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Danger! Eating hair can kill you

Here’s an interesting news report about a woman who had a 10-pound hairball removed from her stomach. It seems she went to the hospital about a year ago complaining of pain, abdominal swelling and vomiting after she ate. She also lost 40 pounds in 5 months.

The problem? She had trichophagia, a condition in which a person eats their own hair. Doctors said she must have been doing it for years. The hairball was surgically removed and the patient is doing fine.

But it just goes to show you that cats aren’t the only ones who can get hairballs. If you think you have trichophagia, consult a doctor. There have been cases where a hairball was fatal.


Have you ever tasted your tresses? Be honest! Leave a comment and confess.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michael February 1, 2014, 12:54 am

    I’ve been eating my own hair for years but generally chew it down to a paste so really don’t think I’m at risk

    • Heather Fiona Rossie February 28, 2020, 1:24 am

      My hair is very long, I have accidentally swallowed my hair a few times. I feels nauseating and get tummy cramps until I pass it. One particular time it came out length wise. I had to pull on the hair to get it out of my colon.

  • shaniya September 17, 2015, 4:42 pm

    can you die by choking on your hair??????

    • Randy Schueller September 17, 2015, 9:35 pm

      You can die by choking on just about anything.

  • cassandra February 23, 2016, 9:13 pm

    i am 12 and i still eat my hair it makes my hurt but i cant help it i have done it sence i was 2 i hope i stop the habbit :'(

    • Randy Schueller February 24, 2016, 7:09 am

      We hope so too, Cassandra! Have you talked to anyone about this?

    • rb March 9, 2016, 10:34 pm

      If you are still eating your hair, I’m sure you could potentially get very ill. If you don’t have an adult you can trust to get help, please email me so that I could be a friend that you could talk to. I’m a very nice lady with a daughter of my own. I would be happy to talk to you. I’m also trustworthy and confidential. I am not a dr., nor do I study in this area. I happened to stumble upon your post and would love to help you.

      • Esther January 15, 2019, 3:10 pm

        Please I have been chewing my hair for almost 9years and I can’t stop.I want you to help me am suffering too much am done with high school all my friends are in braids but for me my hair is always down Thanks

  • Rb March 9, 2016, 10:37 pm

    Please contact me, I would love to talk to you and try to help. I’m not a dr., I’m not an expert comma but I do think that a nice chat with a friend could probably help. I could be your friend. I wish you the best if I don’t hear from you.

  • keyona June 27, 2016, 10:30 pm

    i feel something in my throat from eating my hair….i think i really neef to stop

  • Zinny July 4, 2016, 7:22 am

    Hello everyone on the forum, i am 18 y/o and m and am very worried for my health, i have been eating my own hair for around a year now and have severe trichomania, lately i have been getting weird digestion issues likd acid reflux and adominal pain and feeling bloated and am concerned if i should see a doctor regarding these symptons,i dont constantly pull and ingest only sometimes but i think its daily i just dont notice, very concerned and want to know if i will be fine, Thanks Zinny

    • Randy Schueller July 4, 2016, 9:39 am

      Hi Zinny. You should see a doctor for your stomach issues. Good luck!

  • Girl July 20, 2016, 10:52 pm

    I ate a piece of my pillow and it looked like hair but I ate a tiny piece and that’s it! Will I have to have surgery or anything happen??

  • Allen July 27, 2016, 12:09 am

    How can I stop eating my hair I want to stop but I can’t I Been eating my hair for 2 years and I want to stop

