UC to J-Pouch Story

Hair Loss

Posted by jenellepower on October 28, 2008

I’ve been having serious problems with hair loss. This may be even more of an issue for me because of my post-surgery disaster but I believe a lot of people do experience some hair loss with surgery or malnutrition. My hair is finally starting to grow back after 5 months, but I was pretty close to having a wig. I’m currently down to basically a pixie cut (so not me) but at least it’s all new hair, though still thin. Anyway, people have been pushing products on me to make my hair grow back but I didn’t want to buy/use things that wouldn’t work. I wrote an email to a group of people who produce a science podcast that I listen to and a physician answered it for me! Here are links to where the response was posted, along with some nice comments:

 

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/sgublog/?p=359

http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=3794

 

I recommend these sites/podcasts for quality science information (and entertainment, too!).

 

In addition, I can share the information I received from a clinical dietician at the hospital where I had my surgery. I’ll share the information she provided me but remember it is important to get health information that is specific to your particular health situation.

 

One important issue can be iron deficiency (not my issue but it’s common) so high iron foods and an iron supplement are a good idea (note: if you don’t have an iron deficiency, you shouldn’t take an iron supplement – talk to you doctor!). In addition, hair is made of protein, so the best thing to do is eat lots and lots of protein. I’m supposed to have at 60-65 grams of protein a day at minimum and I weigh 120lbs (so about .5 grams of protein per pound). Animal proteins are more easily absorbed by the body than plant proteins (and a lot of plant proteins can be high in fibre and not ideal for some people with UC or a j-pouch) so meat, cheese, milk and yogurt are good options, although I do eat some nuts and beans. I was so desperate I even started eating beef which I hadn’t eaten in 12 years! Finally, it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin. In particular, she recommended a prenatal multivitamin because they are more potent than the regular version.

Image via: JessyParr

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3 Responses to “Hair Loss”

  1. Marianne said

    Hi Jenelle,
    I’ve been through surgery 1 of 3 2 months ago and lost a ton of hair as well and decided to cut my hair short and get a wig. Apparently it’s the shock of the surgery and malnutrition. It is temporary though but it can take up to one year before hair grows back. Considering we will be going through a second surgery, we may lose even more. I’ll be following your story. Where in Canada are you?
    All the best,
    Marianne

  2. Jenelle said

    Hi Marianne,

    My hair growing back now but it is very short. I am really hoping to not lose it again next time (and also hoping it will be one, not two, more surgeries, but that’s unpredictable). I have a wig now, just in case. I rarely wear it. I was also told it was malnutrition/trauma. I’m in Ontario now, though I’m from the east coast. Good luck with your surgeries to come!

  3. Marianne said

    Hi Jenelle,
    Nice to hear that you are recovering…hair loss can be a little depressing in the beginning but thankfully it’s only temporary. Actually, I recently spoke to my surgeon on hair loss and he said the second surgery should not result in more hair loss if you go in and come out rather healthy. That is, maulnutrition is the main reason for hair loss from the first surgery and we head into the second surgery stronger and it also tends to be less stressful given we have time to plan for it and know what to expect. He also mentioned not to wear the wig too much because it may impede hair growth since the hair follicles need to breathe. My hair has now stopped falling as my nutrition intake improves.

    I live in Montreal, Quebec. My sister is in Ontario. We are lucky in Canada because we do not have to worry that all these medical procedures and medications (Remicade!) will bankrupt our families.

    I see the illness as behind me now. The illness I saw as a signal that something within my core being was really wrong. The way I see it, I traded some pain, scars and a near-death experience for a more fulfilling life and a happier self.

    I’ll be reading your story and I wish you all the best!!

    Marianne

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