It may be a famously drastic solution to obesity, but gastric bypass surgery has nonetheless proven itself an effective way of losing weight in thousands of cases. Yet it’s not just pounds and ounces that can be shed by tinkering with the stomach: hair loss is a very real possibility, too.
News agency Reuters has reported on a Danish study in which it was found that almost 90 per cent of 1,429 people who had undergone gastric bypass surgery between 2006 and 2011 had endured at least one unpleasant side-effect.
While most agreed that their overall wellbeing improved after the surgery – in which doctors dramatically shrink the stomach’s capacity to hold food and also reconstruct part of the intestines in order to reduce calorific intake – complaints about gallstones, kidney stones, anaemia and more were manifold.
While the report didn’t go into complaints of excessive shedding, some of the documented side effects, as well as the actual surgery itself, are known to bring on or worsen any existing hair loss conditions, particularly in women.
Hair loss influenced by a poor diet
Before surgery has even begun, hair loss is a risk in overweight patients because thinning hair has close ties to a poor diet. Triggers which can cause increased shedding and leave the hair in a poor condition include malnutrition, a lack of proper hydration and excessive sugar intake. Additionally, obesity can often lead to heart problems and diabetes, all of which can lead to Telogen Effluvium.
When people have a poor diet for a prolonged period of time, the body often becomes starved of important nutrients and in some cases this can lead to longer-term thinning, known as Diffuse Thinning or Chronic Telogen Effluvium.
Whilst this temporary form of hair loss may itself last up to six months, or around twelve months in the case of Chronic Telogen Effluvium, in men or women with an hereditary predisposition towards male or female pattern hair loss, it is possible for this to bring on or speed up the onset of this permanent, genetic condition.
The links between major surgery and hair loss are also well documented. The shock to the body after an operation can also lead to Telogen Effluvium, while there is evidence that rapid weight loss has such a dramatic effect on the body that this, too, can lead to hair thinning and even bring on the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata, which is typically characterised by sudden, patchy hair loss.
Unsurprisingly, the Reuters article states that the Aarhus University doctors who conducted the study now say that the development of new weight loss procedures should be a priority. The medical team say that “alternative methods should concentrate on procedures that would have fewer complications afterwards.”
Don’t lose hair to weight loss
What the findings also point to is that the smartest solution for anyone who wants to lose weight – and keep their hair – is to take a fresh look at their lifestyle.
Smaller portion sizes will eventually lead to more pleasing results when standing on the scales; a balanced diet will maximise chances of hair receiving the essential vitamins and minerals it needs; regular exercise under the guidance of a GP can work wonders for weight control and also for wellbeing, and a doctor can also advise on stress management, body positivity and body confidence – three things that may help negate the desire for drastic surgery and which may also prevent hair loss (stress being a major trigger in many cases).
For anyone already committed to the idea of gastric surgery, dietary supplements such as Belgravia’s Hair Vitalics may help top up any deficiencies in their diet during recuperation. There are also bespoke hair loss treatments that can help deal with any unexpected shedding and our specialists are able to work with your GP or medical team to provide complementary care based on their advice and your needs and suitability.
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.