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Why Tiger Woods’ Back Surgery May Worsen His Thinning Hair

Professional golfer Tiger Woods has won 14 major championships, the second most in the sport’s history. However, multiple scandals and injuries have blighted his otherwise legendary career.

In April 2017 he underwent surgery on his back for the fourth time. Unfortunately the stresses of medical procedures can sometimes lead to hair loss, not the best news for Woods who has openly discussed his experiences with a receding hairline.

Tiger Woods Thinning Hair Receding HairlineHair loss following surgery

The golfer had his first back surgery in 2014 for a pinched nerve; he had two more operations in 2015 and another in 2017.

When talking to CBS Sports, Woods explained his back issues became so bad that he had to use a golf club as a crutch when getting out of bed. In a video uploaded to the BBC Sport website, the 42 year old labelled himself a “walking miracle” following his most recent procedure, which allowed him to participate at the 2018 Masters tournament.

His evident, and self-confirmed Male Pattern Baldness diagnosis aside, Woods’ frequent brushes with surgery indicate he is at a higher risk of contracting a further hair loss condition.

Telogen Effluvium is a temporary condition which affects the hair growth cycle; it premature forces follicles into the resting – or telogen – phase, leading to diffusely thinning hair from all over the scalp. It can be triggered by severe stress or a sudden shock to the body, including that brought on by surgery or chronic pain.

CBS Sports reported how Tiger Woods touched on his struggles with pain medication during a 2017 press conference. The heavy overuse of painkillers – as well as the regular use of various prescription medications – can also cause hair loss as a side effect. This is also due to Telogen Effluvium though should it present for more than six months, this persistent form of the condition is known as Diffuse Thinning or Chronic Telogen Effluvium. Regular Telogen Effluvium takes around three months post-trigger to appear, it will normally clear up naturally within up to six months, though treatment is available to help expedite this process.

The sportsman’s undoubtedly draining experiences with surgery may also have caused him prolonged psychological stress – yet another trigger of Diffuse Thinning.

Exacerbates thinning hair

Given his existing Male Pattern Baldness, these types of strain – and any additional Telogen Effluvium – may have had negative consequences for Woods’ rate of shedding. This is because additional stressors placed upon the body – mentally or physically – sufficient to cause Telogen Effluvium, can speed up the rate of hair fall in cases of genetic hair loss.

It is entirely possible for both conditions to present simultaneously. For Woods, this would mean the areas affected by Male Pattern Hair Loss becoming, at least temporarily, thinner than usual, with additional hair fall being seen from the back and sides of the scalp – the areas unaffected by DHT.

Since winning his first major tournament in 1997 Woods has gradually been experiencing thinning on top and a receding hairline – typical signs of permanent, hereditary hairloss.

He has been forthcoming when talking about his condition, telling Fox Sports in a 2014 interview regarding getting older: “I’m comfortable with it; my hairline’s not. I have a nice skylight [at home] and, if I don’t wear a hat, I can feel the heat”.

He even joked about losing his hair in his arrest video when he was taken in for being found asleep at the wheel.

Hair restoration

Male Hair Loss treatment, which makes use of MHRA licensed and FDA approved drugs that come in the form of a tablet and a topical solution, can be used to help stabilise shedding, promote regrowth and prevent baldness. At Belgravia these are often used in tandem with hair growth boosters, to ensure every treatment course is highly targeted to the needs of each individual client.

These supporting products and therapies range from devices – such as the FDA-cleared, LLLT-emitting HairMax LaserComb – to premium nutritional supplements: Belgravia’s exclusive Hair Vitalics for Men food supplement contains a range of botanical extracts, amino acids, minerals and vitamins, including biotin, zinc and selenium which help to support healthy hair growth.

For those who have experienced hair loss following surgery, or simply prolonged excessive hair thinning, it may be worthwhile having a scalp assessment with a professional hair loss specialist. They can then provide a diagnosis and recommend a bespoke treatment course to treat single or multiple conditions at once.


circ - Belgravia Centre hair loss clinic London pharmacy hairloss treatmentsThe 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.


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