Hair Loss and Continued Pain After Gallbladder Removal

Jan 24, 2023 9:33 pm

Hi everyone. I've had my permanent ileostomy since January 2015. My hair has been pretty consistent for the past seven years until about August. I noticed it was definitely thinner but then it started coming out in the shower at an alarming rate. I had my gallbladder out in September and it definitely got worse after that. Even the woman who cuts my hair noticed a ton coming out when she washed it. Does anyone have any experience with this? I thought it could be a vitamin/mineral absorption issue but why all of a sudden? Stress from another surgery? I'm also still having pain even though my gallbladder is out. That's getting worse, too. I'm googling causes and getting a little concerned. I don't have an appointment with my gastro until February 6 and they can't see me sooner. I guess that's two topics: hair loss and continued pain after gallbladder removal. Please don't scare me - Google did that already but thanks in advance for any feedback.

Jan 24, 2023 9:42 pm

Hi Eefy, my hair is thinner now as well. I'm not sure when it started. I had my gallbladder out in July 2019. I started chemo & radiation in November 2019. So lots of stress. But I am grateful I still have hair on my head.

Good luck finding out why all the pain.

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Jan 24, 2023 9:42 pm

D) All of the above. Beating up a body repeatedly will take its toll.

Jan 24, 2023 9:52 pm

P.S. Caz67 (a sweet nurse that is on here sometimes) found this shampoo conditioner that works wonders. I want to try it as well.

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Jan 24, 2023 10:11 pm

Two things I know that can cause hair loss are surgery and stress! I was losing hair like crazy during the period I had four surgeries in a 2 1/2 year time span. It's back to normal now, but I do notice that anytime I go through a stressful time, my hair falls out more.


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Jan 24, 2023 11:07 pm

Thanks, guys. We've all been through so much, although our stories are different from each other. This is what I'm using right now for my hair. We shall see.

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Jan 24, 2023 11:07 pm

Sorry about the angle

Jan 24, 2023 11:23 pm
Reply to eefyjig

Keep me posted, please.

Past Member
Jan 25, 2023 12:35 am

Never had it come out in clumps but it has definitely thinned out a lot over the last few years, just assumed it was one of the lovely side-effects of menopause (thinning hair I'm okay with because I was a bit of a boofhead before, but why the influx of hair on my chinny chin chin? - Mother Nature is a nasty biatch at times).

Always thought it's not what you put on your hair but what you eat in regards to hair, nails, and skin. I'd be upping the egg intake and any food with vitamins zinc, A, C, and E and all the B's.

Don't laugh but have used Mane 'n Tail horse shampoo in the past, don't believe it thickened my hair but it definitely gave me a glossy sheen!

Hope you find something that works.

Jan 25, 2023 1:44 am
Reply to Anonymous

Oops, you said don't laugh.

Jan 25, 2023 8:23 am

Hello eefyjig.
Sorry to hear about your hair loss.
My wife (and all her sisters) went through a similar experience and she has tried all sorts of 'special' shampoos and conditioners that purport to resolve the problem. However I am sad to say that she seems to have fallen for the sales hype and the desired solutions are not forthcoming.  I try to reassure her that hair loss makes no difference to the way I perceive her, but that has scant effect upon her worries.
This brings me to another aspect of the discussion. My mother had lost all her hair from a time before I could recall her in any other way.  The doctors told her that this was due to 'worry'. If they were right, then logically, worrying about hair loss is likely to make things worse.
All the males in our family were what could be described as 'bald' before they reached their 30's. The interesting thing about this was that as they lost the hair from the top of their heads, the hair at the sides and on the chin seemed to grow faster. I often wondered if this was somehow due to the 'short-back-& sides' hairstyles of the day, for in the natural environment pruning seems to motivate things to grow more vigorously when and where plants are pruned vigorously (just a thought!).
Either way, worrying about these things rarely makes them better and, for myself, I have always tried to minimise my worries about things that I am unlikely to be able to control or change. 
Hair loss can easily be disguised by wearing a hat or a wig, but I am in awe of those who proudly carry on without these cosmetic appendages and don't let such things affect their lives or their basic personalities. I am also in awe of those 'friends' of people who lose their hair due to chemo, who shave their own hair in support of their friends. It must be very supportive to have such close friends.

Some people worry about their hair changing colour (to white) as they age. Personally, I find people attractive (or not), not by their physical appearance, but by their personality, values and behaviour. The colour of their hair or their skin is of little concern in the wider scheme of living together and helping each other to maximise our potential.