  • Betsy August 18, 2016, 11:18 am

    The information originally two parts… Hopefully now one. I am sharing for history to consider my personal story on your subject after 62 years. The secondary impulse is I want an answer in regards to possible long-term gastric injury. 512354 6768 Elizabeth J Mccutcheon 8400 Jamestown Drive number 104 Austin Texas 78758 or 512 373 2247 thank you very much you have shows great bravery in attempting to address this this case.This is my story I am now 62 years old and over the years periodically looking back this time I found your article. I have never communicated the details in my story that will soon as follow I am using narrartion – hand fracture. So no assumptions can be made about my lack of literacy.
    I was born in Connecticut 1955 at a submarine base which we lived many times. We live in Virginia South Carolina California Hawaii during my youth. Fathers Navy Commandeed Polaris subs….. the Russians were coming. I at no time felt unsafe.
    Things stand out I need to mention as possible contributing factors. One my mother was a active cigarette consumer. Secondly at about age 7 I developed asthma witch was treated seriously. ( I inherited from my father side of the family)
    I remember my action and was told happened. As soon as my hair grew long enough as a toddler. Not realizing this was inappropriate I started pulling my hair piece by piece no preference as to area I removed it from whatsoever and would immediately chew it and swallow it….. Obviously surprised
    To be corrected. The doctor was virtually without a clue how to diagnose. As my mother decide he glibly advised well, out damn spot….cut the hair. ( And this is impressive left from reading your paper concerns dispute any sexual ratio…… I think women are often under diagnosed do sexual bias in hair culture…. Also men with advanced following short hair does reveal any missing areas of missing far more easily – myself and many of my friends like a Norman Rockwell painting are often seen casually twirling their hair while they read + several bipolar meetings is not uncommon by the end of time for everyone in the group to be simultaneously twirling their hair in the identical direction)After my hair was made less available my behavior continued in secret. Which must’ve been pretty hard. It exacerbated into my freshman year. What began nothing Developed into espionage and secrecy and I suppose sport. I would examine the clump of hair notating each one different.the different colors, thickness, texture, variances of curling. ( Note my family has extremely luxurious hair the mail and have mono Brow syndrome) time to develop ritual I would prefer the wirier darker texture of variance and on combination of curling from one end to the other I started to focus attention to the sound and rhythm I could make with my teeth cutting creating rhythm s ending with swallowing every piece. Time was what corrupted what was innocent impulse, into adolescence an espionage game that created tranquility solitude end a really strange form I was gaffe in second grade of self satisfaction. This progressed through my freshman year through braces ( the only time I was caught was by my orthodontist. I had gotten sloppy…… it is easy to see how overtime what was a simple automatic gesture grow to invade my character in untold ways. ( Other considerations my mother was a heavy smoker my entire adolescence. I developed as a toddler severe asthma from my father side of the family and was death in my right ear during second grade due to fluid that collected on that eardrum it was then I learned when you were told to relax beware before excuse the Relax meant about eight nurses to help will hold you down and puncture your eardrum with an ice pick the weekly treatment was in the office they would blow my ear up with fluid hanging down from what looked like a dental chair I also had a crude take home demolition version to use three times daily.
    The one comment stool had made still sticks with me they declared me nicknamed motormouth the quietest and most polite child ever! Ha! The next event was involvement in a trial where I was held down in an electric chair like device with forearms up my arms were dotted with over 50 known allergens a sharp device then scratched my skin allowing contact with the allergen in some manner they calibrated the individual allergic responses and created a personal elixir to be injected weekly attempting gained tolerance. I followed this protocol still I was in line as a freshman not able to inject myself into two identical twins who were before me in line for nurse mixed up the viles, nothing adverse happened but that was it for me if they were not going to let me injected myself no one was….. for dad this was a hard one to argue he finally said you need it you pay for it. I don’t know if this is at all objective but two of bands occurred simultaneously freshman year I started smoking pot and stop fixating completely on my hair. Aside from pointing out those two events I have no-operating theory asked to what caused the abandonment. ( Another factor one inventive way the doctor managed my day today asthma was the alternating of three drugs one day chlorotromitin, the next Dimetapp, the third day Sudafed. This proved
    The most successful for my allergies not so good and staying alert during school . I learned nothing when I was 19 I joined the Army after which I use my G.I. Bill I got a Welch foundation scholarship by baby Kaffa and a 4.0 majoring in chemistry I have had
    About for successful careers. At age 35 my life long put a gun to your head migraines I did find that my oldest cousin vanished….. Replaced by non-ignorable bipolar manifestations as it turns out ( because I knew something was wrong I read a book when feeling good is feeling bad it was suggested you research primarily your maternal relatives health histories well thi proved awkward my poor mother pried open my dads side of history a grandmother and aunt who for reasons they have no idea why had their thyroid removed both at a young age my father developed middle-age type one diabetes and died after five years on dialysis I did however find out that my oldest cousin on that side two years younger than me had severe bipolar childhood trial so much for younger brother was motivated to study psychology became a criminal insane prison supervisor for one of five Texas prison districts that was all I could find out) two things I probably should not leave out at age 21 because of an IUD /PID ovarian cancer was discovered early. ( Too bad they did not know about early menopause) 5 years ago I was hospitalized in a non-VA hospital on emergency with gastroenteritis while there an MRI was done the results were lost as I was transferred that available into the arms of the VA the MRI results never turned up. On a regular visit to my psychiatrist she read from my files OIC they believe you’re right upper right quadrant pain to be of psychiatric origin. Saying nothing got in my car and drove directly to Saint David’s turning their records office upside down pay them $25 for the pleasure of looking on page 4 under diagnosis and plain large bowl bonds it said renal carcinoma well the VA saved my ass. And actually so did I.
    As you can surmise my hair fixation has always been a question in my own sanity. I did however come to one conclusion that as a toddler that what a baby chooses to eat is based on nutritional not unlearned social behaviors.
    Just like the two cancers before I have this uncanny that only I can surmise more cAncer
    In my gut. My father from Nevada left me gambling hostile. To illustrate my conviction in my suspicion I would take all the gold in Russia to Vegas and place it on one
    Number alone. I have those lesions in the area your favorite describes tail of the broader dangling down from the stomach into areas of the lower intestine that imaging of any sort falls short. ( I am quite sure I have systemics leaky bowel)
    More than one asking is involved in my is a big of fermentative testimony to you what I need is to know if such a lesion in myself contributes to my parents health crisis. Also I was embarrassed for you but also quite astounded you went ahead and wrote this paper with literally nothing concrete consistent basis scientifically speaking. I try not to obsess over this little avenue of my life.
    ( I will venture an opinion a little detail of having absolutely no information forthcoming from family members possessing this mannerism more revealing than if anybody had confirmed it. For me silence alone is a huge affirmative! In my case I believe not a single family member in anyone’s recognition exhibited anything even resembling “my little sport”.

