Metro Bariatrics - Amir Moazzez MD, FACS

Hair Loss After Weight Loss?

Most people are concerned about the hair loss that can occur following bariatric surgery. After weight loss surgery the hair loss that occurs is typically a diffuse loss known as telogen effluvium. Both nutritional and non-nutritional reasons can lead to this type of hair loss. There are two states for human hair follicles: anagen and telogen. All hairs begin in the anagen phase, which is a growth phase, for a time period and then shift into the telogen phase. The telogen phase is a dormant stage which lasts about 100 to 120 days. Following the telogen phase hair will fall out. Typically, about 90 percent of hairs are anagen and 10 percent are telogen at any given time.

According to the Mayo Clinic telogen effluvium hair loss “is usually due to a change in your normal hair cycle. It may occur when some type of shock to your system — emotional or physical — causes hair roots to be pushed prematurely into the resting state. The affected growing hairs from these hair roots fall out. In a month or two, the hair follicles become active again and new hair starts to grow. Telogen effluvium may follow emotional distress, such as a death in the family or a physiological stress, such as a high fever, sudden or excessive weight loss, extreme diets, nutritional deficiencies, surgery, or metabolic disturbances. Hair typically grows back once the condition that caused it corrects itself, but it usually take months.”

Two factors which weight loss surgery patients have that increase their risk for hair loss following surgery include major surgery and rapid weight loss. Generally speaking the weight loss that occurs in the 3-6 month is telogen effluvium, but discrete nutritional deficiencies can contribute and cause telogen effluvium. Factors to consider for nutritional contribution are (Jacques, 2006, p. 146):

The best thing you can do to minimize hair loss after weight loss surgery is to take your vitamins as recommended by your health care team and drink your protein drinks.


Reference:
Jacques, J. (2006). Micronutrition for the weight loss surgery patient. Matrix Medical Communications. Edgemont: Pennsylvania.

Mayo Clinic Staff (2011, July 23). Hair loss: Causes. The Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hair-loss/DS00278/DSECTION=causes