Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery: Causes and Prevention Tips

  • Reading Time: 6 Min

  • Category: Weight Loss Surgery

  • Approved by: Dr. Shokrzadeh

Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery: Causes and Prevention Tips

  • Reading Time: 6 Min

  • Category: Weight Loss Surgery

  • Approved by: Dr. Shokrzadeh

Having a weight loss surgery, known also as bariatric surgery, is an essential treatment to obesity and has a great positive effect on the person’s physical and psychological health. However, such surgeries are not free of complications and side effects. One of these is hair loss after weight loss surgery.

If you already have had the surgery and experienced such a condition or if you are planning to have your weight loss surgery and have concerns about hair loss after bariatric surgery, then you are now on the right page to have many of your questions answered and concerns eased about this condition.

hair loss after weight loss surgery

General Facts:

  • Hair loss is a common side effect of weight loss surgeries due to telogen effluvium that forces the hair to enter in the rest phase.
  • Hair loss after bariatric surgery is mainly caused by the low-calories and low-protein diet after the surgery.
  • Hair loss caused by weight loss surgery usually lasts for about 3 months, and it can last for 1 year in rare cases.
  • Good protein and vitamin intake is essential in preventing hair loss after weight loss surgery.
  • Iron and Zinc supplements can reduce hair loss after bariatric surgery.
  • Having enough rest and sleep and doing moderate physical activities can help you prevent hair loss after weight loss surgery.

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.

Why do patients suffer from hair loss after undergoing weight-loss surgery?

In Most cases, patients suffer from a condition called telogen effluvium after having their surgical procedure. This condition negatively effects the growth cycle of the hair by forcing a great amount of patients’ hair to shift into the resting phase “telogen” instead of the growth phase “anagen”, which causes the hair loss. Moreover, patients who undergo weight-loss surgery, such as gastric bypass procedure, are more likely to experience hair loss after their surgical procedure. This is due to the drastic change that occurs to their eating habits, which reduces their nutrition levels, and causes them hair loss.

hair three stage growth cycle

Hair 3-stage growth cycle

What causes hair loss after weight loss surgery?

One of the main causes for hair loss after bariatric surgery is the poor diet that follows the surgery. Most patients tend to have a very low-calories and low-protein intake after the surgery. This leads to many conditions, such as iron deficiency and underactive thyroid that play an important role in causing hair to fall. Furthermore, there are other common causes such as:

  • Acute illness as a complication of the surgery
  • Chronic diseases
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Poor diet
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Prescribed medication such as beta-blockers and anticoagulants.
an infography showing hair loss causes and factors after weight loss surgery

What are the causes of hair loss after weight loss surgery?

How can hair loss after bariatric surgery be prevented?

Here are some tips to prevent hair loss after weight loss surgery:

1. Patients must always remember that protein is essential

Patients who undergo bariatric surgery are highly advised to increase their daily protein intake, as protein is extremely important for the body to generate new cells, especially the cells that make up their hair. In most cases, patients need to take a minimum of 60 grams of proteins every day. This can be achieved by adding high protein foods to their daily meals to ensure that their bodies are getting the minimum requirement of the daily protein intake. Some of the best sources for proteins that can be added to the meals include red meat, grilled fish, skinless chicken, some types of cheese such as cottage cheese and low-fat cheese, protein bars, and chia seeds.

2. Patients must pay close attention to their daily vitamins intake

One of the main causes for hair loss is vitamin deficiency, which means most patients need to increase their normal daily vitamins intake in order to prevent hair-loss. Moreover, most patients need to have vitamin supplements in addition to eating nutrient rich foods to avoid such deficiencies as vitamins promote hair growth and play an important role in having full and healthy hair. Most patients are highly advised to start taking vitamins at least two weeks before weight loss surgery. This precaution step will not only prevent hair loss but it will also rid the patients of the fatigue that accompanies the poor diet that follows the surgery.

3. Iron and Zinc supplements are as much important as protein and vitamins

In many cases, Iron-deficiency had a primary role in causing hair loss. Thus, Patients who suffer from losing their hair consistently after months of surgery should have their iron levels checked. Furthermore, most patients must add iron-rich foods to their diet even before the surgery in order to eliminate the possibility of developing iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods include red meat, leafy green vegetables, beans, peas and cereals.

4. Patients are highly advised to get enough sleep and take care of their mental health

Mental health is as important as physical health in your journey to full recovery. Therefore, beside eating a well-balanced diet and getting sufficient daily intakes of vitamins and minerals, patients also need to have a good sleeping pattern in addition to doing activities that can help them de-stress such as yoga or walking.

an infography showing the prevention tips for hair loss after weight loss surgery

How can I prevent hair loss after weight loss surgery?

How can patients recover from hair loss after weight loss after the surgery if occurred?

  • 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.
  • Separate Iron supplements should be taken by patients who are suffering from iron deficiency.
  • 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

Surgery + Hotel + Visa
Transfer + Interpreter

Weight Loss Surgery Packages

Surgery + Hotel + Visa
Transfer + Interpreter

What is the best shampoo for hair loss after bariatric surgery?

Patients who suffer from hair loss after weight loss surgeries are advised to use specific types of shampoo and hair conditioners that are specifically made to help with their condition. According to many patients, most hair products failed in helping them recover from hair loss. However, there are some Shampoos and Conditioners which help most patients deal with their hair loss problem.

What to do if hair loss continues for more than 1 year after the surgery?

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.

You May Like to See Before & After Photos of Weight Loss Surgery

You May Like to See Before & After Photos of Weight Loss Surgery

What are the best vitamins to prevent hair loss after weight loss surgery?

Iron supplements, zinc supplements, B-complex vitamins, Copper, protein, fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6).

The Bottom Line

Hair loss post weight loss surgery is a common side effect due to the change of the patient’s lifestyle and food intake. However, this condition and be somehow prevented by taking the abovementioned measures.

If you still have any questions or concerns about hair loss after weight loss surgery, do not hesitate to contact with us. Our specialists at AriaMedTour are ready to answer all your questions.

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