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How To Prevent Hair Loss After Gastric Bypass

The Bottom Line On Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery


Hair loss can be alarming for anyone, especially during the stressful period when youre adjusting after bariatric surgery.

The good news is that its likely temporary and its a side-effect of your body going through major surgery, the emotionally stressful aspect of adjusting your lifestyle after bariatric surgery, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal fluctuations.

Stay positive, avoid stress, take your vitamins and have fun on your journey to better health.

How Bad Can Hair Loss After A Gastric Sleeve Be

Usually, about 5% to 15% of hair can be lost, but only temporarily. This is enough for you to notice it, but others may not notice it. About 6 months after a gastric sleeve, the problem should be resolved.

Many will agree that the benefits of a gastric sleeve for patients in need of one vastly outweigh this short-term problem of hair loss.

If you lose more than this or the problem doesnt go away, another cause may be involved. In that case, the best course is probably to see your doctor.

Changes To Your Vitamin And Food Needs Post

After surgery, you will not be eating a whole lot of food at one sitting. Typically, your new stomach pouch will not be able to hold more than two tablespoons, or one ounce of food at a time. Also, your body will not be able to absorb as many nutrients from the foods you eat as before. Therefore, you will be at risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

To prevent such deficiencies, you will need to take a complete multivitamin for the rest of your life. It will also be very important to ensure that you consume enough protein at each mealtime to meet your nutritional needs.

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So What Are The Best Tips To Minimize Hair Loss After Surgery

First and foremost, our practice has tailored your postoperative lifestyle and exercise regimen to minimize many of the considerations of bariatric surgery, including hair loss. Following the protein requirements after surgery significantly reduce the likelihood of losing more hair.

Secondly, and importantly, is not to stress out about your hair loss or thinning. You already know that this is a temporary condition, and many times cannot be prevented. We dont quite know why some patients lose more hair than others, but ultimately it is temporary for everyone. Also, stressing about your hair loss will only make it worse. In addition, the stress from worrying about can have a cumulative negative effect it will make it more difficult to lose weight, increase the temptation of eating foods that do not conform to your bariatric lifestyle, and generally make you less motivated, more tired and less successful.

You Visualize Your Gastric Sleeve Results Based On A Combo Of What Your Doctor Tells You And Other Peoples Experiences

How To Prevent Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery in 2020

So where does the regret come into play? Well, your results will be uniquely yours, and you may not be happy with them.

You may lose quickly, or you may face stalls. Your skin may bounce back with you or you may end up with excess. Certain areas of your body may seem to disappear overnight whereas others may feel like they wont budge.

Your personal results depend on many things:

  • Age
  • Commitment to following your nutrition plan
  • Exercise habits

The hard truth: You wont know what your results will be until you are in the thick of your journey.

This is why it is so important not to create expectations for your weight loss journey based on someone elses outcome. Their results will almost always be different from yours because they are not you!

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Stop Hair Loss After Weight Loss

About 30% of patients who have gastric bypass surgery experience hair loss. Given the esteem issues that may have existed prior to the surgery, hair loss after weight loss surgery can be difficult.

While hair is aesthetically important, it is not critical to our bodies. We constantly lose and grow hair at the same time and take little notice. When we are feeling especially stressed, hair loss can increase. Two stressors that do this are surgery and rapid weight loss. The hair loss after weight loss surgery that can occur in the first six months can be attributed to both.

Lowering The Risk Of Post

  • Consume at least 60 to 80 grams of protein each day. It can be difficult to meet these protein needs every day after surgery since you will not be eating as much as you used to be able to eat. However, you can better meet such needs through protein supplement shakes and bars as well as through frequent protein-rich snacks. Such snacks may include string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, tuna fish, jerky, and nuts, to name a few.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements daily as recommended by your doctor. Everyone after gastric bypass surgery will be asked to take a daily complete multivitamin. However, some people with identified nutrient deficiencies may be asked to take other supplements as well like zinc, iron, or vitamin D, for example.

Include foods in your diet that will provide needed nutrients to prevent hair loss. To prevent nutrient deficiencies that could increase your risk of hair loss it will be important to add the following foods to your diet.

In addition to the foods listed above, you can also obtain such nutrients from certain fortified foods like certain cereals, orange juice, and fortified cow or almond milks.

Along with such steps, it may also be helpful to have your B12, B1, folate, iron and zinc levels checked at least every year to be sure that any hair loss you may be experiencing is not from a nutrient deficiency.

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Hair Loss Has Many Causes

The most common type of hair loss after weight loss surgery is telogen effluvium. This can have nutritional and non-nutritional causes. Stress on the body can move more hair into the dormant phase which means a greater percentage of hairs falling out. Stress on the body can come in many forms, such as fever, infection,surgery, weight loss, deficiencies and some medications.

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More Ways To Prevent Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery

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

First of all, if you do experience some hair loss, dont panic. Experiencing hair loss after weight loss surgery in Tijuanais normal. Your hair will grow back, and in fact, will grow healthier and stronger. Preventing hair loss is just a part of your recovery process, and while it can be daunting to think that you will have thinner or less abundant hair temporarily, just think about a life where you have met all of your weight loss goals and have taken control of your life and health.

