Hair loss can be a side effect of weight loss, and you are more likely to experience hair loss if you have had a gastric bypass surgery. It is not permanent and your hair will grow back.
Shedding hair three to five months after weight-loss surgery is common and happens from losing weight rapidly, not getting enough protein, and the general stress your body goes through from surgery. Other less common reasons for post-surgery hair loss might be a lack of important nutrients such as zinc, potassium, vitamin B6, or phosphorus. There are certain steps you can follow to prevent hair loss after weight loss surgery.
Causes of Hair Loss After Surgery
Lowered Caloric Intake
Look at your overall caloric intake. If you lack the required amount of calories, it may cause hair loss. Also add some healthy fat like coconut oil, Barlean’s Essential fatty acid swirl or even an avocado to your protein shakes to get the extra calories and nutrients.
Lack of Proper Proteins and Vitamins
Are you getting the required grams of protein per day? Increase your daily protein to get the minimum requirements if you are not doing so.
If you are a vegetarian, it is important to pair different vegetarian protein options at each meal to supply the necessary amino acids. This includes the following types of foods:
- Lean red meat
- Grilled/baked fish
- Cheese and cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Chia seeds
Solutions to Reducing Hair Loss After Surgery
After bariatric or weight loss surgery, there are specific amounts of vitamins that are needed. It’s important to start with checking your total caloric and protein intake and making sure you are taking a bariatric specific multivitamin before adding anything else.
Take a vegetarian based digestive enzyme with your meals. This will assist in helping your food break down and increase the amount that is absorbed. Eat a wide variety of healthy, nutrient-rich foods every day. And finally, take a number of vitamin and mineral supplements as recommended by your doctor.
You may have low iron. 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. Ask your endocrinologist to check your ferritin levels if you think yours may be low. Symptoms of iron anemia include fatigue, pale skin, weakness and inability to regulate body temperature. Iron rich food sources include:
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Dark leafy greens
- Iron-enriched cereals
Include a vitamin C rich food when eating foods high in iron and the iron will be absorbed better. Amino acid l-lysine makes up a percentage of the protein in our hair. Adding a gram of protein may assist with excessive hair loss. Eggs, fish, and meat are also high in L-lysine.
People that are highly stressed also have the tendency to lose hair. It is the stress itself that causes the hair loss. Ensuring your post-surgery diet is rich in protein and the appropriate vitamins and minerals can help prevent hair loss.
Follow Up with Your Bariatric Surgeon After Weight Loss Surgery
Always follow-up with your bariatric surgeon. It is important to ensure that your vitamin and mineral intake and your blood levels are normal. By visiting the doctor, it will help minimize side effects.