OMG, my hair is falling out!


Staff member
Okay, mine isn't NOW but losing hair is one of the major concerns of having weight loss surgery.

First off, you can NOT stop the hair on your head preop from falling out. It’s damaged and will fall out. You CAN HELP the new hair coming in.

The process of losing hair is NORMAL in all humans...We have different phases to each hair follicle even at the best of times.

The three stages of hair growth are the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Each strand of hair on the human body is at its own stage of development. Once the cycle is complete, it restarts and a new strand of hair begins to form. The rate or speed of hair growth is about 1.25 centimetres or 0.5 inches per month, or about 15 centimetres or 6 inches per year.

Anagen phase
The anagen phase is known as the growth phase. It begins in the papilla and can last from two to six years.[1][2] The span at which the hair remains in this stage of growth is determined by genetics. The longer the hair stays in the anagen phase, the faster and longer it will grow. During this phase, the cells in the papilla divide to produce new hair fibers, and the follicle buries itself into the dermal layer of the skin to nourish the strand. About 85% of the hairs on one's head are in the anagen phase at any given time.

Catagen phase
Signals sent out by the body determine when the anagen phase ends and the catagen phase begins. The catagen phase, also known as the transitional phase, allows the follicle to, in a sense, renew itself. During this time, which lasts about two weeks, the hair follicle shrinks due to disintegration and the papilla detaches and "rests," cutting the hair strand off from its nourishing blood supply. Ultimately, the follicle is 1/6 its original length, causing the hair shaft to be pushed upward. While hair is not growing during this phase, the length of the terminal fibers increase when the follicle pushes them upward.

Telogen phase
During the telogen, or resting, phase the hair and follicle remain dormant anywhere from 1–4 months. Ten to fifteen percent of the hairs on one's head are in this phase of growth at any given time. The anagen phase begins again once the telogen phase is complete. The preceding hair strand is pushed up and out by the new, growing strand. The process causes the normal hair loss known as shedding.

As WLS patients, we usually enter the telogen phase early...and it is far more than what you normally see...Most of us hit that phase at 3-8 months before our hair returned to it's normal PATTERN. Notice, I did not say normal growth, etc. Many will have their hair change. Mine went from wavy to CURLY! Some go stick straight. And a VERY small percentage stay very thin to the point of needing wigs. But for MOST of us, time will cure it.

The condition is called Telogen effluvium: Telogen effluvium is a scalp disorder characterized by the thinning or shedding of hair resulting from the early entry of hair in the telogen phase (the resting phase of the hair follicle). Emotional or physiological stress may result in an alteration of the normal hair cycle and cause the disorder, with potential etiologies including eating disorders, fever, childbirth, chronic illness, major surgery, anemia, severe emotional disorders, crash diets, hypothyroidism, and drugs. And EACH time you have surgery, the process starts over.

For many of us, the one thing we could do right was our hair. AND we tended to use our hair to hide behind. But thin hair doesn't hide us very well.

What can you do?
Panic? No, it's probably gonna happen so live with it.
NOT have surgery? That leaves us obese.
Or deal with it? That is the best option.

How to deal with it:
  1. Make sure you are as healthy as possible before and after surgery. NOT your hair, YOU. Make sure your protein intake is as high as you can get it. 30 grams daily by 30 days, 60 grams daily by 60 days, 90 grams daily by 90 days and 100 or more daily after that. And those are minimum amounts.
  2. TAKE your vitamins. ALL of them before and in the month or so after, as many as you can to be on a full regimen by 90 days post op. Don't know what you need? See this list.
  3. Embrace your changing hair style. If you've never had shorter hair, try it...shorter styles give the illusion of fullness/thickness.
What is expensive to try but some people swear they help:
Special shampoos
Biotin (all that did for me was grow CHIN hair but others say it works)

But hair loss after WLS is NORMAL, EMBRACE the chance to change!
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Now an Angel in heaven
Protein, protein, protein is all that helped me. As soon as mine starts thinning again, I know I need to add another shake!


Yep, I had long flowing beautiful blond hair. Had surgery and eventually clogged the drain. So I cut it all off into a pixie and have kept it that way. It all grew back but I still keep it in a pixie because I love the way it looks now.


