Baricol / News Archive / Why do I have hair loss after WLS, and what can I do about it?

Why do I have hair loss after WLS, and what can I do about it?

Hair loss is one of the things that people dread the most after bariatric surgery. It’s also quite common, affecting almost 60% of patients.  What makes it worse is that you never know who will experience it or how intense it will be.  However, a recent study found a few common characteristics among those who have hair loss.  Read below to find out what they are and what - in some cases - you can do about them!

1. Low levels of certain vitamins and minerals

Low levels of Folic Acid (Folate), Zinc, and Ferritin are related to hair loss after WLS.  Ferritin is a measure of how much Iron is stored in your body.  To reduce your risk of hair loss, make sure you are taking the vitamins and minerals needed for life bariatric surgery, like those found in Baricol Complete.  If you have not had surgery yet,  you may want to talk with your doctor about checking your vitamin and mineral status (iron and ferritin in particular) so that you can boost them up if needed before surgery.

2. Low protein intake after WLS

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 1,000 times – get your protein! Low protein intake means more hair loss, so aim for at least 80g of protein/day.  This typically means making including protein with every meal and snack.  You can even track this on our BariBuddy App!

3. Increased stress levels

The stress of the surgery and rapid weight loss can provoke hair loss, and so can the stress of daily life.  We all know that we should try to reduce our stress levels, and this is just one more example of why.  So remember, take breaks, go for a stroll, meditate, exercise, get enough sleep, ask for help when you need it, etc., etc. – but don’t stress about it!

4. Being a Women 

Sorry, my fellow females, women tend to have more hair loss than men. This could be for a number of reasons:

  • Women often have longer hair than men (not always of course!) which means they need more “scalp support” to hang onto the hair they have.
  • Women may report hair loss more often than men
  • Men may have already experienced hair loss before surgery. This was not part of the study* that we read, but something to consider.
  • Women may have more issues with vitamins and minerals, such as iron and ferritin levels in particular.  This also wasn’t part of the study,* but wouldn’t be surprising

While hair loss can be unwelcome and even stressful and upsetting,  it will grow back! Most of the time, hair loss starts around 3 months after surgery and ends around the 9-month mark. The best things you can do before, during, and after this time to help reduce your hair loss is to make sure you are taking your bariatric vitamins and minerals, eating your protein, and finding ways to reduce your day-to-day stress.  And during the time when your hair may become thinner than you like, many patients cope with it by trying out new looks with wigs, wearing fun hats, and celebrating when those little baby hairs start showing up!  It’s all part of the journey, and you’re not alone!

*To learn more about this, click here to read the study!