cause for hair loss however, there is enormous and conflicting evidence that exists on hair loss and the role nutrition plays.

Based on our research heres what weve found

Ways To Minimize Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

Hair loss after bariatric surgery is one of the most frequent fears I hear from those that just had weight loss surgery or are considering it. Many ask me How can I prevent hair loss?

To minimize hair loss after bariatric surgery, its important to understand why it occurs, and what you can do before and after surgery to reduce your risk of hair loss.

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Is Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery A Common Condition

Many patients reported noticing their hair getting thinner, shorter, and even falling out after undergoing weight loss surgery. This condition is indicated as telogen effluvium. It is known to be very common and stressful for most patients. This condition occurs suddenly but rarely lasts for more than 6 months, with an average of 3 months for most cases.

Specific Recommendations To Prevent Hair Loss After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Regretting Gastric Bypass Surgery? | Hair loss, bingeing, grief | Post Op

1. High protein diet

2. Bariatric Multivitamin

3. Emotional stress reduction: Although this is always easier said than done, is a recommendation that is theoretically simple to comply with and is entirely up to the patient so, how to achieve this? there are several ways and depend heavily on each person, but activities such as hobbies, hiking outdoors, sharing time with loved ones, sports, etc. can contribute to stress reduction.

Many patients are concerned about the final results after surgery, we always tell them not to overwhelm with very close monitoring of their weight and not to use the scale regularly but only sporadically. If surgery was performed by expert hands and the patient follows the instructions the results will come sooner or later.

4. Do not exceed the low intake of calories and nutrients: When patients see the great results in terms of weight loss after gastric sleeve, some want to accelerate the process and further reduce their calorie intake and thus nutrients, this, although leading to a more rapid weight loss, it will be an unsafe and unhealthy way that can lead to a state of malnutrition . Our suggestion is to adhere to the post-operative diet guide provided by the bariatric group you are choosing, they should provide you with this information if it is a serious and professional group.

Read our article on Gastric Sleeve Surgery Side Effects if you want to know more about the possible side effects of surgery.

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The Facts About Hair Growth

Human hair has a two-stage growth cycle. Anagen is the growth phase and telogen is the resting phase. In the telogen phase, normal hair loss lasts about 3 months on average. This shedding time commonly is shorter in women after childbirth and in newborns about 1 month after birth.

Besides childbirth, other factors that affect the anagen/telogen cycle include:

  • Any type of surgery
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Extreme dieting
  • Medications such as beta-blockers, excess vitamin A, and anticoagulants

Incorporate A Protein Source At Every Meal

Protein after surgery is imperative for recovery, healing, sustained weight loss, and prevention of muscle loss.

Some sources of high-quality protein include eggs, fish, poultry, legumes, or dairy, as long as you can tolerate them well. Your stomach size is smaller following surgery, making it important to eat a solid protein source at every meal throughout the day. Find some of my recommended protein-rich, bariatric-friendly recipes here.

Generally speaking, protein intake should be between 60-100 grams per day, but your surgical team and registered dietitian will offer personalized guidance for your recovery. Its possible that supplemental protein drinks will be recommended to help you meet your needs temporarily.

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Begin A Multivitamin Regimen Before Surgery

Consistently taking a multivitamin prior to bariatric surgery can help to correct any deficiencies that have been identified, and prevent further deficiencies from developing.

The act of taking a multivitamin can also help you form healthy habits, especially if you make a point to take it around the same time every day. Taking supplements will be a critical practice for life after bariatric surgery.

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Managing Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

How To Prevent Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery in 2020

Proper nutrition is extremely important in managing post-operative symptoms, including hair loss. Tips for managing hair loss after weight loss surgery are:

  • Take your specific bariatric multivitamin daily
  • Consume 60-80 grams of protein daily
  • Get regular blood work done

It’s better to know exactly what is causing the problem before trying to treat hair loss with random supplements. When it comes down to purchasing a hair supplement, it all depends on your exact needs and what you are looking for. Remember, you should never rely on receiving your nutrition solely through dietary supplements. Food should always be your first source of vitamins and minerals, but in some cases like bariatric surgery, additional supplements are necessary.

