My body has gone through a lot of changes since surgery. One of the toughest things for my self image has been the hair loss. I’m not going bald by any means, and I know that it could be a lot worse…but I really don’t like how much scalp I’m showing these days.
There are a few reasons why hair loss happens after surgery. It can be a result of the trauma of surgery, from the anesthesia, or from nutritional deficiencies. For most people, there is a delay of 2-9 months before the thinning occurs. I started noticing it around the 3 month mark. At 5 months, it’s even more pronounced. Also, the texture of my hair has changed. It’s less shiny and more coarse.
Everytime I brush my hair, or run my fingers through my hair, I have strands come loose. The loss appears even more dramatic with my hair being so long (about halfway down my back). If I run my hand across a surface (such as my bed or desk at work), the stray hairs are there too. The most breakage and loss happens near the front of my head, so I’ve had to find creative ways to part my hair and pin my bangs so it’s less noticeable.
There’s no magic cure for the hair loss, but I’ve upped my protein intake, started taking biotin, and switched to higher quality, less damaging hair products. I have been heat-styling less, which means it’s up in a loose bun most days. I avoid tight ponytails so I don’t lose extra hair from the elastics.
One of the common debates I hear about weight loss surgery is health vs vanity/beauty. My primary reason for having weight loss surgery was to improve my health, but there definitely was an element of vanity to it. Of course I want to appear more trim and attractive. But I feel conflicted about complaining about my hair loss because it IS vain. I’d rather have thin hair and a healthy body, but it is a tough adjustment.
Luckily, almost all post-operative hair loss will improve after time. As tempted as I’ve been to grab a box of Minoxidil at the drug store, I know I need to be patient with my body and wait it out. Unless I point it out, most people don’t notice the hair loss….but they do notice the 85 pounds I’ve lost.