Do WLS Patients Lose Hair and Grow Hair in Odd Places?
Why the hair loss after bariatric surgery?
Many know walking into WLS there will be major side affects. Our stomachs have just been shrunk and for some their intestines have been re-routed. So why does WLS cause hair loss? There are a few reasons to losing hair.
Not everyone loses hair, everyone is different. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS hair loss is one of the symptoms and hormonal side affects. If you have been obese most of your life most likely your hormones are all out of sorts and may have caused hair loss or thinking another hormonal issues with ones body.
I, myself did not have an issue with losing hair when I was obese but my hormones caused other major issues like facial hair growth due to a condition called Hirsutism (HUR-soot-iz-um) is a condition in women that results in excessive growth of dark or coarse hair in a male-like pattern — face, chest and back. (Mayo Clinic source)
Click on the above link to learn more about unwanted hair grown and unwanted hair loss from a medical perspective. I will be sharing my experience and what I go through personally.
First time I noticed unwanted facial hair
I was 17 years old when I noticed my first very nasty hair stubble under my chin. This is when I discovered tweezers in my life. I was so embarrassed and had no one to ask what the heck was going on. I had to go to the doctor for my annual visit and at that time I asked the doctor why am I getting facial hair and her answer to me was you are hispanic with dark hair. Expect to be hair nothing you can do but shave. Who in this world wants to shave their face other than guys? Really? Shave? I am 17 years old and this news devastated me. I mean who wants to hear this? I already did not feel feminine because I was so tall and awkwardly tall with curly hair. I did not look like the other cute pretty petite girls. I was a Sasquatch. I was the only tall girl most of my life and now I was getting facial hair. I mean one could imagine how I was feeling. Bewildered? Confused? Gross? Ugly? Unattractive? All of the above people.
I already struggled with dating or even having a steady boyfriend because I was so awkwardly tall and to top it off I went to a private Catholic School where everyone judged you based on your behavior and looks. Damn! Talk about life truly sucking for me.
What happened after High School?
Well my teenage years came and went. When I graduated I became an instant mom. I had a daughter soon after graduation. Needless to say my face got worse and don’t ask me how I landed a husband either because honestly I never thought of myself as a beauty by any means. How could I? I was a Sasquatch compared to the other girls who were petite and perfect and all looked alike.
Having a child was rough because I was so naive and innocent in the sense that I was clueless and fearless of the world. I had no money and no prospect of becoming anything other than taking care of my baby at the time. But here is what happened. My face took a massive toll durning and after pregnancy. My T-Zone area turned bloodshot red and I started to grow more facial hair. OMG! What am I to do? I didn’t know how to put on make-up properly and I had no clue about proper facial care and no one to teach me or guide me. I was completely on my own. But what concerned me the most was the facial hair. I didn’t want my baby’s father to notice I was growing a beard (jk) although the few stubble I did have felt like they were the biggest eye sores ever and magnified times 10. Everyone could see them (mentally I told myself that).
I just kept plucking and hiding my face and would not let anyone touch my face; not even to show me affection by caressing me like in those chick flicks. Instead I put a wall up and was always standoffish. Not good for my marriage at all but hey what is a young naive married teen to do? I was lost, confused, scared and disgusted with how I looked. At this point I gained 75 pounds and my face was rotten. You may think I am exaggerating but this was my truth and my sad young life.
I hit my 30’s
My 30’s I was at my heaviest in weight. I was almost 400 pounds and at this point I had two more kids. With my last child my facial hair had gotten worse. There was no more plucking the two or three facial stubble I had since I was 17, at this point my hormone had broken completely and started growing facial hair all over my chin badly. Now understand I am mortified about this until this day and I am 48 years old. Know this is not because I am Latina. This is because I have a broken hormone because all the Latinas I know are not hairy by any means not even their eyebrows. Well it may not all be true but this is my perceptions of others who have good skin and no extra hair.
Went for a doctors visit and asked about this beard of mine and this doctor said to me. You have a hormone that is broken because you do not have PCOS. The name of the hormone is androgens. What the hell is that? I didn’t even know that such a hormone existed. The doctor stated that there wasn’t much I could do and maybe attempt laser hair removal.. That was a big mistake because I did it and I grew more hair. I was needless to say very pissed off. I spent $900.00 so that this treatment could make me grow more hair. Crap. Back to the drawing board and trying to figure out what more I could do to not look like a fury beast.