Consider checking: Pain Medication After Gastric Bypass. But remember to ask you doctor first before taking any of the medicines!

Also Check: What Hormone Causes Hair Loss In Females

How Is Human Hair Made Up

Human hair is mainly composed of the keratin protein It also contains lipids, water, pigments and metal trace elements. Each individual hair comprises a strand that extends over the skin from a root embedded in a bag called a follicle, which has a lower, middle and upper segment. A structure called dermal papilla is found at the base of the lower segment or bulb. Formed from connective tissue, it supplies the hair with nutrients from the bloodstream. In the scalp hair also contains receptors for steroid hormones, known as androgens, that regulate hair growth.

Each strand of hair comprises several layers. The medulla is a central nucleus. Absent of thinner hairs, its role is not fully understood. The middle layer or bark occupies the largest proportion of the hair shaft. It contains bundles of keratin filaments that give hair flexibility and tensile strength. The bark also contains pigment granules such as melanin that provide color. The cuticle is a translucent and colorless outer layer of overlapping scales that protect the cortex.

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Why Does Hair Loss Happens After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The main reason for hair loss after bariatric surgery is the drastic change in the patientâs nutrition and eating habits, which is even more pronounced if the patient does not eat the right quantity of nutrients and micronutrients needed during his/her recovery phase.

Also, the drastic reduction in the amount of calories absorbed and ingested is a factor which can not be completely changed since the aim of this procedure is precisely to provide an efficient tool for the patient to reduce significantly the amount of calories he/she eats in its daily life.

These changes in diet and poor monitoring by the surgeon may cause you to suffer from some protein deficiency, iron and other minerals like zinc and vitamin B. In addition, weight loss causes hormonal changes that are beneficial for health, nevertheless they are still changes to your body and hair reflects these changes.

Hair may begin to show changes in its usual appearance, being shorter, thinner and weakened from its root. Leading to a loss that may be minimal or a little more noticeable. As we have stated previously, this is a temporary situation that after six months, when the body stabilizes hormonally speaking, it will be completely reversed if during that time the food has been consumed adequately and necessary supplements have been used.

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Does Everyone Lose Hair After Gastric Sleeve

Does everyone lose hair after gastric sleeve? The answer is no. If you remain committed to your prescribed post-op VSG diet, you may avoid any significant hair loss. Although more than half the women and some men who undergo this surgery may experience gastric sleeve hair loss, the normal hair growth cycle is likely to be restored within a few months. An adjustment to your diet and medications will slow or stop the hair loss.

Facts About Hair Growth


Human hair has a natural three-stage growth cycle the anagen phase , the catagen phase, and the telogen phase . During the telogen phase, youll likely experience hair loss in the form of shedding. This phase typically lasts around 3 months.

Factors such as trauma, extreme dieting, chronic disease, nutritional deficiencies, and severe illness can all affect anagen and telogen cycles. Because nutritional deficiencies are common amongst those who struggle with obesity, weight loss surgery patients are often at a higher risk of experiencing hair loss post-surgery.

The first 3 to 6 months after weight loss surgery is often the most challenging, as the body is healing and adjusting. During this time, calorie intake is restricted and can cause a decrease in macronutrients such as carbohydrates and proteins. Patients may also be experiencing increased stress levels and hormonal changes.

All of this can culminate into a condition known as telogen effluvium, a type of hair loss patients often experience after undergoing weight loss surgery.

Read Also: Does Tysabri Cause Hair Loss

Why Bariatric Patients Are At A Bigger Risk Of Hair Loss

Normally, you may not notice hair loss because your hair grows way more than it is losing. Undergoing any surgery can cause a shift in the telogen phase, but bariatric patients are at an even higher risk.