  • Michael December 21, 2016, 4:53 pm

    Pls pls pls I have been eating my hair and the roots with it and I chew it down to very little piece for a year now am scared to tell my parents pls help ASAP I WANT TO STOP NOW

  • anonymous.. January 22, 2017, 6:33 pm

    i think i have a problem with eating my hair , i dont pull my hair out or anything and i dont do it all the time , its rare but i’m afraid it can cause some problems later in my life , my parents arwnt aware and no one knows about it , i’m 16 btw.

  • Jaida March 2, 2017, 6:21 pm

    I have been pulling my hair out and eating it and swallowing it since i was in 4th grade and im in 6th grade and in 4th grade i pulled my eyelashes out and ate them and then 5th grade i pulled my eyebrows out and ate them and kinda pulled my hair anx ate it to in 5th and now 6th grade i havent stop and in the morning i gag and throw up and i will choke kinda on it cause it gets stuck in my throat and now my stomach always hurts in the morning and i sweat more to in the morning and feel sick and i do have ADHD and Anxiety disorder what should i do my doctor knows

  • fasil May 14, 2017, 1:34 am

    i also ate my hair… . i am 15… i am.. eating it from some 6 months… .. and i will leave.. it.. should i consult a doctor

  • Dr September 16, 2017, 2:03 am

    I’m so scared… i started with eating thread whenever i felt like chewing, then i got addicted.. now i moved to my hair, i try to chew it to paste so as to avoid any side effects but i’m scared for myself and i’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about it

  • srikant mandal October 15, 2017, 12:34 pm

    i have been eating hair root for 20 years. i have also been a patient of piles for last 4 years around. now a days for last one year, i am feeling severe pain in my left side stomach. sometimes, even if i dont eat anything, i feel the pain. i m very much worried since i belong to a lower middle class family and cant afford if a surgery is required as i read in internet, this habit can make a hair ball that can be removed by surgery only… what should i do? is it really because of eating hair??? kindly help me.

    • jan March 27, 2018, 12:11 am

      You need to see a doctor. If you have pain in your left side its probably what it is… I have been eating hair for probably 15 years, only the root and i chew it up. But even i am worried that this will happen to me…

  • Zoey Futscher May 22, 2018, 4:27 pm

    I don’t understand

  • Charlie March 31, 2019, 5:38 pm

    I am thirteen and have oth trichopagia and trichotillmania. Oof hopefully I die.

  • Carly Blessing May 15, 2019, 9:07 pm

    I have been pulling my hair out and eating it due to anxiety and I get disappointed that I might get sick.
    Please let me know if there is something I could do to stop this.

  • Ra September 10, 2019, 3:48 pm

    I am 13 going to be 14 i pulling my hair in year 6 but stopped until the end of year seven i went bold and still haven’t stopped but I’m trying to now any advice?

    • Perry Romanowski September 20, 2019, 1:02 pm

      You should talk to a professional counselor.

  • Maisie October 10, 2019, 1:10 am

    So I’m thirteen and I’ve been chewing hair for about two three years . I also used to pull but that’s stopped now. I never swallowed hair but when I chewed I think tiny pieces of hair may have gone inside me, the size of an eyelash or eyebrow size hair. Am i at risk?

  • J November 12, 2019, 12:10 am

    (17 Year Old Male)

    I’ve had Trichotillomania/ Trichophagia along with Dermaphagia since about 3rd grade. I’m a senior in high school now. I’ve always found the grinding sensation of the hairs between my front teeth to be soothing. I don’t know how I got addicted to swallowing the bits afterward, I assume it stems from my anxious tendencies.

    It’s sad to see these younger and older people in the same position of shame, guilt, embarrassment, etc.. First off, telling someone about this condition is always hard and unconventional. Most people just don’t understand what it’s like to be trapped within this habit; to them it seems so avoidable. I’ve never sought professional help, but I have told my parents and friends about some of my habits.
    Don’t let this condition ruin your self-image!
    You’re not alone in this, no matter how extreme/ different you feel.
    I don’t want to reveal my identity over the internet, but please reach out to my email which I created just for this if you would like to talk with someone. manicbody@gmail.com

  • Carly Blessing February 27, 2020, 10:43 pm

    I’ve been trying to stop myself from pulling my hair out and eating but I can’t stop. I need help!

    • Anonymous March 23, 2020, 12:09 am

      I’ve had it for 12 years now I have had surgery to get the hair out 6 years ago probably need another one cause I eat so much then again it come out in my poop now so it’s different the disease is rare and weird … don’t know how it start but I had to stop I am pregnant and have to protect my baby so when I want to eat I just eat food , put my hair up in a cover up