Bald and Bloated

Bloated - bloated abdomen profile

F*ck, I’m losing my hair! For a while now my son has been complaining that I’m losing my hair, that he’s finding my hair all over the place, including in his lunch which I make (disgusting!). Is it menopause? Is it stress? Is it medication side effects? Is it due to nutritional deficiencies? I actually think it’s primarily due to menopause, but as to nutritional deficiencies, read on.

Back in the spring I had my first colonoscopy. (Remember once you turn 50, get a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer.) The gastroenterologist had me take a hydrogen breath test, took a biopsy, and diagnosed me as having SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). The treatment regimen included going on a low FODMAP (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) carbohydrate diet and taking ciprofloxacin antibiotic. He recommended going off the low FODMAP diet after a few weeks and then periodically take ciprofloxacin to control the bacterial overgrowth. Since I do not want to regularly take a broad spectrum antibiotic, I’ve been trying to follow the low FODMAP diet. It is very restrictive, but keeps my gut healthier. I won’t go into details, but I notice a difference when I eat high FODMAP foods. Halloween I ate all of the Tootsie Rolls, as well as other candies chock full of high fructose corn syrup. My intestines are not happy. Bloated, running to the restroom, not a pleasant price to pay for the indulgence.

About SIBO:

About the low FODMAP diet:

What does FODMAP stand for?


The process through which gut bacteria degrade undigested carbohydrate to produce gases (hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide)


  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) found in; wheat, rye, onions and garlic
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) found in ; legumes/pulses


Lactose found in; milk, soft cheese, yoghurts


Fructose (in excess of glucose) found in honey, apples, high fructose corn syrups


Sugar polyols (eg. sorbitol, mannitol) found in some fruit and vegetables and used as artificial sweeteners

39 thoughts on “Bald and Bloated

  1. Dr. Walker Karraa November 4, 2014 / 6:53 pm

    SIBO here too. Same month I got cancer my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. They started doing tests on me for everything. I developed POF. I swear there are letters for everything. I’m sorry you have gut stuff. It is yucky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 4, 2014 / 7:42 pm

      Sorry to hear that you have SIBO, too. Can cause depression b/c affects nutrient uptake. Worst of it is that we have both a persimmon and a fig tree in our backyard and now I can’t eat them. Is the POF related to treatment for breast cancer? My mother said that chemo for lymphoma brought on early menopause.


  2. stockdalewolfe November 4, 2014 / 8:34 am

    So sorry for the troubles. Been there. Interested in this FODMAP diet. Will Google. Good luck on all fronts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 4, 2014 / 1:48 pm

      DO NOT follow the diet unless you are diagnosed as having SIBO. It is very restrictive, restricting nutritious food which the fauna in my gut love.


    • Kitt O'Malley November 4, 2014 / 8:17 am

      I know! And I can no longer eat so many wonderful fruit, like the persimmons and figs that grow in our back yard. 😦


      • I hear you – I’m restricted to 6 mini meals a day of 200 calories each. Each meal must contain 1 protein serving (I don’t digest meat so has to be a vegetarian substitute which I don’t mind) and must include a carb serving and that’s how I get my 3 fruit servings in per day. The other 3 meals go to the 1 serving protein and 1 serving of protein each. Needless to say, it’s difficult to go out to eat or make special plans that involve meals. More often than not when we eat out, I have a hard boiled egg or some such thing as a back-up. Most of all I miss lots and lots of fresh vegetables. But like you, it’s not worth the anguish. Because I’m a diabetic I also have to watch the balance or carbs as my blood sugar can drop and I don’t even notice it until it’s dangerously low. I’ll be thinking of you as you continue your quest for a perfect balance.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley November 4, 2014 / 2:02 pm

          So you definitely understand. Everything (well, almost everything) I thought I knew about nutrition runs counter to my new diet. I used to eat a lot of fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, the list goes on.


  3. writerwannabe763 November 3, 2014 / 9:41 pm

    Hope you get to the ‘bottom’ of the matter. (Sorry I couldn’t resist) Seriously it’s not a laughing matter… so I do hope you find out what’s causing your hair loss.. Diane

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 4, 2014 / 8:16 am

      Pretty sure the hair loss is menopausal, and that it will stop. Hopefully, I will grown in beautiful new silver hair. Although, my paternal grandmother (who also had abdominal distress) lost her hair and wore a wig as long as I could remember her. My paternal uncle, too, is bald. Yikes!


