Telogen Effluvium kicking in! (WLS Hair Loss)
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.
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:
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.