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Hair loss after weight loss surgery? Here's what causes it and this is what you do about it

Hair loss after weight loss surgery is unfortunately a common condition that you don't want.

Imagine this. It's a few months after your surgery. You're already noticing some subtle changes. You notice that you are less hungry. You're already more accustomed to eating small amounts. Every day, exercising is a little easier. Before you know it, the weight starts coming off. You feel good and the reflection in the mirror makes you feel more and more confident. Yet there is something that worries you. Your hairbrush is fuller than usual. It seems like you're losing hair.... 

About 57% of people with weight loss surgery suffer from hair loss. What causes hair loss? And more importantly, can you prevent it? 

The cycle of hair growth

To understand what causes hair loss, it is helpful to know how your hair grows. Each hair cycle has 3 phases: 

  • Anagenic phase (growth phase) 
  • Catagenic phase (transition phase) 
  • Telogen phase (resting phase) 


Each hair follicle goes through these 3 phases, but at its own pace. As a result, your hairs don't all fall out at the same time. A stomach reduction disrupts the hair growth cycle. This leaves 10 to 15% of your hair in the resting phase. Normally, during this phase, your hair makes place for new hair follicles. If you suffer from hair loss after your surgery, the new hair follicles are temporarily not working. As a result, new hair does not grow.

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What causes hair loss after weight loss surgery?

Hair loss after weight loss surgery can occur due to any of the following factors:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Stress, for example due to surgery and anesthesia
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies


Hair loss occurs in part due to a deficiency of zinc, iron, folic acid or protein. Bariatric surgery causes you to lose weight because you eat less. But it also means that you take in and absorb fewer nutrients. And food is the main source of essential vitamins and minerals. You need these to function properly every day. 

After surgery your body is working hard to lose weight. The nutrients you do get, your body puts into the most important body functions. This means that other processes are slowed down. Like the growth and quality of hair and nails. 

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What can you do to prevent hair loss?

Hair loss is annoying. An unpleasant experience you don't want to have. Fortunately, there is also good news. Hair loss after weight loss surgery is often temporary, if you take the right steps. The first step towards reducing the risk begins weeks before the surgery. 

Many people who are overweight or obese have vitamin and mineral deficiencies, due to an unhealthy diet for example. Therefore, it is essential to supplement any deficiencies before the surgery. This better prepares you for the surgery and also reduces the risk of deficiencies after the surgery, which will have a lasting impact on your health.   

Besides hair loss, vitamin and mineral deficiencies before surgery can lead to other symptoms, like fatigue, low immune function, joint pain or fertility problems. To minimize these symptoms including hair loss, you can do the following:  

Before surgery:


After surgery:

  • Take multivitamins every day tailored to your surgery. Use them not only in the months after surgery but for the rest of your life
  • Drink protein shakes to help your body recover and retain muscle
  • Eat healthy and varied and choose foods rich in zinc, protein and calcium

Last but not least, relax. Stress causes your body to produce more cortisol hormones. And that can make hair loss worse. So try not to worry too much. Hair loss after gastric bypass is often temporary. Follow the steps from this blog and you are already on the right path to healthy and strong hair! 

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Multivitamins before and after surgery

FitForMe develops science-based multivitamins for people with gastric bypass surgery. Before surgery, you should start with WLS Start to properly prepare your body. What makes WLS Start special is the high dose of zinc. Zinc contributes to maintaining healthy hair. After surgery you should take multivitamins tailored to your type of surgery, so you get what you need to stay healthy. 

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