What causes Hair Loss after Bariatric Surgery and What can be done ?
It is not uncommon to experience increased hair loss in the months following bariatric surgery. It is one of the side effects of any significant weight loss procedure and bariatric surgery. Your body can be adversely affected by nutrient deficiencies, stress, and hormonal imbalances — all these factors can be caused by weight loss surgery, restrictive diets, and rapid weight loss.
For most people, the effects of hair loss are generally mild and transient; however, some individuals may experience a more severe and persistent loss. The main cause of this is the physiological stress that results from weight loss, the changes made in the body which affect the hair growth cycle.
For instance, around 30%-40% of patients may experience hair loss following gastric surgery. However, hair loss is just a temporary problem and if you follow the advice of Dr. Venugopal Pareek and recommended dieticians, you can control your hair fall even after surgery.
The Hair Growth Cycle
Hair starts to grow from the hair follicles and during hair growth, it goes through various phases.
The active phase (anagen phase)
The anagen phase of hair can endure up to seven years and is the period during which hair growth occurs. During this period of growth, the hair can sometimes become as long as one meter.
The transitional phase (catagen phase)
During this period, which typically lasts between 2 and 3 weeks, the active growth of the anagen phase begins to slow down.
The resting phase (telogen phase)
This phase roughly lasts around 100 days. In this phase, the hair first begins to form a large, white base resembling a club, after which it begins to fall. During this phase, around 25 to 100 hairs might fall out every day. The follicles then stay inactive for a few months before the cycle begins again.
Causes of hair loss
Approximately 10% of our hair is typically in the resting phase at some point of time. The quick weight loss that follows surgery puts the body under physiological stress, which in turn results in more hair entering the resting phase. On average, this resting phase might last more than three months, and at the end of this resting phase, people may observe more hair loss, typically 3 to 6 months following surgery.
Another cause of hair loss is a lack of essential nutrients, which can be caused by consuming smaller amounts of food that contain fewer macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates). This is because after bariatric surgery the regular diet changes (consumes less and specific diet only for a few months). When there is a limited amount of nutrients available, the most important organs in the body are given priority in terms of nutrient distribution, leaving hair, which mainly serves for aesthetics, is left without nutrients.
Bariatric surgeries can cause a deficiency in micronutrients various vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, biotin and essential fatty acids which are essential for healthy hair growth. Deficiency of these micronutrients is less common if you follow the instructions of the doctor for vitamin replacement therapy.
In addition to the previously mentioned causes, hair loss can also be attributed to hypothyroidism and genetic factors. Hair loss typically does not last longer than 6 months, and it is usually possible for your hair to regrow within 3 to 6 months. Furthermore, you will never go completely bald with bariatric surgery. A minimum amount of hair loss following surgery is inevitable. All that is needed is time and patience, as well as ensuring that the body is receiving the right amount of nutrients.
Is this normal?
It is quite common for hair loss to occur after bariatric surgery, typically beginning three to six months after the procedure and lasting for a maximum of twelve months. Bariatric surgery can cause a condition known as telogen effluvium, which is a type of hair loss related to the normal hair growth cycle. Typically, it begins suddenly and rarely lasts more than six months.
What are the signs that indicate it is time to worry about hair loss?
- If you have been experiencing hair loss for over 12 months.
- If the onset of your hair loss began after 6 months following surgery.
- If it is challenging for you to consume enough food of different types.
- If you have not adhered to the suggested vitamin supplementation regimen.
- If you have symptoms that indicate other deficiencies.
- If your blood tests indicate a deficiency of iron, zinc, or protein
- Losing weight more quickly than expected.
What Treatments Are Available for Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery?
Treatments for hair loss after bariatric surgery depend on the cause and severity of the hair loss. Possible treatments include dietary changes, supplements, medications, laser therapy, and surgery.
Dietary changes: Eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet can help to reduce hair loss after bariatric surgery. A daily protein intake of 60 grams is recommended. It is best if you include fatty fish, nuts, and seeds in your diet or take an omega-3 supplement on regular basis. Patients may need to take supplements to ensure they are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy hair growth.
Supplements: Certain vitamins and minerals are necessary for healthy hair growth, including iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamin C. Supplements may be needed to ensure the patient is getting enough of these nutrients. It is important to ensure that you are taking dietary supplements that contain iron (50–100 mg/day) and zinc (15–40 mg/day). Supplements should be taken daily as recommended by your doctor.
Medications: Certain medications, such as minoxidil, may be prescribed to help promote hair growth.
Laser therapy: Laser therapy can help to stimulate hair follicles, which can help to reduce hair loss and promote hair growth.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat hair loss after bariatric surgery. This may involve scalp reduction or hair transplantation.
It is important to talk to a healthcare professional before beginning any treatment for hair loss after bariatric surgery.
The effects of bariatric surgery on hair loss are not fully understood, and the research is still in its early stages. Bariatric surgery is a type of weight-loss surgery that is used to help people with obesity lose weight. While this surgery can be beneficial for many people, it can also cause hair loss. Hair loss is usually temporary and should grow back once the body has had time to adjust to the changes.
This article has information on the causes of hair loss after bariatric surgery, the ways it can be controlled or treated, and the long-term implications to prevent hair loss after bariatric surgery.
For more detailed information consult Dr. Venugopal Pareek, one of the best bariatric surgeons in Hyderabad. Contact us at +91 91-777-77715, or book an appointment online today.