My child eats her hair. Can this hurt her?

Children who eat their own hair, particularly girls with longer hair, can develop a serious problem.

The hair, which is an indigestible material, can collect in the digestive tract. This in turn can accumulate into a solid mass known as a trichobezoar that causes a blockage in the intestines. Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and a feeling of being full soon after eating. Treatment involves surgical removal of the hairball.

Children who eat their hair should be seen by their pediatrician.

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, March 2019

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