After gastric sleeve surgery, many people report some degree of hair loss or thinning. This is a normal side effect of bariatric surgery and, luckily, it won’t last indefinitely!
Why Does Hair Loss Occur?
The hair loss associated with bariatric surgery is temporary and referred to as Telogen Effluvium. It occurs when more of your hair follicles enter the telogen phase rather than the anagen phase. When your hair is in this dormant telogen phase, it is no longer growing and will typically fall out around 3-4 months later. This may sound intimidating but fortunately the hair loss tends to be minimal and, as previously mentioned, it is not permanent, meaning the hair will grow back.
There are a few simple reasons as to why you may be experiencing this such as: your body’s response to having surgery, drastic weight loss after undergoing gastric sleeve, and/or changes to your diet and nutrient intake.
How Long Does It Last?
Telogen Effluvium develops due to a significant change to your body which is why it is quite common following bariatric surgery. Patients tend to notice some thinning at 3-5 months post-op, with most reporting it lasting up until 6-12 months post-op before growing back in.
How Can I Reduce or Prevent It?
Entirely preventing hair loss after bariatric surgery may not be possible as it is the body’s natural response to rapid weight loss and diet changes; however, there may be some steps you can take to reduce the severity.
First and foremost, stick to your doctor’s orders. Make sure to follow as closely as possible the nutritional plan provided to you by your bariatric surgeon and/or dietitian.
You are also going to want to ensure you are eating enough protein and that you include some form of protein in all your meals and snacks. Not enough protein in your diet results in hair loss, amongst other disadvantages.
After bariatric surgery, you will need to be taking vitamins and supplements for life as per your doctor’s recommendation. Getting all the proper micronutrients post-op may help with any hair loss.
If the idea of hair loss is stopping you from considering weight loss surgery, don’t fret! While hair thinning associated with gastric sleeve is minor and temporary, the benefits to your overall health having undergone bariatric surgery are far more substantial.
Book a free consultation with our highly experienced Toronto gastric sleeve surgery specialists to learn more about the procedure and how we can assist you in reaching your weight loss goals.