Accidentally Swallow Hair: What will Happen?

Short Answer: If you accidentally swallow hair, it is usually harmless and will pass through your digestive system without causing any problems.

Hair is a thin strand of keratin, a type of protein, that grows from the follicles on the skin of humans and animals.

Hair has various functions, such as providing insulation, protection, and sensory perception.

If you accidentally swallow hair, it is usually harmless and will pass through your digestive system without causing any problems.

This is because hair is made of keratin, which is a non-digestible protein that cannot be broken down by the enzymes in your stomach or intestines.

Keratin can resist the acidic environment of the stomach and the alkaline environment of the intestines.

It can also withstand high temperatures and pressures.

Therefore, hair is not affected by the normal digestive processes and will eventually be excreted out of the body along with other waste materials.

It is quite uncommon to swallow hair intentionally, but some people may have a psychological disorder called trichophagia, which is a compulsive urge to pull out and eat their own hair.

This can lead to serious health complications, such as the formation of hairballs or trichobezoars in the stomach or intestines.

These hairballs can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and even intestinal obstruction or perforation, which may require surgery to remove.

You can prevent or treat trichophagia by seeking professional help from a psychiatrist or a psychologist, who can help you identify and address the underlying causes of your hair-eating habit.

They can also provide you with cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, or other interventions to help you overcome your compulsion and cope with stress or anxiety.

To avoid accidental swallowing of hair, you can practice good hygiene and grooming habits, such as washing your hair regularly, brushing or combing your hair gently, and trimming or shaving your hair if necessary.

You can also avoid eating or drinking near sources of hair, such as pets, hair salons, or barber shops.

You can also check your food and beverages for any hair strands before consuming them.

Finally, remember, hair is not edible and should not be swallowed.

If you accidentally swallow a small amount of hair, do not panic and drink plenty of water to help it pass through your system.

If you swallow a large amount of hair or have a habit of eating hair, seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid serious complications.

About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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