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  • Susan Peacock

The A C T's of Hair Growth and Loss.

The thought of hair loss is gruesome for men and women. For those who have had bariatric surgery hair loss has been associated as a possible side effect of the surgery.

My patients are always concerned, as would be expected about their hair. Knowing about hair growth helps them calm their fears and do the right thing.

We all have about 150,000 strands of hair on our head and we are shedding all the time. Shedding to the tune of 50-100 strands per day. Goodness knows, just check the shower drain!

Our hair grows in cycles: The first called anagen when the growth begins. Catagen where changes occur and the follicles shrink, and last is telogen where the hair is shed.

All hair strands are not created equal. About 90% of our hair is in the anagen phase and 10% is in the catagen or telogen phases. This way we always have hair on our head, and some loss to make way for new strands.

However many factors can contribute to loss of hair when the change from anagen to telogen, (referred to as: Telogen effluvium), occurs quickly and you have more hair loss than growth. During times such as hormonal imbalance, extreme stress, nutritional deficiencies, autoimmune disorders, severe infection, medications, surgical trauma, pregnancy or chronic illness you can experience hair loss.

With the gastric bariatric patient hair loss can occur 3-5 months after surgery, but does not always occur. I have had patients who have never experienced any loss of hair after bariatric surgery.

If you do experience hair loss it usually is due to the stress of surgery and the quick weight loss.

The good news is that if you start losing more hair than usual after surgery, it will grow back. And the rate of your normal hair loss will return. To help prevent hair loss make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet as well as taking the vitamins and minerals to avoid any nutritional deficiencies.

In our next Newsletter we will discuss how much protein and what kind of vitamins you need to have successful weight loss surgery and to help avoid hair loss.

You may or may not be affected by hair loss after your surgery. Preparing yourself with a holistic approach about your bariatric surgery and weight loss is important for each patient. You are all individuals when it comes to changes, issues and concerns. Here is to happy and healthy weight loss.

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