      • writerwannabe763 November 4, 2014 / 8:25 am

        Even though you believe that ‘baldness’ may run in your family don’t discount medications. A friend of mine who was taking meds for her ‘tremor’ found out that her thinning hair was as a result of this med.. Diane

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley November 4, 2014 / 1:47 pm

          It definitely is a side effect of at least one of the medications I am taking, but the hair loss has increased suddenly. Thank you for pointing it out. You are right, of course. I will bring it up with my doctors. I just had my labs run and I’m good in terms of liver functioning and such.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Bradley November 3, 2014 / 1:27 pm

    Ugh. I can’t imagine being on such a strict diet. Any diet where you can’t pronounce the names must be tough. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and hope this passes (pun intended) soon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 3, 2014 / 2:03 pm

      Unfortunately, it is a chronic condition. Fruit I adore and have growing in our backyard, namely persimmons and figs, I now know are among the many culprits of what I now recognize as discomfort. I had become inured to the symptoms. But, when I deprive myself of all these wonderfully delicious foods, my tummy does trim down considerably.


  5. Sandy Sue November 3, 2014 / 11:55 am

    Holy crap! (no pun intended) This sounds awful! I hope it’s not a permanent situation and that you and your gut come back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 3, 2014 / 12:14 pm

      SIBO is a chronic, but manageable condition. My father and paternal grandmother, though not diagnosed, suffer(ed) similar symptoms. Holy crap is an apt response.


  6. Pieces of Bipolar November 3, 2014 / 1:53 am

    Sorry you’re having a tough time with your tummy (and hair loss). It’s so uncomfortable being bloated – nothing fits, anything with a waist painfully cuts into your tummy and sitting for long periods is uncomfortable. I have IBS and have to eat gluten-free, but too much sugar (from my sweet tooth) does upset my stomach as well. I hope you feel better soon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 3, 2014 / 11:33 am

      Gluten really hits me hard, too. Best of luck with your IBS! Luckily I had a lot of hair to begin with.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. mihrank November 2, 2014 / 6:29 pm

    wow – this is such a deep and painful story – I am in good hopes you find the solution for it. Keep healthy and stay strong!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 2, 2014 / 10:16 pm

      SIBO is manageable. Hair loss is secondary to menopause, medication side effects, and stress. I am not bald. My hair is thinning. I exaggerated for dramatic and comedic effect.


      • mihrank November 2, 2014 / 10:42 pm

        Kitt – is there a solution? Or should I ask my mother for advise?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Kitt O'Malley November 3, 2014 / 11:32 am

          The gastroenterologist recommended periodically taking Cipro antibiotic (which I do not want to do). I am controlling my SIBO with a low FODMAP diet and occasionally take cinnamon in capsule form, which is a natural antibiotic. Oregano oil in capsule form is also used as a natural antibiotic. I was bloated because I ate too much corn syrup based Halloween candy.

          Hair loss is part of entering menopause, as well as a common medication side effect. I still have plenty of hair. For now, at least. 🙂


  8. dyane November 2, 2014 / 6:26 pm

    When I was taking a higher dose of lithium I had some hair loss. I had a bushy head of hair to begin with and while losing hair bothered me, I was apathetic since I was so depressed.
    Then my dose was lowered, and I now have minimal hair loss.

    I’ve never head of SIBO or the FODMAP diet – I don’t have my 1st colonoscopy for another 6 years, so that makes sense, but it’s great to know this info. now. Craig had his first colonoscopy and was “all clear” but again, he might wish to follow the FODMAP guidelines!

    Sorry to hear of the hair loss and your unhappy intestines & hope you feel much better over the next few days! XO

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 2, 2014 / 10:12 pm

      SIBO is a specific disorder. Not everyone has it. I would not recommend the low FODMAP diet unless one has SIBO. It is too restrictive.

      Liked by 2 people

      • dyane November 3, 2014 / 4:58 am

        Thanks Kitt! (I’m sorry you have SIBO, by the way. I forgot to take my compassion pill last night. I’m glad that you were proactive and got the colonoscopy when you were supposed to do so – unfortunately some put off necessary procedures even when they have good health insurance.)

        Liked by 1 person

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