According to an article from St. Lukeâs Bariatric Services, anesthesia can cause a 30% increase of hair to move into the telogen phase. If you take away nutritional deficiencies, bariatric patients are at risk of hair loss due to anesthesia, major surgery, rapid weight loss and modified anorexia . These factors should not contribute to hair loss after your body is able to return to normal in roughly 6 months after surgery.

Hair Loss After Gastric Sleeve

  • Editor in Chief
    Editor in Chief

    Renew Bariatrics Editor is the managing editor of Renew Bariatrics. We promote leading, evidence-based medical articles for the general public on various topics. Renew Bariatrics articles are written using strict editorial guidelines and standards.

  • Evidence Based
  • Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the restrictive bariatric surgeries available for the treatment of morbid obesity. It is often done by laparoscopic approach. The size of the stomach is reduced to one-fifth of its original size. Weight loss is achieved via a reduction in food intake as a result of small stomach and early satiety. Many complications are associated with this group of surgeries. One of them is alopecia .

    Hair loss following bariatric surgery can occur in up to 41% of patients. It is often associated with deficiencies in protein and micronutrients such as zinc and iron. However, it is temporary starting about 3months after the procedure and lasting for about 3-6months. The surgery itself is a stressful condition that is accompanied by various hormonal responses, which in addition to the physical and psychological stress of bariatric surgery, may affect hair growth. The degree of hair loss differs from patient to patient. Preoperative hair density and a male pattern of hair loss before surgery may significantly influence the quantity of hair loss.

    Recommended Reading: What Vitamins To Stop Hair Loss

    If Hair Loss Continues

    If hair loss continues for more than 1 year post surgery, then hair loss may be due to nutritional deficiencies. It is essential that you attend for regular blood tests to monitor your nutritional status after bariatric surgery. Hair problems that are caused by nutritional deficiencies can be corrected by a good nutrition and vitamin and mineral supplementation.

    How Can Patients Recover From Hair Loss After Weight Loss After The Surgery If Occurred

    The Hair Loss Dilemma After Bariatric Surgery
    • The first and most important step to recover from hair loss after bariatric surgery is to take care of your mental health and de-stress. About 5-15% of hair loss is due to the stress that accompanies the surgery and the recovery period afterwards.
    • Take multi-vitamin pills that are specifically prescribed for patients who are in the recovery perod from weight-loss surgery. It is preferred for the vitamins to contain B- complex vitamins, folate, zinc and biotin. It is also advised to support your diet with calcium citrate and vitamin D. However, despite the high importance of taking multi-vitamins post-surgery, patients are advised to avoid excessive amounts of Vitamin A and Zinc.
    • Patients are advised to consume at least 60 to 80 grams of protein every day. This can be achieved by eating high protein foods or by using liquid or powdered protein supplements to make sure they are not depraving their bodies from any necessary nutrition that can speed up the recovery process.
    • Patients must make sure to consume healthy and nutrient-rich foods every day to help their body recover faster.

    Weight Loss Surgery Packages

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    Hair Loss Prevention Tips

    Below are four simple tips to help prevent hair loss. Follow these tips and you will have a full head of hair to go along with the new you!

    Tip #1: Protein, protein, protein! Our program emphasizes the need for protein from the initial appointment throughout the duration of the band. Protein is the building block of all cells, including the cells that make up your hair. Failing to meet our recommendation of 60g/day minimum per day could leave you with thinning hair as well as less satiety. Make sure you consume lean protein foods at each and every meal. This includes skinless chicken, lean red meat, grilled/baked fish, low-fat string cheese and cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, beans, protein bars, chia seeds, and flax. If you are a vegetarian, it is important to pair different vegetarian protein options at each meal to supply all of the necessary amino acids. Examples include beans, peas, quinoa, chia seeds and soy.

    Tip #2: Take your vitamins. Many nutrient deficiencies can lead to hair loss, so think of your daily vitamins as medications. They are essential for avoiding nutrient deficiencies and provide the B-vitamins needed to keep your hair healthy and full. Take your chewable bariatric multiple vitamin consistently starting at two weeks before surgery to help prevent hair loss and fatigue associated with low nutrient status.


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