Well… let’s rephrase the question: Why do patients experience hair loss after LAP-BAND® surgery?
The answer is simple and also not scary. First, Dr. McEwen and his team understands how important hair is. It’s strongly connected to our personality and self-esteem so the fear of losing any amount of hair is terrifying! To anyone, men or women! So understanding the reasons why patients experience hair loss is more important than worrying about the “will I really lose my hair”. The better one understands, the better one can take preventative measures to minimize hair loss.
Lauren Harrison, Dr. McEwen’s registered dietitian, educates that “it is important to know that those who undergo gastric sleeve or gastric bypass procedures are much more likely to experience hair loss than those who have the Lap Band procedure,” because of the rapid weight loss our body directs nutrients and vitamins towards more important organs, like our brain, hurt, lungs, etc. The great news is that LAP-BAND® patients experience a gradual weight loss, minimizing the amount of hair loss. The other great news, to all bariatric patients is that this hair loss is temporary (similar to hair loss post pregnancy) and as long as your nutrients are back to a normal your hair growth should be too.
The following 4 tips are provided by an essential member of YOUR LAP-BAND® weight loss journey at Community Surgery Center Hamilton, Lauren Harrison. Her experience, education and passions towards helping patients achieve their dream goal weight is always available to Dr. McEwen patients. Read along and let us know what you think:
Tip #1: Protein, Protein, Protein!! Our program emphasizes the need for protein from the initial appointment throughout the duration of the band. Protein is the building block of all cells, including the cells that make up your hair. Failing to meet our recommendation of 60g/day minimum per day could leave you with thinning hair as well as less satiety. Make sure you consume lean protein foods at each and every meal. This includes skinless chicken, lean red meat, grilled/baked fish, low fat string cheese and cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, beans, protein bars, chia seeds, and flax. If you are a vegetarian, it is important to pair different vegetarian protein options at each meal to supply all of the necessary amino acids. Examples include beans and peas, quinoa, chia seeds, and soy.
Tip #2: Take your vitamins! Think of your daily vitamins as medications. They are essential to avoiding nutrient deficiencies and providing the B-vitamins needed to keep your hair healthy and full. Many nutrient deficiencies can lead to hair loss. Taking your chewable bariatric multiple vitamin consistently starting at 2 weeks before surgery will help prevent hair loss and fatigue associated with low nutrient status.
Tip #3: Iron Matters: Have your iron levels checked if you are still losing hair at 7 months after surgery. Iron is the micronutrient most frequently related to hair loss. Ferritin levels are indicative of iron storage in the body and low ferritin levels are commonly associated with hair loss. Ask your dietitian or PCP to check your ferritin levels if you think yours may be low. Symptoms of iron anemia include fatigue, pale skin, weakness, and inability to regulate body temperature. Iron rich food sources include: red meat, egg yolks, dark leafy greens, beans/peas/legumes, iron-enriched cereals. Include a vitamin C rich food when eating foods high in iron and the iron will be absorbed better.
Tip #4: If you’ve tried tips 1-3 and you are still losing hair then consider adding additional Zinc to your diet. Zinc is an important factor for the growth and development of healthy hair. Be sure to speak with your Dietitian or MD before starting a Zinc supplement as excessive amounts of Zinc can cause serious side effects. Oysters, red meat, and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet. Other nutrients associated with hair health include vitamin A, folate, B-6 and essential fatty acids. Hair loss can also be caused by systemic diseases, including thyroid disease and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and is influenced by genetics.
These tips will help LAP-BAND® patients prevent hair loss while being active on a healthy regimen. Remember, we’re here for you so call our office at 317-621-2500 for questions or more information.
Want more inspiration? Follow our socials for a closer look at life with he LAP-BAND® team!