- August 19, 2015
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Hair loss after Bariatric Surgery : Is it permanent?
A common fear and complaint of patients after bariatric surgery is hair loss.
Patients should understand that this is a temporary phenomenon.
The hair loss usually starts abruptly and seldom lasts more than 6 months .
The two main issues after bariatric surgery are nutritional deficiency and rapid weight loss. These can account for the hair loss .
The medical terminology for this is called ‘telogen effluvium ‘.
Human hair follicles have two stages ; Anagen phase: The growth phase and Telogen phase: The dormant or resting phase .
All hairs begin their life in the anagen phase, grow for some period of time and then shift to telogen phase which lasts for 100 to 120 days. Following this the hairs will fall out. Typically 90 % of our hair is in anagen phase and 10 % in telogen phase. This means that we are usually loosing less hair than growing, so the hair loss is not noticeable.
Hair loss rarely lasts for more than six months following bariatric surgery in the absence of a dietary or nutritional cause. Since hair follicles are not damaged in telogen effluvium, hair should regrow. For this reason, a Bariatric surgeon can assure his patients that with time and patience and by keeping good nutrition, the hair should grow back. It is natural hair loss of 5 – 15 % of your hair due to the stress of surgery and rapid weight loss.
One should be more suspicious of a nutritional cause to post weight loss surgery if :
- Hair loss continues more than one year
- Hair loss started more than six months following surgery
- Patient blood reports have demonstrated low levels of ferritin , zinc or protein
- Patient has had more rapid weight loss than expected.
One of the best preventable ways to continued hair loss is to take good protein ( minimum of 60 gm – 75 gm / day ) , Zinc ( upper safe limit is 40 gm / day ) ,Biotin ( upper safe limit is 2000 mcg – 3000 mcg / day ) , Iron and Multivitamin supplements .