Some bariatric patients are prone to a yeast infection, which either manifests itself as thrush (a painful white coating of the tongue) or a rash under the armpits, in the groin area or in the skin. These happen for a variety of reasons; the most common reasons are antibiotic use. The antibiotics wipe out “friendly” bacteria that inhabit the skin and mouth and other places, allowing yeast to take over. When I had a knee operation they used a single dose of antibiotics and I developed the worst case of jock itch—another fungus. There are some over the counter products for this and prescriptions are available for severe cases.
Hair today, gone tomorrow
Hair thinning or balding is expected after you rapidly lose pounds. There are those who firmly believe that protein, taking biotin or other vitamins and supplements, prevents this. There is balding that is associated with zinc deficiency, protein deficiency and other deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, but this is a rare contributing factor to post operative bariatric patients’ balding. For those thirty percent who have receding hair, it will come back, fuller and richer than before. No shampoo will prevent it, but perms and coloring may accelerate balding during this time.
The realm of hair-care products, the amount of things that salons put into your scalp, remind me of toxic waste dumps. Makes me wonder why more people don’t go bald. I mean think about it: people with curly locks have products designed to straighten it, people with straight hair get stuff to curl it, if you are blonde you want to be more blonde or a redhead, if you are auburn or brown you want to be blonde or black, and if you are grey—well, then all is lost and it is time to find out what Clairol has to make your hair any color but that.
Hair loss is caused from follicles resetting themselves in the face of the stress of bariatric surgery,weight loss, and other factors we do not understand. A lot of people will sell you a lot of products to prevent balding. You can spend your money on these products but I would prefer you purchase this book, be educated and support my pocket instead of your local hairdresser’s.
You may resume sexual activity when you feel up to it,usually seventeen years after a bariatric operation (sorry, couldn’t resist). Don’t forget birth control. We would like you to wait two years before getting pregnant. For birth control during this time we recommend a diaphragm, condoms, an IUD, or even the patch, but not the pill. Some oral contraceptives are not absorbed well after a bariatric opoeration. Planning for your pregnancy is better than being surprised and naming the child after your favorite bariatric surgeon.
As stated above, we recommend that you avoid this issue so use birth control religiously (Okay, there are some who would have a problem with that, so for those, just avoid). You may start planning a pregnancy after 12 months, although most bariatric surgeons prefer for you to wait 24 months to conceive. If you become pregnant, we will need to enlist the aid of a good OB doctor.
The period of rapid weight loss during your first post operative year is not a healthy time to nourish a fetus. Children are a great addition to most families, and I am very pro-kids (no, I am not available for baby sitting and I do not want to borrow your teenager). There are many patients who undergo a bariatric procedure specifically to have children, and to those of you who fit into this category— good luck.