Hair growth problems 10 years after duodenal switch surgery

Question Below Submitted By:  

Kathie (a patient from Ellicott City, MD)

I had the laparoscopic duodenal switch surgery 10 years ago. Surgically everything has been fine.

As we all do, I had problems with thinning hair in the beginning. It grew back. I have had iron deficiency & Vit D deficiency problems & PTH problems since my surgery. They are under control by my Endricronoligist & Hematologist.

Now, for many months, I have had problems with hair breakage & now even worse my hair has stopped growing for the past year. I know I am seriously missing something in the way of a supplements or minerals. The obvious culprits like Thyroid or hormones have been ruled out. I have bloodwork 4-5 times per year. My doctors are stumped, any suggestions?

I am desperate & depressed. Can anyone share what Vitamins & other supplements dosages they take daily? I must be missing something.


Expert Responses to the Question Above

Bariatric surgeon at CBGSA , Arcadia , California

by: Dr. Troy LaMar

Hi Kathie,

Congrats on the great long-term weight loss with the duodenal switch! As many people have commented, some hair loss is not that unusual with the initial rapid weight loss. And, as noted, it almost always comes back.

However, having significant hair loss 10 years out is certainly not normal. It may not be related to your surgery at all, especially since your docs have checked all the potential issues you mentioned. I agree with some respondents... you definitely need to make sure you are getting at least 80 grams protein/day .Any hair and nail vitamins are good to try.

Finally, have your docs considered genetic alopecia?

Good luck.

Troy LaMar MD

los angeles bariatric surgeon

(click here for Dr. LaMar's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

Related Pages:
- Bariatric Vitamins
- Life After Weight Loss Surgery
- Life after bariatric surgery - experiences from other patients


Patient Responses to the Question Above


by: Jules

Can we ask how much zinc you took and what type? I take 300mg ELEMENTAL in a mixture of gluconate and sulphate, which is about 3000% RDA. My zinc has not improved on this. Julie

Hair Loss & facial Hair Growth

by: Kathie

After my surgery I went through the expected hair loss & my hair came back.

Several years later I began to have terrible hair loss.

After consulting with many doctors my Endocrinologist came up with the problem.

I was terribly low on Zinc.

I began taking a regimine of Zinc plus Biotin Plus Selinium & my hair is thick. & long again.

I want to mention that standard blood tests usually do not test for Zinc so this requires an addition test with your blood work I also had a conflicting problem with the hair in my face getting out of control.

This occurred before I started taking the additional supplements & not caused by the addition of Zinc.

The only solution was to have my Dematologist Laser it off.

I hope I have helped someone out there.

I have the same

by: Jules

Hi there,I am 13 years post op and ALL my hair has fallen out, I'm bald with no body hair either. I have extremely low zinc and it has been half of normal for about 4 years but other than that, nothing else on my labs is showing up. I've now been put on Creon. Would love to hear from you and how you are getting on now?

Vitamin def.

by: Katie

Hello Katie, I am from MD too and also had surgery over 10 years ago. We live in Severna Park. Please reach out to me by email I am trying to find people who are more than 10 years out to form a support group to see what we will start to face on long term Deidre

hair loss

by: Anonymous

I also had a lot of trouble with hair loss.

I finally found out that when I first had the surgery I was not getting enough protein and my body attacked my pancreas.

It has withered and no longer produces the enzymes that break down protein for my body to use.

My hair fell out till I felt that I was going bald.

I finally went to a specialist and he put me on Creon.

It took a while to get the dose right but now my hair is longer than it has ever been and I always get comments on how thick it is when I get my hair cut.

I thought that losing 152 pounds meant having no hair but thankfully I was wrong.

