Wednesday, July 26, 2006

To my readers: The following letter is representative of roughly 30% of the mail I get. This ONE topic! And you can see why…this is something that has the ability to transcend all categories of age, sex, economy…this sucks for EVERYone who gets the surgery! Read on…

Why is it that when I look at before and after pictures on all the web sites almost every woman has short hair in the after pictures? Do you lose your hair from this? I called a doctor's office and asked and they said occasionally people do lose some hair but not to worry about it. Is this true?
Kelly Pugh
Hackensack, NJ

Kelly, it would be really easy to act blasé and tell you that having this new and gorgeous body just makes a woman want a fresh start and a new look so she goes and gets her hair cut and styled in a trendy way and now she’s ready to take on the world! And that is what the doctor’s office will likely tell you and the support group leaders, too.

Here’s the thing: That’s not the answer.

The truth of the matter is that you will start losing your hair after the surgery. Each and every person who has the surgery. And that is the truth. About 3 months into your recovery and for at least 8 months you will find that your hair is thinning out and making a huge mess of your tub. It’s normal. You have just done something so traumatic to your body and one of the ways the body deals with trauma is by shedding - your hair falling out.

Also, as you know, even with taking in as many calories and nutrients as you can fit afterwards, your body is definitely in shock and starving for the fats, oils and SUGAH it was used to, so the hair is falling out for that reason, as well.

The technical name for it is "Telogen Effluvium". The best thing about it is this: It's temporary. Read some more info about this:

Telogen effluvium is when a stress (such as dieting/weight change) causes noticeable loss of hair after a stressful event. The event can be a physical stress such as an illness (especially with a fever), sudden weight changes (the most common), or a major surgical procedure {{BINGO!}}. Usually, the person losing hair has recovered from the event (or stabilized from the weight change or dietary change), and then they start shedding their hair in clumps. The condition is almost always temporary, and new hairs soon grow back in. Within a few more months the normal random cycle of hair follicle growth and rest resumes. Treatment for telogen effluvium includes waiting for the new hairs to grow in, and trimming and styling the hair to give a fuller look in the meantime.”

One of the best things you can do about this – and this sounds unusual, I know – is to make sure your diet is TRULY and TOTALLY Sugar Free. Sugar really exacerbates the condition. And in my upcoming “Why Sugar Is The Nectar of Satan” column, you can read more about it. As some of you know, I miss sugar SO much and I am SO bitter about having had to give it up, no pun intended. It’s not a laughing matter!!! But that’s a story for another day…back to the telogen effluvium…

It also helps if you do the following:

Up your protein by 15% each day over whatever levels you've been eating.

Drink LOTS of water. 64 ounces is a minimum per day. Not easy with your tiny new tummy but somehow you have to make it work. And the people I know who did that – really forced themselves to drink that water, even when they felt ready to burst, are so happy they did it. Not only did it help them with their hair loss, it also helped their skin and helped in every other way that water helps the bod.

Take your supplements! At a minimum, you should be taking:
-A good multivitamin
-CoEnzyme Q10 - 75-150 mg per day
-Acetyl L-Carnitine - 1000 mg per day
-A good Essential Fatty Acids supplement if you don't eat some form of salmon, tuna, or olive oil every day.

Super long answer, Kelly. And I know from your other emails that you are still in the surgery research stage. I really, truly hope that what you just learned hasn’t turned you off to getting the GB. The hair grows back and in the meanwhile you’re dropping pants sizes left and right and feeling SO much more flexible and healthy. Send me pics. Go Kelly!
GB Girl

6 Comments:

Blogger prorata said...

This is a great site. It stuns me that there doesn't seem a book out there that really gives people the low down on what life is like after GBS. Maybe you should write one?

Congrats on the weight loss!

7:57 AM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger The GB Girl said...

Prorata, I hope to be the one! Thank you so much for the post.

9:58 AM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger stellans said...

I agree with prorata: you should write about the true 'life after gbs.' When pointed to your site by Big Fat Deal, I spent the next while reading and enjoying myself thoroughly.

I am a 50+ grandmother who is morbidly obese (5'3-330lbs), 3-year TypeII diabetic, and slowly deteriorating knees.

I've tried dieting etc., and have finally come to the conclusion that I just can't do it.

I'm researching GBS, and this site has been a tremendous help. Please write your book -- you have a great style and are a wonderful wordsmith.

2:26 PM, July 28, 2006  
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