Hair Loss of the Bariatric


You are most-likely aware that having Bariatric or Gastric Bypass surgery DOES cause you to experience “some” type of hair loss as you lose the weight so rapidly. You’ve heard the rumors, and they are TRUE to the point that you WILL LOSE some hair… but you will not be bald in the least! In all of my years attending a support group, NEVER have I seen one bald person yet! So rest assured that although you DO lose “some” hair, it won’t be all.

Let’s simplify this topic by putting it in a question/answer format:

Q: Why do we lose some hair?
A: As a pre-op person, you used to consume between 3,000 to 5,000 calories a day. But once you have the surgery, your caloric intake is drastically reduced to a mere 300-600 calories a day. This puts the body in an “emergency” mode as it thinks something is terribly wrong, and it begins to focus ONLY on supporting the vital organs that will sustain life. Hair has never been under the category of a “life-sustaining” organ; therefore, the body puts the hair on the back-burner until it is sure that the body is going to be okay enough to again send nutrients to the hair.

Q: When does hair loss begin?
A: It normally will begin anywhere from one month after surgery and last until about 6 months after surgery. Of course, this can begin during the third month or even extend beyond the sixth month. It varies from person to person.

Q: How much hair is lost?
A: Some will jokingly tell you that they could build a cat out of all the hair they lost, but that is not true. While you will notice some handfuls come out as you wash your hair in the shower, see more than normal in your comb or hairbrush, and perhaps even see some on your pillow when you wake up in the morning — this is nothing to be alarmed over. IT WILL STOP FALLING OUT once the body begins to feel that life is “normal” and it will trust that it’s okay to send nutrients to the hair again. Be patient and know that it DOES STOP in time.

There ARE some TIPS that will help you NOT experience so much hair loss, however…..

DO NOT wear a hat, scarf, head bands, tight barrettes, ponytail holders or anything similar that will pull or tug on the follicles of your hair. Pulling and pushing on the hair weakens it when it is already eager to fall out. Avoid these items for at least the first six months after surgery.

DO NOT stress the hair with hot treatments such as hairdryers, curling irons, or hot rollers. Stand in front of a fan to dry your hair in a hurry and use good hair jells to create some curl if you want. Sprays are okay too. Even hair color is okay IF you do it sparingly rather than the standard automatic every 6 weeks. Try to go 8 weeks in between hair coloring. Perms are a bit more stressful, though some have had success doing them. You’ll have to judge this for yourself as you evaluate this for yourself. You can always be confident in asking your hairdresser about it if you are not sure.

DO TRY a new hair style. As heavy people, we often relied on our hair’s BEST looks to draw attention away from our extra pounds. But as you are losing, people aren’t noticing your hair anymore… they are noticing the pounds falling off, which is a perfect time for you to consider totally changing your hair style IF it will help you manage it better and also keep more of it on your head. Long hair is a heaviness on the head, which does stress and pull at the hair follicles. So perhaps a shorter style would help your delicate hair stay ON the head. Just as your body is experiencing a “makeover”, why not consider your hairstyle as well…. Especially if it will help you KEEP more hair?

DO TRY a product called NIOXIN that you can purchase from your beauty salon. It’s a three-step process of a product that helps cancer patients keep more of their hair as it falls out. It strengthens the follicles. I personally used this product, and I fully believe it helped more of my hair stay attached than what might have happened had I not used it. I noticed a remarkable difference when I used this product. And I can tell you that others also have similar testimonials on this product.

DO TRY to remember that your hair is only falling out temporarily and it will soon STOP and STAY ON again! Some people have experienced that their hair soon becomes healthier than they’ve ever had before! Sometimes the texture even changes…. Sounds FUN, huh? It can be!

BOTTOM LINE: Have a GOOD ATTITUDE about your hair… take care of it, baby it, and you’ll find that you’ll be out of that FALLING OUT Zone shortly! Today’s hairstyles ARE more relaxed, and with the right cut, you’ll look just as glamorous as a celebrity! Don’t despair…. Just know that we’re NOT a group of baldies!!!

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