Hair Loss after Surgery

WHAT IS HAIR LOSS? Hair loss can be a scary topic to discuss. Although hair loss can happen after bariatric surgery, it is not permanent, and your hair will grow back. So why does this happen and what can you do to help prevent it? One thing to note is that those who undergo gastric […]


Hair loss can be a scary topic to discuss. Although hair loss can happen after bariatric
surgery, it is not permanent, and your hair will grow back. So why does this happen and
what can you do to help prevent it? One thing to note is that those who undergo gastric
sleeve or gastric bypass procedures are more likely to experience hair loss than those
who have the Lap Band procedure. This is because those who undergo gastric bypass or
sleeve surgery experience a more rapid weight loss and higher prevalence of nutrient
deficiency after surgery. Because those who have the Lap Band procedure lose weight
gradually, they typically have less hair loss.

Research has shown that the physiological stress resulting from major surgery and from
rapid weight loss can cause the body to shift nutrients towards vital organs such as the
heart and brain and away from cosmetic functions such as hair growth.
Although hair is important to us, it is not to the body. As a result, the hair growth phase
could temporarily stop and the dormant state set in, causing some hair loss to occur.
Most commonly occurs at 3-5 months post-op. As the body adjusts to the changes, the
hair loss will decrease and then stop. Hair should grow back as normal as long as there
are no nutrient deficiencies, and you are consuming adequate protein.




Below are five tips to help prevent hair loss. Follow these tips and you will have a full
head of hair to go along with the new you!

Tip #1

Protein, protein, protein! Our program emphasises the need for protein from the initial
appointment throughout the duration of the band. Protein is the building block of all
cells, including the cells that make up your hair. Failing to meet our recommendation of
60g/day minimum per day could leave you with thinning hair as well as less satiety.

Make sure you consume lean protein foods at each and every meal. This includes skinless chicken, lean red meat, grilled/baked fish, low-fat string cheese and cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, beans, protein bars, chia seeds, and fax. If you are a vegetarian, it is important to pair different vegetarian protein options at each meal to supply all of the necessary amino acids. Examples include beans, peas, quinoa, chia seeds and soy.

Tip #2

Take your vitamins. Many nutrient deficiencies can lead to hair loss, so think of your daily
vitamins as medications. They are essential for avoiding nutrient deficiencies and
provide the B-vitamins needed to keep your hair healthy and full. Take your multiple
vitamins consistently starting at two weeks before surgery to help prevent hair loss and
fatigue associated with low nutrient status.

Tip #3

Iron matters. Have your iron levels checked if you are still losing hair at seven months
after surgery. Iron is the micronutrient most commonly related to hair loss. Ferritin levels
are indicative of iron storage in the body and low ferritin levels are commonly
associated with hair loss. Ask your dietitian or doctor to check your ferritin levels if you
think yours may be low. Symptoms of iron anaemia include fatigue, pale skin, weakness
and inability to regulate body temperature. Iron-rich food sources include red meat, egg
yolks, dark leafy greens, beans/peas/legumes and iron-enriched cereals. Include a
vitamin C rich food when eating foods high in iron and the iron will be absorbed better.

Tip #4

Try zinc. If you’ve tried tips 1-3 and you are still losing hair, consider adding additional
zinc to your diet. Zinc is an important factor for the growth and development of healthy
hair. Be sure to speak with your dietitian or doctor before starting a zinc supplement as
excessive amounts of zinc can cause serious side effects. Oysters, red meat and poultry
provide the majority of zinc in the diet. Other nutrients associated with hair health
include vitamin A, folate, B-6 and essential fatty acids. Hair loss can also be caused by
systemic diseases, including thyroid disease and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS),
and is influenced by genetics.

Tip #5

Try Selenium! Benefits of Selenium for Hair Loss include;

• Selenium is essential for the production of thyroid hormones that help to regulate
hair growth
• Selenium kills the dandruff fungus which is an ingredient in many dandruff
treatments, making your hair healthier.
• Adequate amounts of selenium in the diet are essential for regular hair growth.
Make sure you are consuming at least 55mcg per day and up to 400mcg per day
Impact of Selenium on Hair Loss
The impact of Selenium on the hair is not exactly direct. Selenium impacts some
organs, hormones, or enzymes in the body, which in turn affect the growth of the hair.
Enzymes are molecular elements that provoke different chemical reactions in the body.
Some of these enzymes help the body to get rid of free radicals. With the presence of
Selenium in the body, these enzymes leave the stage for Selenium to clean out the free
Apart from the enzymes that clean out free radicals, Selenium also improves the
performance of enzymes that produce antioxidants like vitamin C in the body. The effect
of these antioxidants is that they give the body a better hair loss and growth cycle. Thus,
if the enzymes producing antioxidants are optimised by Selenium, then the hair loss and
growth cycle is also optimised, thanks to Selenium. Selenium also helps to destroy any
fungus that causes dandruff in the hair.
It is, however, important to note that excessive intake of Selenium also has its side effects
in the body and may also contribute to hair loss.

Tip #6

Try the following hair loss shampoos:
Plantur 39 – Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo – activates hair roots, prevents and reduces hair
loss (for fine brittle hair) – IN A GREEN BOX
Alpecin Double Effect Caffeine Shampoo – for hair loss & dandruff – IN BROWN/RED
Biotin Boost – Thickening Shampoo with Biotin, Collagen & Coffee (made by Hask) – IN
Biotin & Collagen Shampoo – with vitamin B7 Biotin, Collagen & hydrolyzed wheat
protein (sulfate free) – by ogx – IN PURPLE BOTTLE WITH GOLD TOP

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