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March 31, 2006

Telogen Effluvium kicking in! (WLS Hair Loss)

Hairloss1 I am more than 4 1/2 months Post-op, and I am experiencing one of the most annoying "side effects" of Gastric Bypass... Hair Loss ! I wrote about this a few months ago, but now I am experiencing it on my own head!

I have done an extensive research on this issue, and I ready to share all the tips and tricks I can give you. The pictures you see are my shots from my actual head. I wanted to post them so you can see how it is affecting me.

Now, Hair Loss during WLS is common and you have to expect it, like it or not. You will have this issue. The good news is that it is temporary until your body adapts to the pseudo starvation mode your body is on. So, don't worry so much.

Hairloss2 What is Telogen Effluvium (Hair Loss related to WLS, for the rest of us) ?

At any given time, about 85% to 90% of the hairs on the average person's head are actively growing (the anagen phase) and the others are resting (the telogen phase). Typically, a hair is in the anagen phase for two to four years, then enters the telogen phase, rests for about two to four months, and then falls out and is replaced by a new, growing hair. The average person naturally loses about 100 hairs a day.

In a person with telogen effluvium, some body change or shock pushes more hairs into the telogen phase. Typically in this condition, about 30% of the hairs stop growing and go into the resting phase before falling out. So if you have telogen effluvium, you may lose an average of 300 hairs a day instead of 100.

Telogen effluvium can be triggered by a number of different events, including:

  • Surgery
  • Major physical trauma
  • Major psychological stress
  • High fever or severe infection
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Extreme change in diet
  • Abrupt hormonal changes, including those associated with childbirth and menopause
  • Iron deficiency
  • Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
  • A new medication

Hairloss3 Because hairs that enter the telogen phase rest in place for two to four months before falling out, you may not notice any hair loss until two to four months after the event that caused the problem. Telogen effluvium rarely lasts longer than six months, although some cases last longer.

Although losing a great number of hairs within a short time can be frightening, the condition is usually temporary. Each hair that is pushed prematurely into the telogen phase is replaced by a new, growing hair, so there is no danger of complete baldness. Because hair on the scalp grows slowly, your hair may feel or look thinner than usual for a time, but fullness will return as the new hairs grow in.

Symptoms

If you have telogen effluvium, you'll notice more hair than usual accumulating on your pillowcase, on the shower or bathroom floor and in your hairbrush. Your scalp hair may feel or look less dense than usual. Often, though, the hair loss is subtle, and other people may not notice anything different about your hair.

Expected Duration

Typically, hair loss begins two to four months after the event that triggered the problem, and lasts approximately six months. New hairs begin growing immediately after the hair falls out, but significant growth may not be noticed for several months.

Hairloss4 Prevention

Nothing can be done to prevent most of the types of physical shock that can start telogen effluvium. Some cases may be caused by a poor diet, and these might be prevented by eating a balanced diet that provides enough protein, iron and other nutrients.

Treatment

No treatment for active telogen effluvium has been proven effective.

Some causes of the disorder can be corrected. For example, if you have a poor diet, consult a dietitian to help you balance it. Many times, however, the cause is a specific event in the past, and you can expect that the hair will grow back. In cases where hair growth has not returned to a satisfactory level, your doctor may prescribe minoxidil (Rogaine), a lotion applied to the scalp that stimulates hair growth in some people.

Prognosis

The outlook for telogen effluvium is very good. Most cases run their course within six to nine months, and the hair usually grows back. In some cases, the disorder may last longer. In other cases, not all hairs grow back.

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Comments

Sean

I am currently going through this and it’s very frustrating and embarrassing because it is getting to the point that it is becoming noticeable. Mine was due to dieting. I became a vegetarian and wasn’t paying attention to protein etc. It was all fine and great. My hair was fine January 2006, Feb, March. Then in April I got a fever of 101.6. I haven’t been sick for like 2 years so I’m guessing it may be because of not getting enough protein, nutrition etc. Also I lost like 20 pounds in a month. The morning after the fever when I started feeling better I noticed hair all over my pillow. Which has led me here and of course every where else on the internet searching about Telogen Effluvium. It’s been 6 months almost. I can’t say I notice any hair growing back yet. I do notice very little short hairs that have grown in but I can’t really say. I’ve gone back to meat and making sure I’ve been getting enough protein and nutrition since April 2006. It’s depressing. I’m only 20 years old. Both sides of my family have there hair so I know it’s not genetic. It says when hair falls out; it is a sign of re-growth. But I don’t see any new hairs really. It’s coming up to the 6 month mark this month. So hopefully in the next 3 or so months I will see some changes because it’s getting very irritating and no lie, it sucks. If anyone knows any more info about this, I would appreciate talking to someone.

has anyone experienced full regrowth?

M. W.

I found this information to be very helpful! I am 3 months post-op from Gastric Bypass surgery and my hair has started to thin out A LOT! I was very worried that this would not correct itself but now I realize that it should be okay. I guess I'll just have to live with it for now :(.

