Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gastric Bypass and Hair Loss

Dale as newborn.jpg

Easy for the Bobblehead to speak, he always had hair!

One of the possible side effects of weight loss surgery, especially those that are malabsorption in nature (i.e., gastric bypasses such as duodenal switch), is possible hair loss.

Hair in humans is mainly cosmetic in appearance. So, when your body starts to starve itself by not getting enough calories, especially proteins and fats, the body is smart enough to shift the limited nutrition to vital functions. Hair follicles, not vital. Your hair can fall out.


OK, relax now. Actually, fall out is usually an over reach. Thin is more like it.

My hair thinned for the first 9 months. Bobblehead always had a good head of hair. See my baby picture. Darn, I was cute. But it was strange seeing my hair come out in the shower and on the pillow. I never noticed any bald spots and usually kept my hair very short anyhow, a crew cut or flat top. But it did thin some.

So did my other WLS friends.

But the good news is that I never had anyone tell me it was devastating. Again, usually noticed only by the person who had the hair loss.

And, about 9 months after surgery it stopped. My body started its long term adjustment and I absorbed enough protein. My hair was and continues to be fine.

As does everyone's.

Right before my surgery, a number of us drove from the Atomic City to Albuquerque to a WLS surgery support group to talk about duodenal switch versus RnY. There was a very heavy Hispanic woman in her 50s. Her biggest concern? Not death, bleeding out, heart failure, dumping, scars, fatigue, etc. You got it. Hair loss. Wow, I was stunned. I went through this WLS for my health and family, not for vanity. I had no response.

WLS surgery is scary enough as it is. Do not let this bother you.

To put things in perspective, a friend of mine has his wife in a precarious position. She survived lymphoma 20 years ago. Recently she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is on massive chemotherapy. Major hair loss including her eye brows and eye lashes. She keeps on going. Strong.

Credit where it is due: I read a much more complete article on this topic in a fellow WLS blogger's site. Go read her post: Gastric Bypass Surgery Truth. It is a really good blog from a woman with a great perspective and sense of humor. She is on my "must read" blog roll. Tell her Bobblehead sent you.

Lastly, one of the side effects of the Proglycem I am taking for my hypoglycemia is, hair growth! Especially on the backs of my hands and my forehead. I have not seen any. Great, I might become a hairy Bobblehead...

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]