Hair loss can happen as a result of surgery. Telogen Effluvium occurs when sudden or severe stress, like surgery, causes an increase in the shedding of the hair. Hair follicles prematurely stop growing and enter into a resting phase. The hair stays in the resting phase for about 3 months after which time a large amount of hair will be shed. Surgery can cause this loss because after the stress of surgery your body compensates by diverting nutrients toward more vital organs. Also, when there is rapid weight loss, losing hair is not uncommon. In most cases the hair loss is temporary and the hair soon recovers.
Hair Loss Prevention Program
Tips for Hair Loss:
- Temporary hair loss is a very real side effect of surgery and it can be a disheartening problem. Hair loss happens due to the way hair follicles grow in cycles and because it takes several months for a hair follicle to grow. The shock of surgery, lower calorie & protein intake, and anesthesia cause the hair follicle to stop growing. Because this may happen any where in the growth cycle you often don’t see the hair loss right after surgery but a few months after surgery.
- Protein intake is extremely important for healing, hair growth and to prevent muscle wasting. After surgery you need 80 gm or more of protein every day. Again while you are going through the weight loss period your body does not care if it loses fat mass or muscle mass. The best way to enhance hair growth, fat mass loss and prevent muscle loss is to get 80 gm or more of protein daily and to exercise daily.
- Multivitamins with minerals every day are also an important supplement because if you are defiant in vitamins and minerals then your body takes the essential vitamins for the general running of your body and doesn’t give the unessential things like hair and nails what they need to grow.
- Nioxin shampoo has been traditionally used by cancer and chemo patients but some GRDS patients have had good luck with it also.
- Biotin tablets or powder are great for healthy hair, skin, and nails. 600-1000 mcg daily and can be found at most health food, vitamin or beauty supply store. Also assist the body in turning fat mass into usable energy.
- Folicure tablets and shampoo can also help. They can be found at Sally’s Beauty Supply.
- Zinc 50mg tablets every other day for no more than a month. Zinc blood levels can get too high after this period of time. Zinc can interfere with iron absorption at higher levels. Zinc helps with protein synthesis and collagen formation (both ingredients for hair growth). Inactivity can lower the body’s levels of zinc another reason why exercise is important.
By Carolyn M.
Please note that following this program will not mean you won’t lose ANY hair. It just minimizes your hair losses. I did lose hair myself, although I was the only one who noticed. And you have to do all three parts, and you have to do them as described. The zinc and selenium won’t do much good if you aren’t getting in enough fluid and protein. I know it’s a struggle to get in this much fluid and protein at first, but persevere. You can get the fluid in if you sip, sip, sip all day long. You can get the protein in if you use protein shakes and supplements as necessary. And it is untrue that you can only absorb a limited amount of protein at one time. You absorb 50% of what you take in, period, whether you take in 30 grams or 90 grams at a time.
So here’s the program:
1. Make sure you get at least 60 grams of protein every day beginning as soon as you get out of the hospital. Use shakes until you can get enough food. Build up to 80-100 grams when you can. Rationale: Protein is essential for hair growth and hair that doesn’t grow falls out.
2. Force the fluids. At least 64 oz a day the first week or two then bump it up to 80-100 oz per day. Rationale: Fluids flush out the ketones your body makes when burning fats. Ketones are toxic to rapidly dividing cells like the hair follicles.
3. Beginning the first week after surgery, add 100mg of Zinc and 200 mcg of Selenium to your supplements. Crush these tablets for the first 3 months to guarantee absorption. Rationale: These mineral support the telogenic (resting) phase of hair growth.
Biotin supplements may also help, some swear by them. Nothing you put ON your hair from the outside will do anything to prevent loss, although it may plump up the individual strands and make your hair seem thicker. Topical emulsions don’t usually penetrate the scalp to the level of the hair follicles–Minoxidil is an exception to this general rule.
For more information on Telogen Effluvium:
For more information on Hair Loss:
Central Valley Bariatrics PDF on Hair Loss