Best wishes



Rose Bud 🌹
Jan 25, 2023 10:40 am

Mine started falling out in the hospital when I had my gallbladder removed that led to my ostomy 2.5 years ago. It started to grow back and then broke off again, and it's been like that ever since. I haven't tried anything yet because I don't want to use anything harsh that you have to keep using or your hair falls out again if you stop (anything like Rogaine). The shampoo Sally posted I may take a look into because the one thing I know that will break your hair is sulfates. As far as still having pain after, I did too and still do at times. I was told after your gallbladder is removed, sometimes stones are left over in your bile duct, but it's rare. Well, that's what happened to me and then found out my duct was narrow so they put in temporary stents to hopefully widen it. I've also noticed and have heard from a friend of mine after eating fatty foods you can have problems because fat and high fiber don't break down as easily. I hope everything goes well for you and maybe what you're eating is the issue and you don't have to deal with what I had to go through over the last year. (Reason why I had my JP drain for 6 months)

Rose Bud 🌹
Jan 25, 2023 10:44 am
Reply to SallyK

Thanks, Sally. I'll have to check that one out.

Jan 25, 2023 4:26 pm
Reply to Rose Bud 🌹

Hakuna Matata

Jan 25, 2023 6:55 pm

Thanks for all your responses and empathy. Sally, I will keep Caz's suggestion in mind should my product not work. J, thanks for your food suggestions. I've been reading about that and trying to up my egg intake. RB, a sonogram showed no stones in my bile ducts but I'm beginning to think food is becoming an issue with my pain. Just bummed to have to think about food in any kind of negative light. Terry, I made it through four surgeries with all of my hair intact - maybe the last one tipped me over the edge. Bill, no hair dye for me since 2017. I was curious to see what color I had under all that reddish brown! Alex, stop laughing!!

Morning glory
Jan 25, 2023 6:56 pm

I still have my gallbladder, but I am dealing with hair loss as well. My dermatologist's prescription was very expensive and really didn't help. I used to have very thick hair, but the last several years I've really thinned out. Hopefully you will have better luck than me.

Jan 25, 2023 7:26 pm
Reply to eefyjig

Me? I don't see anything wrong with your hair color. I get blamed for everything.

Jan 25, 2023 9:47 pm
Reply to SallyK

Whenever you go under for surgery, what they put you under with can make your hair fall out. It's how long you're under. So you've had a few surgeries, so your hair is starting to fall out. It should come back; it doesn't happen to everybody. I was under for over 10 hours and I lost some of mine. Take care.

Jan 27, 2023 1:47 am


Hair fallout can definitely be attributed to surgery and stress. If you look back to about 3 months before your hair started falling out, was there some kind of stressor then? Also, menopause can cause dramatic hair thinning. My sister-in-law was given a pill called spironolactone to help with the hair loss. Have you had COVID by any chance? I had a rather bad case of COVID a year ago, and my hair was falling out by the handful. Can't help much with the gallbladder since I still have mine. Hope you find some answers soon.


Jan 27, 2023 2:15 am
Reply to Rose Bud 🌹

Hi Eefy and Rose bud. I think you may be on to something, Rose. Eefy, I had my gallbladder removed many many years ago. I didn't have the problems you're having, but that being said everyone is different! It's possible that your body isn't handling the bile very well. I would suggest going to a GP to get blood work done so you can see if you're low in thyroid, iron, any number of minerals and enzymes and of course the major vitamins like D3, A, E, B's, C, etc. Magnesium and potassium are also big deals. Hydration is another possible factor. I do know that a low thyroid level will cause hair loss. Everyone's correct. Stress and anesthesia really do upset our body's hormones and equilibrium. As we age with an ileostomy, we get to be even more careful! Dang it! Keep us posted. Jeanne

Rose Bud 🌹
Jan 27, 2023 4:53 am
Reply to jeanneskindle

I've had all the blood work done and everything, but my potassium was fine. I was put on pills to correct it about a year ago and it still breaks. BUT yes, you are correct all that should be checked. I did have Covid a month before being released from the hospital so I wouldn't doubt that it might have something to do with it as well.

Stephanie S
Feb 23, 2023 4:54 pm
Reply to eefyjig

I'm going on 9 years of using products from Morrocco Method, it is truly the only completely natural ingredient, organic hair product on the market. Anthony Morrocco is the owner, founder and his articles are extremely informative and helpful. It's good that you no longer color your hair because that contributes to thinning, breakage etc... I found that my hair was beat up after spending 2 weeks in the hospital rubbing against less than ideal pillows, splitting and thinning in the ends. My hair stylist said that I should have kept it braided to avoid damage. Now I know. I have genetically thinner hair, also taking a daily multivitamin helps. The stress of surgery I'm sure is a factor also. Another thing that I use is a satin pillowcase, it helps reduce friction and breakage while you sleep. I should have brought one to the hospital!

Check this out, there is lots of good info for people with various medical conditions and issues that can explain some of this. Best of luck!

Feb 23, 2023 8:19 pm
Reply to Stephanie S

Thanks, but they smell great, too!

Feb 27, 2023 6:11 pm

I had a similar issue occur seven years ago, and I was concerned. My hairdresser said this is a normal seven-year process that the body goes through and there is no reason to worry. In the ensuing years, my hair grew back as thick as it was before. Now, seven years later, it's happening again! I think of it as shedding the old and welcoming the new...