Learned to cope and control and never allow anyone to touch my face what so ever. I learned how to put on makeup and cover up my face pretty well and never look like I have any kind of facial hair or shadow. This is now and always be my norm.
What happened in my 40’s shocked me!
After being obese for over 2 decades I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out how to lose this weight that is now causing me health problems. I was diagnosed with hypertension and I was pre-diabetic, anemic and internal things were on breakdown and required surgery.
I opted to do weight loss surgery. In doing so, I did not realize what I was in for when it came to malabsorption. The one thing I couldn’t succeed in my life was losing weight. I feared not losing weight because only about 5% of the population succeeded and kept it off. So what does that mean? It means that many took the tool for granted and went back to their old ways thinking they were invisible and not gain weight.
Well, because of my fear, I barely at anything and worked out like a mad woman. I dropped 100 pounds in 6 months and 200 pounds over all in the course of 2 years. 120 pounds naturally and the rest on the WLS. One day I started losing blobs of hair and I don’t mean your usual 20 strands of hair I man I had a bald patch in the back of my head. I was freaking out because I went from having very long mermaid thick black hair to a very thin bob hair cut. I had no hair. I had to buy extensions to add to my hair and make them look thick.
I wasn’t about to do bald, I am already battling facial hair why isn’t that falling off and not coming back? WHY? Well because I don’t know why, my hormones are all over the place! 44 years old, going bald and more facial hair than I can deal with. Okay so what happened. My hair finally grew back but I lost it because of the trauma of the WLS and because I was not eating enough and was not consistent with my vitamins. Whammie! not a good thing to do. When I figured out what was going on I learned some hair care treatments and was consistent with my vitamins and nutrition. My hair grew back and my facial hair was stabilized. But boy I worked hard to keep my face in good health as well as my hair. My poor husband talk about love. He loves me unconditionally and helps me to get where I want to be no matter the cost but within reason.
Post OP Year 2
I had emergency surgery my gallbladder crapped out and well here we go again. Another surgery within four months of WLS. Man this was terrible or so I thought. Wasn’t back until that spring when I went on our family vacation and as I was taking a shower all of my hair started falling out again. And I don’t mean just a few strands I mean handfuls at a time. The bald patches were in the back of my head this time. It was horrific. I cried for days. My husband feeling helpless and I had no idea why this was happening again after I just got all my hair back.
I just had my hair short again. My hair is everything to me, it was the one thing I loved the most about myself was my long lush hair. This no longer existed in my life. The trauma for the back to back surgeries was too much for my body and so it decided to lose hair. Yet, I still have this freaking facial hair I hate.
So what do you do. Back to the drawing bored right. I learned that it is just hair. I am now 48 years young and my hair is not as thick as it once was but there are great products out there that help hair grow back and stronger than ever.
I am on my way back to healthy shiny hair. A friend on instagram recommended Monat hair care. I kind of blew it off because I didn’t want to sell and well I am always overly cautious. But let me tell you that this lovely lady did not give up on me. She didn’t want anything from me as a matter of fact she respected my wishes and knew I am retired and only blog now for a living. She sends me this great sample of Monat and why I waited so long is beyond me. I refer to it as “hair crack” because that is truly what it is. My hair had never felt better healthier or thicker in my life even before WLS. I was sad to wash my hair come the next day because I knew my hair products were not going to make my hair feel the same way.
Just when I was about to give up hope and just deal with what I have on my noggin here comes a special person to show me that there is hair hope. Now, this is not a commercial. What I am saying is yes we are going to lose hair and does it always grow back? Well everyone is different. Not everyone has facial hair but I do but I didn’t completely lose my hair, it just didn’t come back the same.
I test products all the time to see what works and what doesn’t work. Why do I do this because I am all for aging with grace. Feeling good on the inside as well as the outside. That one should not give up no matter the circumstance. I may have been that giant Sasquatch in high school but today I am just a normal woman with some unique circumstances. Don’t ever be embarrassed of you and what you are going through. I learned to understand that there is unconditional love out there.
Stay woke people because life is full of curve balls and great surprises.
I am not a doctor and am not here to diagnose anyone. Just sharing my personal experiences and mental thinking.