If you have recently lost a large amount of weight then the type of hair loss you may be experiencing is known as Telogen Effluvium – also known as diffuse hair loss. That is, your hair is thinning out all over your head.
In order to understand the reason for this hair loss you first need to know about the hair growth cycle.
Our hair goes through three phases: the growth phase (anagen), the resting phase (catagen) and the falling phase (telogen).
Most of our hair is in the growth phase at any one time and for most of us the hair growth phase can last up to two years. Then, at the same time, anywhere from about 5-15% of our hair is transitioning into the resting phase. This resting phase can last from one to six months with the average being around 3-4 months. When the hair starts to grow again, the resting hair will fall out. So in the normal course of events, we will lose up to about 100 hairs a day.
This normal cycle happens without you being aware of it – until something interrupts the flow.
When the body is stressed by surgery, illness, changes in diet, hormones and even emotional stress, your body has to make some alterations for survival. Hair growth is one of the casualties. When the body is in a stressful period, it puts a halt on the hair growth phase.
Once more hairs than usual are prevented from growing, they enter into the resting phase where they remain for a few months until they fall out. It is for this reason that this type of hair loss often occurs some 3-4 months after the episode that caused it.
There can be a number of reasons that bariatric surgery and rapid weight loss can cause hair loss; it could be the shock on the body of the surgery itself, a lower intake of protein (protein is required for hair growth), nutritional imbalances such as a lack of certain vitamins or possibly just the temporary disruption to your body’s normal physiology.
It is important to NOT suddenly increase your protein intake thinking it will help with your hair growth, because this can seriously interrupt your weight loss. Equally it is important to make sure you DO take the vitamin supplements that you have been prescribed, as these do help to minimize the effect of a smaller diet on your body.
This kind of hair loss following extreme weight loss and in particular bariatric surgery causing extreme weight loss is common in both men and women and across all races.
The good news is that it is very likely that it will come back unless you have another underlying cause such as genetics, a hormonal imbalance or another chronic disease.
In the meantime there are a few things you can do:
- Try not to worry too much about it, putting your body under more stress
- Make sure you keep to the dietary instructions you have been given.
- Take your vitamins as prescribed
- Get your blood checked for deficiencies in iron, zinc and B vitamins (note: do not put yourself on these without first checking with your physician because an over-supply of these is also dangerous to your health).
- Consider an instant shake in volumiser such as BOOSTnBLEND. This can reduce your stress levels as your hair will instantly look up to ten times thicker and that worry can be gone.
You can buy BOOSTnBLEND here for Australia and NZ