Hair loss after 10 years

by: Her Moojesty

Try iron suppliments, if you aren't already taking it. Iron plays a huge role in keeping hair healthy. So do zinc and copper. Good luck

About hair loss

by: Molly

Ladies,I read about your hair loss and problems after your bariatric surgeries. That is sad, I am sorry for both of you.I believe you have a deficiency in the level of protein you are getting. Hair needs protein to grow, plain and simple. Most hair loss can be linked to protein deficiencies. I suggest you add protein drinks, like Muscle Milk, and also take large doses of Biotin. Check your multiple vitamin, or your B complex vitamin, and you'll see that you are only getting about 17% of the daily requirement of this important B vitamin. Adding it really helps, trust me! It will also make your nails stronger and less brittle. I am having surgery (gastric sleeve) next month, and I already have thin fine hair. I can NOT afford hair loss, so I plan to really push the protein and biotin. I wish us all luck!

Related Pages:
- Bariatric Vitamins
- Bariatric Surgery Complications
- Bariatric Diet (What you eat)
- Bariatric Eating (How you eat)

Hair Growth from

by: Brenda Seelbach

Hey Kathie, sounds like you are on the ball. I know that all that can be done is being done. Trust it will turn around. I know how hard it is to have your hair not cooperating with you! I am in VA (just moved here) and I am considering working with the folks at Winchester Medical Center - they are a Center of Excellence, I am excited about this. Have you have any connection with them or know much about them?

Reponse to your ? about "My hair has stopped growing"

by: Kathie

Thanks for your response.

Ten years ago when I had my surgery there were very few doctors doing bariatric surgeries laparoscopically.

I live in MD & I went to NY for my surgery. (My surgeon (who is brilliant) has since left NY & moved back to his native Canada & opened his own clinic.) The downside of me going to NY was that my follow-up was limited because of the distance.

I want to first say that although I have had absorption issues, there is not a day that I regret having had this surgery. I was dying in my own body at 335 lbs.

I weigh about 165 now & have easily maintained this weight all these years.

I tend to believe that my current hair issue is a lack of something in my diet & I am trying to determine what I am missing.

Long term complications from bariatric surgery are just coming to light as the earlier recipients of this surgery age.

I am being treated by 2 Board Certified Specialist from one of the best hospitals in the world (Johns Hopkins) & they are stumped.

I have decided to take a closer look at my vitamin regimen & make some changes & lots of additions.

I do not know what else to do.

I was hoping that my post would lead me to someone who has had a similar experience.

I want to add that I do not want my dilemma to in any way discourage anyone or give anyone any undue concern about their surgery experience.

I am an anomaly and not the norm.

I?ll get past this hurdle, and no one should think this might happen to them.

If anyone out there has any suggestions, please respond.

BTW: The obvious culprits: Thyroid & Hormones have been ruled out by blood work results.

Hair Growth from

by: Brenda Seelbach

Hi Kathie!

I had DS about 1.5 years ago now and had major hair loss following the surgery. It did come back and looks fine/normal now. I am rather puzzled by your loss now at 10 years. Sounds like you are doing everything right...I hope I am not in for this issue in the coming years. I would be interested to know what your doctor says about it since it is happening this far out. May not even be related to the WLS.

I do know that what helped me was Moroccan Oil and Coconut oil for the styling and moisture to protect from being brittle and dry and also Silica and Boitin supplements for the nourishment of the hair internally. I can't really say that they "helped" but I think they did. Keep me posted on how you proceed with this. I am happy to help.

Congrats on your big accomplishments and all the best,



by: Get your Creon dosage right

CREON is your best bet for growing hair back and thicker. Good luck trying to find a GI specialist who understands CREON! One told me CREON is a dangerous drug. What a lie.

CREON Is an enzyme that breaks down protein, carbs and fats. If you don't take enzymes to break down your food, you starve to death. I'm a Type 1 Diabetic and I have Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency problems. My father had the same thing and died from both diseases, at age FIFTY (50)!

It does cause bloating and some GI distress, but you'll feel better and your hair will love you for it. Don't trust many GI specialists, they know NOT what they do!

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