Weight loss surgery and hair loss: the facts

General Hair Loss

belly-2354_960_720Many people don’t expect to lose their hair when they have weight loss surgery, but it is a very common occurrence after the likes of bariatric surgery. A bariatric operation takes place on the stomach and/or intestines, allowing patients to lose weight. It is a common option for people who are unable to lose weight by other methods or who suffer from serious health problems because of obesity.

Why does hair loss occur with weight loss surgery?

The hair loss associated with bariatric surgery is called telogen effluvium and affects the normal hair growth cycle of the patient. This form of hair loss is common when the body is put under excessive amounts of stress and when hormonal changes occur in the body.

More hair follicles enter the resting phase than usual because of the stress and when the new hair starts to grow, your old hair follicle is released and you lose hair. This form of hair loss is common in both men and women, and is frequently seen after childbirth.

People who have weight loss surgery are more inclined to tick the boxes that make them susceptible to hair loss, these include:

  •  Surgery, trauma related to surgery
  • Chronic and debilitating disease
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Poor diet, vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Medication use

The Good News

The good news for people who suffer from telogen effluvium is that you can count on your hair growing back! If you are experiencing this form of hair loss then here’s what you can do about it:

  • Don’t stress! It is natural to lose up to 15% of your hair from the stress of surgery and weight loss. Ignore the hair loss and in no time you’ll be back to your normal self
  • Follow a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet. You not only want to maintain your weight loss from surgery but you also want to ensure you give your body everything it needs to grow healthy hair. There are also bariatric specific multi vitamins that help with your recovery
  • Visit your doctor for the best advise on successfully recovering from the surgery and helping your maintain your weight loss
  • Consider topical solutions to help promote hair growth during this initial post-surgery period.


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