Monday, April 15, 2013

Hair Loss after Bariatric Surgery

Hair loss can be a frustrating side affect after bariatric surgery and is a concern that many patients bring up during at their 3 or 6 month follow-up clinic appointments.

What is going on?

In general, the hair follicles may go into a "resting phase" that may last 3-6 months while the protein and nutrient you consume go to your vital organs and tissues. Hair loss may occur for several reasons, some reasons that are preventable and treatable and some that out of your control.
  • Stress of surgery
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Inadequate protein intake
  • Inadequate micronutrient intake
  • Hormone or thyroid imbalance
While you cannot take back the surgery and rapid weight loss is the nature of surgery, you can address your nutrition status and you can have a positive attitude while embracing the changes your body is undergoing!

What can you do?

First of all, record your protein intake using a phone app, online tool, or ol' pen and paper. Are you getting in your surgeon's recommended daily intake? If not, bump it up!

Then take a close look at your vitamin and mineral supplementation regime, discuss with your bariatric dietitian or surgeon if the regime is appropriate for you and review you most recent nutrition labs with them.

Check with your primary care provider regarding treatment of any hormonal or thyroid imbalances you may have.

And finally, know that if you are following these steps the hair will grow back!! It's just resting. Embrace the changing you and pamper yourself with these tips from hair stylist, Samantha, who shared them at our last support group:
  • Get a fabulous hair cut! By adding layers to long hair or sporting a shorter style may make your hair look fuller.
  • Get a head massage! This feels great and stimulates the hair folicles.
  • Scientific hair brushing! "Marsha, Marsha, Marsh!" Brushing your hair stimulates hair growth.
  • Have fun with wigs! Talk about saving time in the morning - just put it on and have as many new looks as you'd like to accent the new you.
  • Don't be shy with products, these can work for you with creating a fuller look.
  • Caution with bleaching as this may make thinner hair.
Hair loss can be frustrating, but don't let it hold you back from feeling awesome! A positive attitude and good nutrition will get you through this potentially difficult time.

Anna Macnak, RDN, LD
UT Weight Loss & CHRISTUS Weight Loss Institute

Trying on wigs at support group!