Weight loss surgery also called bariatric or metabolic surgery, is used as a treatment for people who are obese. The surgery can lead to significant weight loss and help to improve many obesity-related conditions including, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
After the surgery, some people can experience hair loss. Today we’re telling you why this might happen and if it is normal.
Bariatric surgery is surgery used to help those who have tried to lose weight through a healthy diet and exercise but are struggling.
There are several types of bariatric surgery and the most common types are; gastric band – a band which is placed around the stomach as you do not need to eat as much to feel full, gastric bypass – the top part of the stomach is joined to the small intestines, this makes you feel fuller sooner and you will not absorb as many calories from food, and a sleeve gastrectomy - some of the stomach is removed, this means you cannot eat as much as before and you’ll feel fuller sooner.
The surgery is a huge step to improving your health, however, it is important to remember that the surgery can come with some side effects and will also require you to make some lifestyle changes. You’ll have to change your diet as well as exercising. The surgery will create a sudden change in your nutrition and calorie intake, this causes rapid weight loss, but it can also cause some people to unexpectedly experience hair loss.
Nutritional deficiencies are common in overweight and obese people, this can come from not having a balanced diet and after the reduced total calories intake following bariatric surgery your body can feel the nutrient struggle even more so.
After surgery, and for around 6 months following, calories are tightly restricted and can contribute to a decreased intake of all macronutrients. The surgery can also cause the body to experience stress and hormonal changes after surgery.
These factors can result in telogen effluvium, a type of hair loss that is common after rapid weight-loss. Due to the stress of the surgery and the reduction of calories your hairs follicles will enter the resting phase of the growth cycle and stay in this phase for longer than usual. This can cause the hair to shed between one and six months after the surgery.
In most cases, yes, the hair loss is not permanent. As mentioned above the hair follicles are in the resting phase of the growth cycle for much longer than normal. However, over time, as your body begins to normalise the hair growth cycle will do the same, which means you will over time see new hair growth.