Will My Hair Fall Out After Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Jeremy Korman';

By Jeremy Korman

Posted on January 6th, 2012 in Weight Loss

Gastric bypass surgery is an effective, safe treatment for morbid obesity, and although it has helped many patients achieve better health and quality of life, it may sometimes have undesirable side effects.

Most of these side effects are minor, especially when compared to the benefits of the procedure.

However, they do exist, and it is best to be thoroughly informed about all of the possibilities.

One of the potential side-effects of weight loss surgery is hair loss.

Hair loss is tied to the body's natural process of growing and shedding hair. Normally, about 90 percent of your hairs are actively growing at any time; this time is called the anagen phase. The remaining 10 percent of the hairs are in a three-four month long-dormant state. After this dormant state—called the telogen phase—the hair falls out.

Usually, we don't notice that we're continually losing and regrowing hair, because such a small percentage of our hairs are falling out at any one time. When the body undergoes certain stresses, more hairs shift into the telogen phase, causing hair loss to accelerate and hair to thin. These stresses can include illness, childbirth, deficiency of certain nutrients or of protein, and major surgery.

Because weight loss surgery patients eat so much less food after their operation, they must pay close attention to their nutritional choices. Getting enough protein is absolutely vital; other nutrients whose deficiency is associated with hair loss include zinc, iron, and several vitamins and fatty acids.

Zinc Is Important for Hair-loss Prevention

In one study, doctors found that in patients who were losing hair after bariatric surgery, zinc supplements often appeared to stop hair loss; however, this is not proof that zinc will help all patients keep their hair.

In some weight loss surgery patients, protein is the primary factor in hair loss. Because some gastric bypass patients don't get enough protein, they have a particular need to prioritize protein consumption when they plan meals.

Some patients' hair loss may not be tied to nutritional problems. The shock to the body that major surgery causes often seems to be the cause.

Find Out More

If you are concerned about losing hair after gastric bypass surgery, you can get in touch with us. We will be happy to help you with any questions you may have. You can also schedule a consultation at our office in the Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, near the ocean southwest of downtown Los Angeles.