On the other hand, iron deficiency is the most common after surgery. So having your levels checked by our follow-up care physician can help prevent such side effects. Your diet will have to consist of protein-rich meals and supplements. Some side effects associated with iron deficiency include:

  • Depleted energy
  • Fatigue
  • Brittle nails

Ensuring proper meals and following a list of recommended minerals and supplements can help fight these possible deficiencies. For example, eat iron-rich meals and supplements to prevent hair loss. Iron is the micronutrient most commonly related to hair loss. That makes checking your iron levels important 3-6 months after your surgery. Low ferritin levels in your body are associated with low iron levels. Low iron levels are a symptom most closely associated with hair loss.

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Nutrition And Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

And as it turns out, prioritizing your nutritional intake isnt just important for your overall health and healing. If your hair loss continues after six months, I suggest looking into your nutrient intake as this may be contributing.

Many people are under the impression that biotin is the most important nutrient in terms of hair loss prevention and regrowth, but this isnt necessarily true.

While biotin can certainly play a supportive role, there are a few other nutrients that are more important to minimize hair loss. Biotin has only been shown to be helpful in preventing hair loss if you have a biotin deficiency. I typically dont suggest a biotin supplement following surgery because there is not much evidence to support it and I would rather you focus on your multivitamin.

If you would like to eat biotin rich foods you can include foods like salmon, egg yolks, nuts and spinach in your diet.

Instead of biotin there are several other nutrients that have been shown to affect hair loss, including iron, zinc, and protein.

If youre taking a bariatric multivitamin youre likely taking the suggested amount of iron and zinc. But just to make sure you can check out this article here that I wrote about vitamins.

As always, including foods that are high in these nutrients is also suggested. Foods can include poultry dark meat, red meat, light tuna, quinoa and beans.

Specific Recommendations To Prevent Hair Loss After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

1. High protein diet

2. Bariatric Multivitamin

  • Vitamin-D

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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Continue Taking A Multivitamin Exactly As Prescribed After Surgery

Taking a multivitamin will continue to be a daily, lifelong habit after surgery. For the first few months, its best to take a chewable or liquid multivitamin, after which you can switch to a capsule form if desired.

Follow the guidance of your surgical team regarding what kind of multivitamin to use, to make sure its well tolerated and adequately meets your nutrient needs. Ideally, look for multivitamins that have been verified to contain what is indicated on the ingredient label, and in the amounts claimed.

What To Do If Hair Loss Continues For More Than 1 Year After The Surgery

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In extreme cases, hair loss may continue for more than 1 year post surgery. However, in these cases, hair loss may be due to nutritional deficiencies, and not caused primarily by the surgery. This is why patients are highly advised to have regular blood tests after the bariatric surgery, so they can monitor their nutritional status and avoid any complications. If these rare cases occurred, nutritional deficiencies can be corrected by consuming nutrient rich foods in addition to vitamin and mineral supplements, which will help the patient recover from the deficiency and will eventually fix the hair loss problem.

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Coping With Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

Choosing bariatric surgery for weight loss is a difficult decision. You probably tried every diet, lost and gained weight over many years, and finally decided after much thought that bariatric surgery was the best choice to get you on the right track to a healthier life.

In taking this gigantic step to improve your health, its important to know about some of the side effects.

Bariatric surgery creates a sudden change in your nutrition and calorie intake. With this, patients experience rapid weight loss but, unexpectedly, most experience hair loss as a side effect as well.

Were here to ease your mind that this is common and normal. And, it can be managed with help from your bariatric surgeon. Heres what you need to know.

What Causes Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

The hair loss associated with weight loss surgery is called telogen effluvium and has to do with disruption during the normal hair growth cycle.

Basically what happens with Telogen Effluvium is that hair continues to enter into the resting stage, but the new growth cycle doesnt start up again like usual. This leads to a progressive loss of hair because no new hair is coming in.

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Gastric Bypass Surgery Basics

Gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y, is a surgery used to help aid weight loss. It basically involves the stomach pouch being made smaller and the intestines being re-routed.

During this surgery, the small intestine is divided, and the bottom part is attached to the new smaller stomach. Then, the top portion of the divided small intestine is connected to the small intestine that is located further down so that the stomach acids and digestive enzymes can mix with the food.

Because of this re-routing, fulfilling nutrient needs after surgery is very important. Otherwise, you can put yourself at risk for vitamin or nutrient deficiencies.

Why Hair Loss After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Making the best of hair loss after gastric bypass

Protein malnutrition is one of the causes of hair loss. Keratin is a protein rich in disulfide bonds, and deficiency of sulfur-containing amino acids such as cysteine and methionine leads to the formation of brittle and fragile hairs and subsequent shedding. Following gastric sleeve surgery, patients must be encouraged to take more protein in order to prevent a deficiency state.

Researchers have shown that nutritional deficiencies shorten the anagen phase causing a large number of hairs to enter telogen at the same time. a leads to thinning of the hairs and subsequent shedding. A study found a low serum zinc concentration in 312 patients with hair loss compared to controls. Studies have also shown that zinc supplement can help hair regrowth due to its role in protein and nucleic acid synthesis in hair follicles and other body cells. Another study also recorded low serum ferritin in all 113 females with hair loss and in 22.7% of 97 males with hair loss in a total of 210 patients compared to controls.

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