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Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

We lose hair naturally every day. You will see this when you brush your hair or when you're taking a shower. However, after surgery, you may begin to experience more than the typical hair shedding between 3 to 6 months after surgery. 

When your body goes through something stressful, like bariatric surgery, protein and nutrients that you eat are used for the most important functions in the body. This should not last longer than 6 months, and you will begin to see some “baby hairs” growing back. 

What Exactly Happens to Your Hair?

Our hair is always in one of two phases, the growth phase or the rest phase. About 5-15% of hair is always in the rest phase, which lasts for about 1 to 6 months. These are the hairs you typically shed. 

When someone experiences a stressor like surgery, more hair can enter the resting phase. In other words, you will experience more hair shedding than normal. This is why you can experience more shedding around that 3-6 month time frame after surgery. 

But don’t worry, your hair will grow back! It just may take some time.

How Do I Minimize Hair Loss?


Achieve Your Protein Goal

Make sure that you are eating 3 meals each day that have 3 ounces of high protein foods at each meal. This will give you about 60 grams of protein from food. Using protein supplements is helpful in guaranteeing you are reaching your minimum protein goal of 60 or 80 grams each day. 

Eat 800-1200 Calories Daily

Eating 3 high protein meals each day is important in helping you get enough calories every day. However, 1 Tablespoon of healthy fats should be incorporated at meals as well. Don’t forget this part! When you are only able to eat small portions, healthy fats can give you close to 100 calories in 1 tablespoon.

Take Your Vitamins, EVERY DAY. 

Vitamin deficiencies can make hair loss much worse. If taking bariatric multivitamins, we recommend taking 1 tablet per day for the Sleeve Gastrectomy, 2 tablets per day for the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, and 3 tablets per day for the Loop or Standard Duodenal Switch and Revision surgeries. Don’t forget to take your Calcium Citrate 500mg 2-3 times each day for bone health as well.

Take Extra Biotin (5,000 mcg daily)

Biotin is known to stimulate keratin production in the hair and speed up hair growth, especially when a deficiency is present. 

Be Gentle With Your Hair

Try to brush your hair gently and avoid tight hairstyles like ponytails and buns for a long time. There are great hair ties and accessories that help reduce breakage like silk scrunchies and silk night caps. Also, try to limit hot styling tools or use them less frequently. Blow dryers usually have a low or medium heat setting available. 

Shampoos and Conditioners

If you’re curious about hair shampoos and conditioners that help repair, strengthen or grow your hair, read reviews and also talk with a hair stylist you trust about options they recommend. A few popular brands in the blogging world include Nexxus Keraphix, Olaplex, and Kerastase (we have no affiliation with these companies).

Bottom line, no one can guarantee that you won’t experience any hair shedding following bariatric surgery, since this is a natural process you experience every day. But there are a few steps to take to help reduce the severity.

Katie Ott, MS, RD

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