Hair Loss And Regrowth After Gastric Bypass

dyeing hair after gastric bypassMy body has changed in so many ways in the last 14 months. My whole-body size is different. My skin is different. My nails are different. And my hair is different.

Last summer, I was really freaking out about hair loss. I had been warned before surgery that the hair loss would come, and it started being very noticeable around 4 months post-op. Last summer I was in a bit of an emotional funk, and the hair loss was part of it.  So many things about my body were changing, and I my body felt a little out of control.

I tried to combat the hair loss with upping my daily protein intake and taking biotin pills.  But the damage was already done. Anesthesia from surgery is traumatic for your body, and there’s no way to counteract the way that your hair follicles will handle it. Even with extra protein and biotin, the breakage and hair loss was out of my control for several months. Biotin helps initiate new hair growth…which I noticed on less-desirable places on my body (like my thighs, neck, chin, etc). I felt fuzzy everywhere…but the regrowth on my head finally started.

after dying hair blackNow 14 months post-op, a lot of my regrowth is wispy, but long enough to style in with the rest of my hair. But, what I’ve noticed. I have a regimen with shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, leave in conditioner, detangler, and heat protectant. I can make it look pretty good, but it’s not at healthy as it was pre-op.

It’s changed in these ways:

  • Curl: It’s stripped out almost all of my natural curl. If I let it air dry, I’ll get some wave to it, but I think the days of scrunch-and-go are over
  • Texture: My hair feels more coarse, and the regrowth is either baby fine or crazy thick and wiry
  • Thickness: I don’t have thin patches anymore, but I have about 1/3 less hair than before surgery
  • Color: It’s lighter than it was before surgery. It’s gone from being stark raven black to just dark brown. Some areas, like right around my hairline, are very light…with almost a blonde sheen to them. My grays are more wiry and noticeable.

I’m vain, so I think I’ll be coloring my hair from now on.


  1. Monique Jarrell says:

    I think you look beautiful!

  2. 1 month pre-op and sooo scared of this. It’s still worth it, yes?

    • Nicole Bullock says:

      I think it was worth it for me. I’d rather be healthier overall and have thinner hair. But it’s been more emotional than I expected.

      • Agreed. I know I have a lot of emotion tied to my hair–for many years it has been the only thing about my physical appearance I really loved. My husband had surgery (sleeve) about 6 months ago–and he is going through the emotions on this one too, so it isn’t just ties to long and lovely locks! I appreciate your blog!

  3. Ugh. I can SOoooo relate. The whole hair loss thing seriously was upsetting to me and honestly it still throws me for a loop!

  4. I’m more than a year and a half out from WLS, and my hair is back to normal. Although, my gray hair is wiry, but I think that is normal for gray hair. I don’t have a lot of it, so I’m not sure.

    I have pretty thick hair, and it is also naturally wavy (gets curlier when it gets shorter). I was so happy that my hair has returned to normal. 🙂

  5. I just has the sleeve and before surgery I already had thin hair now I’m afraid of how much I will lose now 🙁 ty for sharing

  6. I am 4 1/2 months out of surgery and have almost lost all of my hair. I too was told this could happen but I hoped it wouldn’t happen to me. It’s super emotional and I do get sad about it. Hopefully the hair will come back, as for now, I am wearing a wig.

    • I am also losing my hair in huge amounts daily. I had my surgery in November. Then 2 weeks after I was in intensive care with pneumonia. 2 weeks after that I passed out and broke both knees, my right leg and ankle. 10 days in the hospital then. Then in January I had surgery on my ankle and 10 days in a convalescent hospital. I just got a walking cast only to have it cut into my big toe. So now no cast and back on bed rest. I have lost 100 pounds and have not lost any weight in 2 weeks which I attribute to not being able to get any exercise. I too am wearing a wig everywhere I go. My husband told me he loves me for what is in my head not on it. So for now I will cut off what is left of my long hair, take my vitamins and wear a wig!

  7. Sue – if you have lost almost ALL your hair, change your diet, you need to get more protein into your system and take the Biotin. My doctor said I can take about 10,000 units a day of the biotin and I never miss a day of it. I am 8 months post-op – my hair is starting to grow back but will take forever to get where I need it to be. I lost a little over half of my hair thickness.

  8. I’m having the gastric sleeve surgery in 2 weeks. I have a flood of different emotions. One of them being that I hope I can finally get pregnant after this and the other one is losing my hair. Thank you for sharing your struggles. It really helps me put things in perspective.

  9. Alina Beckwith says:

    I had WLS ( gastric sleeve) in October 2012, and I always, and I mean my whole life, had full, thick long wavy hair. Not so much anymore, I went thru a stage where I was loosing piles of it, now it is growing back but still not in the front. Plus I am still loosing hair which is normal but when I scratch my scalp and see the new baby hairs coming out, and my part is getting bigger, not smaller- it’s not an easy thing to see. I haven’t taken any supplements but did use Mane and Tail for about 3 months, it helped with not loosing hair and it was very shiny but stripped all the color. Which I have grays from having a baby in 2009, I am only 29! I don’t want to look old, so I have to dye my hair but I need to do something to help the growth. I have a friend who’s daughter lost alot of hair from medications and she was going thru the same thing as me, she started using Ovation Cell therapy and in 3 months her part had grown in , in one month she had noticable baby hairs around the front of her head. Plus she used Biotin, because really? It cant hurt! Plus ovation has a therapy specifically for colored hair loss.

    I have loosed 120lbs., I love everything about my new body except my hair. I agree, you have to understand that loosing so much weight in a short amount of time, you cant expect that everything after surgery will be perfect. But I will continue to try and re-grow my hair, as I am getting married this year and determined to have it back!
    if you know anything that has worked for you I would love to hear about it. As well these ladies that are going thru the same thing. Thank you for posting about your story it’s nice to know someone in the same boat after this kind of surgery.

    • thanks so much for sharing. I am a little over 3 months out after wls and am freaking out about how much hair I am losing. I knew it would be a side effect… but did not expect to lose as much hair as I have been. my hair seems half as thick as it was preop. being overweight, my hair was my best feature and a big part of my identity. with the weight loss I knew I would feel different… but again had no idea how much emotional changes there would be. the hair loss is affecting me more than anything I think. I’m down 60 lbs, and it’s like I need to learn how to be me again. or rather… figure out who I really am now. I knew losing weight would change how I reacted to the world… but didn’t have a clue how much it would change how the world reacted to me. I have found myself going to my old habits lately to deal with it all, but after reading this and other blogs I see others going thru the same issues and now have regained the courage to keep going… the same courage it took us all to make this life changing decision of wls. thanks again!

  10. I has a sleeve don in Oct 2013 now its March 2014 and i had awsome black long thick curly hair . Now im loosing it in bunch .I SCARED PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME is there vitamins besides BIotin i can take ???

  11. 4 years on and my regrowth is only 1/3 of what I had before gps. Suck!

  12. Ugh I’m losing a lot of my hair and I think it’s because of the protein I’m not drinking as much as I should and also I have this weird fear of eating :/ I hate it and now my hair is suffering from it and it’s breaking me I wonder if cutting my hair really short like Miley Cyrus short will help at all or make it worse I don’t know >_<

  13. George theodorakos says:

    I had the bypass 3 weeks ago. My big problem is heartburn. I use nexus gaviscon. Nexium seems to work the best. Any suggestions


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