Aug 2017
I blew hair like a husky and got pretty bald up top when I starved myself in my 20's down from 300+.. I blew a lot less hair post VSG because I was a lot more self-aware about nutrition.. it happens.. I have FPB in my fam, so being on mens rogaine foam years prior till now did NOTHING to stop the shed.. Biotin, however rocks for nail growth in high doses, didn't really notice much hair wise.. but then again it's been a long term supp for me. I also blow my coat when I get a high fever, too sick or super-stressed for too long.. I'm like that nervous cat that explodes in a ball of fluff at the vets office.


Well-Known Member
Going through that right now. Except the chin hair, dammit. I just snorted while drinking and reading Jo's post. SOOO attractive!


Aug 2017
You know you're 'blowing your coat' when you drive in the summer with the windows open and see your hairs flying around inside the car.. yes, I'm a shedder.


Well-Known Member
I heard so much about post-surgery hair loss that I went ahead and cut my hair short before surgery. It made life easier after surgery. I have let it grow out a time or two since then, but go back to cutting it short. I have noticed that my hair is thicker and healthier when I am being consistent with my supplements and protein.


Yankee gone south
In the middle of this now. I know I shouldn't let it, but it bothers me immensely. I noticed the massive shedding start around the 6 week mark. I'm 5 months now and the only reason it seems to be slowing is because about 75% has already fallen out and half the length has been cut off. I think I'm going shorter, and hoping this phase comes to an end soon!


Been Around A While
I've gone through this three times since I had WLS. The first time was about 4 months after WLS. The second time was 2.5 years later when I had a hysterectomy. The third time was a few months ago when I had back surgery. As you can see from my avatar I didn't go bald. :)

What did happen after the first time was the hair that grew back was much curlier than ever. I now have to blow dry and flat iron my hair if I don't want curls all over.


Well-Known Member
Between the PCOS, family history (my father's hair has thinned a lot over the past fifteen years), the ponytail, and the rubbing of the strap of my CPAP mask on the back of my head I went into surgery with a quarter sized bald spot on the back of my head. Once the weight loss kicked in I (who literally used to break rubber bands and couldn't wear banana clips because of the weight of my hair) was pulling out handfuls in the shower. One of my favorite moments actually came from a plumber who after cleaning out the drains in my bathroom very seriously asked me if I had cancer...because he pulled so much hair out of the drain. I mourned my hair for a while then like bugirll above embraced the pixie and haven't looked back! It grew back only a little, and I still miss my old thick hair, but I think the trade off (healthy body) was worth it.


Well-Known Member
I never knew about the 30-60-90 rule, but a bariatric floor nurse told me several things I took to heart. One, she said if I wanted to keep my "beautiful hair" (her words, I hated my straight hair all my life) she said I should make sure to get in at least 90 grams of protein every day for LIFE. So I did that, religiously, since day one post op. She also told me if I didn't take my vitamins and calcium, I would die.

I never lost hair in significant, scary amounts. I did try Bosley products because **I** thought my hair was getting sparser near my temples. My hairdresser disagreed. Turns out the hair regrowth stuff works ON ALL BODY PARTS. So when I used it in the down my back. (Already have chin hairs, TYVM). Then, I became allergic to Bosley, in a huge way. Red itchy rash all over that scratching did not help. Lotion made it worse. Good news was I got my money back.

I've always had long hair except for once when I **thought** I would look really cute in a pixie cut. WRONG. I looked like a lesbian, which was not my (or my husband's) intent. I hid until it grew out. Now I keep it long and spiral permed. My daughter, who of course has naturally curly hair, straightens hers. Why would she not?

If I lost all my hair, though, I'd have a selection of wigs. I'd have hot pink, turquoise, and every style they made.


Or ya may not lose any hair like me. I thought it was a given that everyone loses hair with the DS but there are a few others out there that I've come across that haven't lost any hair either.


Staff member
I've always had long hair except for once when I **thought** I would look really cute in a pixie cut. WRONG. I looked like a lesbian, which was not my (or my husband's) intent.
Pre-op, I tried short haircuts...looked like a damned bowling ball with friz!
Or ya may not lose any hair like me. I thought it was a given that everyone loses hair with the DS but there are a few others out there that I've come across that haven't lost any hair either.
That is true, not everyone does but the odds are not in our favor.