Gastric bypass is a serious operation that is used to help obese people lose weight in a relatively short period of time. The operation can vary, but generally involves the stomach being separated into two ‘pouches,’ a smaller upper pouch and a larger ‘remnant’ pouch, before the small intestine is connected to both. This means that there is a marked reduction in the functional volume of the stomach of around 90%.
Because of the fact that it is a major operation, and therefore complications are a risk, only those who are morbidly obese are eligible for the weight loss surgery, which can save lives. The same is true of gastric sleeve surgery. The aim is to stabilise weight loss at a considerably lower weight and maintain it there. As well as more serious side effects such as haemorrhage and bowel obstruction, nutritional deficiencies can result from the reduction in food intake.
Nutritional deficiencies can cause hair loss in women the form of diffuse thinning (where hair loss is even across the scalp, as supposed to patchy loss) and there are many different types of deficiency. Possible deficiencies include secondary hyperthyroidism due to inadequate absorption of calcium, iron deficiency, zinc deficiency, Vitamin B12 and A deficiencies and protein malnutrition. A blood test can often establish the exact deficiency, and once this has been addressed hair should regrow.
For those worried about not getting enough hair-friendly nutrients, the dietary supplement Hair Vitalics contains a wide range of minerals and vitamins for healthy hair growth. Belgravia’s carefully formulated supplement also contains ingredients such as saw palmetto, which may help prevent hair loss.
Shock to the System
Another way in which gastric bypass surgery can cause hair loss is short term loss on account of the shock to the system that occurs after an operation, which is known as telogen effluvium. Again, this sort of loss generally causes diffuse thinning over the top and sides of the scalp.
Because the body considers hair as a non-essential system, when it is under pressure it reroutes its resources away from the hair and to more essential functions. This causes hair to prematurely enter the resting (telogen) stage of the cycle from the anagen, or growth stage. After three months, the hair will shed, and this delay means that it is often unexpected and people may fail to realise the cause.
For women who experience hair loss that does not regrow within a year of their operation, it’s important to establish the cause in order to know whether the hair loss itself needs to be treated. Telogen effluvium that isn’t growing back fully can be treated using a hair loss treatment plan that contains the only medication licensed or approved by the MHRA and the FDA (the UK and US medical regulatory bodies) minoxidil.
Minoxidil is a topical treatment that stimulates hair growth, even in areas where miniaturisation on account of female pattern hair loss (genetic hair loss) has occurred, as long as some degree of hair is still growing. Available in a variety of formulations, high strength minoxidil is particularly effective for stubborn thinning and a hair loss specialist can recommend the best solution for you, based on the type and severity of your hair thinning.
Minoxidil is used as part of a hair loss treatment programme, which involves hair growth boosters such as the FDA cleared LaserComb. Combined with close monitoring by your dedicated hair loss specialist and relaxing clinical treatment therapy, a home use treatment programme is quick to administer and can achieve brilliant regrowth results.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.