Tabi

I really just wanted to thank for writing such a concise and digestible piece on Telogen Effluvium. I am 7 months post-op for a Roux-en-Y and I have been experiencing hair loss for the last 5 months. I had been duly warned before surgery that this was going to happen, however, I was not prepared for the duration of hair loss. This article helped clarify a point that I had read elsewhere and seriously doubted: taking supplements could halt the hair loss process. While biologically it could potentially help, it seemed counterintuitive to me that it would be effective. Your summary of this syndrome reified why supplements would be less than palliative, for me. Thank you.

For the time being, I will just continue to pick the hairs off of my clothes and keep blaming it on some enormous, long-haired animal that I don’t actually own.

Anon

How is your recovery coming along?

Rachie

I am reseaching and think i may have this condition. I caught a very bad case of food poisoning 4 months ago and was unable to eat properly for around 9 days. I had a fever, vomiting and diarrhea and I am on immunosuppresants for a chronic illness. I noticed hair loss around 2 months later. Could this have triggerd TE? Any advice welcome.

Charlie

Thank you for your strong effort to thoroughly explain Telogen Effluvium. I'm not quite sure I have it but this blog plants hope in my heart. I'm only 24 and within the last 6 months I've had rapid hair loss. I initially believed it was just my time to go bald but then realized that baldness does not happen in 6 months. My hair actually looks identical to yours. I'm losing it the exact same way. It completely makes sense to me now. 6 months ago I had a terrible back injury that lasted for weeks where I was losing sensation in my limbs. My girlfriend also broke up with me at that time. That shock must have caused it. Anyways thanks for the info.

michelle

I had about 95% of my stomach removed about 6 months ago due to gastric carcinoid tumors and I also had a gastric bypass. I have lost about 65 pounds since and I have began to notice a lot of hair loss, which thanks to your website, I now attribute to my surgery and poor nutrition. I did not know about this type of hair loss until my researh on the internet, and wish the doctors could have shared this info prior to surgery!

Angie

I have been dealing with hair shedding for a year now. I have lost at least 60% of my hair. I have fine hair but I had a lot of it! It is so thin now that you can see through it (I have long hair, about 18" long). It is very depressing because I look so different and can't do anything with it now because it is so thin and fragile. The shedding is decreasing but I am still losing hair every time I wash it. When will it ever stop falling out? Is it possible that it is still growing all around my head even if I'm still losing some? It is very frustrating!

Angie

I have been dealing with hair shedding for a year now. I have lost at least 60% of my hair. I have fine hair but I had a lot of it! It is so thin now that you can see through it (I have long hair, about 18" long). It is very depressing because I look so different and can't do anything with it now because it is so thin and fragile. The shedding is decreasing but I am still losing hair every time I wash it. When will it ever stop falling out? Is it possible that it is still growing all around my head even if I'm still losing some? It is very frustrating!

sam

im going crazy. i moved to a different country for educational purposes just about 3 months ago. and within the last month i went from a full set of hair to visible thinning on the top of my head. my friends say i look bald. my hair is falling out in chunks everyday. what is happening to me and when will it stop. i need my hair back.

Sara

My son almost 3yr, went through avery bad diet based on rice milk, that happend last year he was about 18 months I noticed month later of that diet a bald patch and hair thinning no nails but I never thought it is the ricemilk or the bad diet in january he started to lose more hair and he was getting sick all the time I did blood test for him his iron calcium and everything else was low,now its october 2007 he is still losing hair but it slowed down and new hair start to appear

maria

i am 26 years old, i started lossing my hair last year it thined a lot but i still had enough hair, just this august i started lossing my hair again til this day. my hair is so very thin i had to cut it short, my hair is easly plucked. when i run my fingers through mr hair it plucks out from the roots. i feel pain in my scalp i cant do a ponytail or a bun cause it hurts my scalp. and im also lossing hair on my eyebrows and eyelashes. my doc said it was te. but she didn't really examine my scalp she just looked at it for a second. well it gets worse each day and i don't know what to do. i honestly don't think it will ever grow back. i really miss my hair (tears)

Sam

Could you post your most recent picture of your hair. I have seen pictures of people with telogen but none after recovery. lol

Sam

Could you post your most recent picture of your hair. I have seen pictures of people with telogen but none after recovery. lol

Rooster Woman

I had a Roux-n-Y gastric bypass 5 months ago. About a month ago I started noticing a significant amount of hair in the shower drain after I'd taken a shower which I do daily. I then checked my hair on my head and noticed a thinning on the crown and on the top of my head. My balding is exactly in the area where you show your hair loss.

I am a woman so went to the store and bought Minoxidil that is made for women and started applying it a few days ago. My question is does Minoxidil help with TE or not. Your information gave me GREAT hope! I have been so depressed and worried about this condition and had envisioned going completely bald and wearing hats and caps the rest of my life (I hate wigs).

I HAVE been getting my 50 to 60 grams of protein daily which my drs. emphasized to me was imperative to avoiding hair loss so was surprised that I started losing hair at 4 months postop. I had never heard of TE.

