You’ve recovered from your surgery, you are eating solid foods, and just when you start to feel normal, your hair starts falling out in clumps. 50% of bariatric patients lose a lot of hair. Learn some tips on stopping hair loss after weight loss surgery.
At four months post-op, my hair fell out in handfuls, I tried everything to coarse correct (see what I did there) but I started the process too late. Once over half of my hair fell out, I finally started my trial and error process to stop the hair from shedding and grow it back quickly. What did I learn? Start this process when you get your surgery to help minimize damage.
Does Everyone Lose Hair after Bariatric Surgery?
No! I’m just lucky, I guess. My Doctors at Cooper Bariatric told me 50% of WLS surgery patients lose hair but the loss isn’t permanent. Hair loss typically starts between 4-6 months post-op.
My hair started falling out once I hit the 4-month post-op milestone. I mean just when I started feeling sexy and healthy again, my hair fell out…the universe got jokes. By month five I was getting scared with the clumps of hair coming out in the shower. It’s traumatic seeing my long, thick curly hair fallout by the handful so I headed to my hairdresser. I chopped my hair to a very short curly bob.
My advice to you is to give yourself a short haircut when you get the surgery. Also, invest in a hair catcher and hair de-clogger for your shower so you don’t kill your plumbing.
What Causes Hair Loss?
According to Virtua Health, protein intake, stress and hormones all play a role. Personally, I struggled to meet my protein goals everyday, I was always full. My hormones were already out of wack and my anxiety was high last year, for other reasons, it’s not surprising my lovely locks abandoned ship.
I went from full Tracee Ellis Ross type hair to very thin curly hair. Losing a lot around the crown, the kitchen, and the temple areas. I had one very noticeable bald spot but I went out and curated a kick ass hat collection, so you know I made lemonade out of lemons.
If I had to guess, I would say I lost about 50-60% of my hair. I style around the bald spots and rock my new favorite hats to avoid questions from friends.
How I Stopped my Hair Loss
First, can I say I found the hair loss traumatic. My mother died from cancer, losing my hair triggered that memory and rattled my anxiety and depression. So, I had no choice but to get it together for my own mental health.
As always, consult a doctor if you have hair loss to make sure there is nothing else medical going on.
I cut my hair into a bob length. If you are getting a new do, the shorter the better. Because my hair was so thick and full it was weighing down my weak ass hair follicles and pulling my hair out of my head. I wish I had cut my hair when I got the surgery, I believe this would have reduced some of the thinning.
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- Do’s and Don’ts after Weight Loss Surgery
- Weight Loss Surgery is More Common than you Think
- Vitamins and Protein after Weight Loss Surgery
Make different styling choices. I was the queen of slick backed pony’s and high buns. This put a lot of tension around my kitchen and temple area and my already angry hair follicles were like F’it, we give up, and the hair just came out.
Instead, opt for low tension hairstyles such as leaving your hair down, loosely putting it back, or low-tension braids.
Vitamins and Supplements
Public Service Announcement: Take your vitamins and Supplements. My Doctor put me on the following (please follow your doctor’s instructions):
- 2 Flintstone Complete Vitamins
- Sublingual B12/B Complex
My hair grew back very quickly and my nails are thick and beautiful for the first time ever, so more lemonade from those lemons.
I tried out a lot of different shampoos and conditioners. My hair wash routine is typically 1-2 times a week, so I tried/researched each shampoo and conditioner for 2-4 weeks. I won’t go into what products failed me, because they may work for other people. Instead, let’s talk about the one that worked wonders for me. I swear I hear angels sing when I put it on in the shower. If you take away anything from this post, it is this shampoo and conditioner.
Finally, I tried the Nexxus for Damaged Hair line Keraphix Protein Fusion with Keratin Protein and Black Rice. With this Shampoo and Conditioner, I noticed a difference after the first wash. So, I went out and bought the giant bottles in bulk.
As for styling, I’ve been trying to use very minimal products. My favorite right now is Knot today detangler, and that is all I’ve been using to style my hair. The detangler makes brushing more pleasant and easier to style with a comb.
Pre-Op me would put conditioner in and detangle my curls aggressively with a paddle brush in the shower. When my hair began falling out in chunks, I stopped my violent brushing routine.
I switched to the Wet Brush Shower Flex detangling brush. It’s gentle while it detangles and it doesn’t hurt when I’m brushing out the knots.
I sleep with a CPAP and the silicon straps rub back and forth all night pulling at my hair. Pre-Surgery I was very lazy about wrapping my hair at night, I could get away with just using a silk pillow case. Post-Op I started using silk headwraps and headbands before I put on my CPAP. I recommend wrapping your hair even if you don’t have a CPAP, especially if you are a restless sleeper.
Try and eat a balanced diet, I know, I know it’s completely cliché. Get your protein goals in. I sneak unflavored Protein Powder into everything to make sure I hit my 80 grams of protein a day. If you’ve had Weight Loss Surgery go to your post-op appointments and get your blood work done to make sure your health is good.
Have tips on how to reduce hair loss post gastric sleeve or bypass? Let us know your tips in the comments. We love hearing from our readers.
Wow I never realized wls caused this type of hair loss. Thanks for sharing!
I have a friend whom had weight loss surgery recently and I will be sharing this with her. Thank you!
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing this! I had RNY 1/13/20 and am losing it like it’s my job! I’m starting to get self-conscious about it. I have an appointment to get my hair cut soon, as I haven’t had a cut since December…… whoops!
The hair cut will help. Get your protein in too. Good Luck! Thanks for reading
I’ve been good with protein intake. But the haircut and I’ve also ordered the hair products too. Thanks again!
I am 3 weeks out after Sleeve Gastrectomy, and hair loss is my biggest fear. What is your take on the patch vitamins? I haven’t had blood work yet to make sure my body is absorbing them correctly. That appointment is next week. So far I’m a fan….
At first, I really liked the patch vitamins. But now I don’t so I take liquid or chewable vitamins when I can. Congrats on your surgery.