Your explanation and photos were extremely helpful. I don't know how to thank you for alleviating my stress and giving me much hope that this is a temporary condition. THANK YOU! And if anyone has any comments to post about whether minoxidil helps with the TE kind of hair loss I would really appreciate it. I know minoxidil takes a couple months before you notice a change. I found all the comments interesting and helpful too.

Gregory

My new year's resolution in 2007 was to lose weight. I was 28 years old. My height is 5'9" and I used to weigh around 200 lbs. So over the following four months, I lost 30 lbs, and by April 2007, I weighed even less than 170 lbs. I did this by cutting down my caloric intake to 1500 and exercise 5 days a week.

Something of me that I was really proud of was my hair. My friends were even jealous of my thick, black, and shiny hair. Then, the unthinkable happened. By May 2007, I started noticing that my hair was thinning out fast. Actually, I did not catch it until my friend asked me why my hair thinned out. Then I started realizing that when everytime I touched my head, 10-20 hairs would fall out at once. Not mentioning when how much hair I loss in the shower. I was going like that all summer 2007. By September, I could no longer bear the thought of me going bald, I went to a dermatologist, and she diagnosed that I might have had TE and possibly male-pattern thinning and this would last for a while. I could pretty much rule the latter since to my knowledge no one in my big extended family has gone bald. She also said that if my hair kept thinning out, I should try to use rogaine.

Well, I did see some regrowth, tons of small, baby hair, but they were so thin and fell off so easily. Well, it is January 2008, and my hair is thin as ever. I can't even style my hair anymore to cover up my thinning crown. I am starting my rogaine treatment, and I'll keep you updated. Thank you for your support.

Jennifer

This info was very helpful..wish you all the sucess with your hair and your weight loss..

Ross Palermo

Is ther anyone who has experienced significant hair loss after Gastric Bypass surgery had thier hair restored and if so how long did it take and did they do anything to help restore thier hair. Going to get a WIG soon.

Ross Palermo

Is ther anyone who has experienced significant hair loss after Gastric Bypass surgery had thier hair restored and if so how long did it take and did they do anything to help restore thier hair. Going to get a WIG soon.

ronik

Hi
I am 32 years old. I have been having a problem with my hair. I am feel very sad I have tried some hair products but they have not worked than I search internet and I get herbal hair shampoo. And now my hair is very good.Thanks herbal hair shampoo.

Gloria

I was 214 lb in January 2008, I felt so bad I got that heavy, that I decided to loose weight. I started doing Weight Watchers and after 5 months I lost 45 lb. The problem is that for the last 2 months I've noticed my hair is thinning out and every time I shower I loose a lot of hair. I started using rogaine and I see a lot of small hairs growing up but they look thin. After reading this story makes feel that I have some hope of getting all of my hair back.

richard

“I used to have really good hair till the age of 25 but then suddenly due to some illness I started loosing my hair and I became completely bald. This was the most embarrassing time of my life till the time I got hold of the produced by this company. I used it for like 2 to 3 months continuously and see now I have got my hair back as healthy as ever. Thanks to this amazing make

michelle

I started losing my hair in 07 2 months after weight loss a move and a bad relationship. I didn't worry at first,but it's now fall of 08 and still falling out. My hair was nice it took 7 years to obtain the length and volume. I try not to think about that because its gone but just to balance my hormones so that in 4years I may see improvement and feel attractive again. I remember as I was stressing at night worried about some immature relationship thats now hollow in its existence. I could feel my heart race,lightheaded hot and cold flashes, goose bumps head to toe ignorant never realizing not the norm, and what stress I was allowing to happen to my body. It seems so superficial but the reality is successful people are performing well because they feel good about themselves. So your strength has to come from with in and not dictated by the exterior self. Yes, easier said than done I fight it every time I look in the mirror. when you're on top you feel as though you could never fall, when you're at the bottom it's hard to see the top. There's no respect in disguising melancholy, just to know that its a consequence of life's experiences obtaining growth and being human. Time does allow for recession or healing of wounds, patience is key, and I try. The realist-

benedict

Hi guys & girls, looks like we're in the same boat..

I'm 21 now and I've been losing my hair since 2 yrs ago. I believe it was due to severe stress, my father passed away back then, and soon after that I had a very very very bad relationship problem and as if they were not enough, my boss (I was working back then) seemed so determined to make my life like living hell. Anyway, back then I was under very intense stress and my hair started falling like crazy.

I've suspected that I'm having TE since 2 yrs ago and I've read that it'll grow again by itself, so I didn't do much. However even until now I still haven't seen much improvement in my hair. I don't have pics, but it looks so much like the one posted by the writer of this blog. I'm starting to worry that it'll be like this forever..my hair was very thick before and I really miss them.

I'm just wondering if any of you have recovered and have your hair grown back to *at least* make the scalp not visible anymore? How long did it take? Does any of you have the TE last more than 2 yrs? I'm worried coz they say it'll just take a couple of months, but mine is more than 2 yrs already..and I'm still 21..

Anyway good luck to all of us!

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