What Happens If You Swallow Hair? (6 Surprising Facts)

what happens if you swallow hair

We usually dreamt of long beautiful Rapunzel-like hair. On the other hand, swallowing a hair strand is quite irksome and disgusting. But what to do if someone swallowed a hair accidentally? Can swallowing hair regularly gonna kill you or make you sick? Is the habit of ingesting hair a psychological disorder?

What happens if you swallow hair? Swallowing hair accidentally is not a big deal. But it can be a serious health hazard if you ingest a large clump of hair too often and even develop it as a habit. Undigested hair can form a solid clutter, a hairball, and lead to gut and intestinal infections.

When it comes to health, no compromise on hygiene, whereas swallowing hair both accidentally or intentionally is considered unhygienic. You can develop a couple of bacterial and fungi infections. Moreover, hair is non-biodegradable, it can make a bezoar and block your stomach if ingested on regular basis. 

Stay with us because this post will present interesting information and reveal surprising facts about swallowing hair. 

Let’s dive into the article!

What Happens If You Swallow a Long Hair

Imagine you are at a restaurant and you just ordered a bowl of soup. Before you enjoy your favorite soup, you spot a hair strand in it. You will definitely think about what will happen to your body if you swallow a long hair strand?

Swallowing long hair is a bit complicated but usually, only one hair would not do much harm to your internal system. It may get stuck for a while but will move down with food in your esophagus. After passing through the intestine it will be excreted out of your body.

Stay calm, drink a lot of water, and consume more fibrous food. Because it can benefit gastrointestinal peristalsis, and facilitate your excretory system.

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What Happens If We Eat Hair By Mistake

Can you swallow hair? 

Swallowing hair accidentally with or without food is not a worrisome situation. 

Normally it’s not dangerous or leads to health issues.

Remember, hair is made of non-degradable protein (Keratin). Our stomach is not capable of dissolving hair into its simple components. That is why a small strand of hair and other undigested food is passed out of your body along with feces.

Anyhow, people who intentionally swallow or ingest their hair are suffering from a psychiatric disorder called trichophagia. They are driven by some irresistible urge to pull out and swallow their own hair.

Can Swallowing Hair Kill You

Can eating hair lead to stomach problems?

Hair is not eatable stuff because our stomach is unable to digest its protein. You should avoid swallowing hair. 

Nothing will happen unless hair gets stuck in your throat and pierces the mucous membrane. If the hair is contaminated with some bacterial infection, it may likely affect your GI system. The formation of hairball or trichobezoar can lead to ulcers, serious body damage, or fatally block the GI tract. 

In Rapunzel Syndrome (eating a large volume of hair for many years), abdominal pain and vomiting are common issues due to stomach infections. In severe conditions, it can lead to wide inflammation, and malnutrition, and even cause multi-organ failure.

Is Hair in Food A Health Risk

What happens if you swallow a piece of hair?

Eating a piece of hair along with food is very rare. But it doesn’t pose a health risk if someone swallows a few hairs. According to FDA, there is no complaint of people falling sick after swallowing a single hair found in food. However, some may vomit due to irksome feelings.

Overall, the presence of hair in food is so benign that the possible number of hair in a dish is not specified in the Food Code Guidelines of the FDA.

What Happens If a Baby Swallow Hair

Toddlers taste everything just to explore the world around them. Like PICA, Swallowing hair fuzz is common in babies and can extend as a habit. It could also be a sign of malnutrition or poor diet.

Swallowing one or two hair is not much harmful. But it could be dangerous if your baby consumes clumps of hair too frequently. Over time, it could form a firm and big hair mass that can block the lining of the stomach and cause ulcers, anemia, weight loss, and severe health issues.

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Normally hair will pass out of the body but see your doctor if your child is used to swallowing hair too often. Also, visit the pediatrician to discuss this problem and the diet of your baby as well.

What Happens If Hair Goes In Stomach

Is eating hair dangerous?

If you eat hair once or twice by misstep, it’s all ok. But eating hair frequently and in large volumes could be dangerous and lead to serious stomach disorders. Ingested hair could make a giant hard mass and finally cause peritonitis or inflammation and block the stomach.

It’s hazardous if your child has developed this bad habit. Because swallowing hair constantly could cause ulcers or open sores along with serious health issues.

Does Hair Stay In Your Stomach Forever

Normally, the swallowed hair would not cause much harm, it will go down your stomach, and just end up naturally passing out in your waste. 

Since hair can’t be digested by the stomach because hair needs a high temperature, very acidic, and alkaline conditions that don’t exist in our stomach. In Rapunzel Syndrom, undigested hair stays in the stomach and forms a large mass of hair with an extended tail.

In some cases, Trichobezoar has resulted in broad inflammation and caused vital organs to shut down. A 16-year old girl in England died from this Rapunzel Syndrome.

How To Remove Swallowed Hair From The Stomach

Can hair get stuck in your throat?

Typically, hair gets stuck in your throat for a while but moves down later. If you feel a hairy sensation in your throat. No need to worry. Just drink soda water and eat a big loaf of bread along with butter. It will help the stuck hair to move down further.

 In case, you feel abdominal pain, or blood in your saliva, don’t try any trick. Seek medical advice or ENT to help out with this condition.

What is Rapunzel Syndrome

Is it true that swallowed hair will stay in your stomach?

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Yes, swallowed hair can accumulate in your stomach in the form of a bezoar or hairball as is evidenced in Rapunzel Syndrome.

Rapunzel Syndrome is a rare condition in which an unusual gastric trichobezoar with a long tail of hair strands is formed. It is evidenced in individuals, especially young girls who have an obsession with swallowing hair.                           

Rapunzel Syndrome is related to a psychiatric disorder, Trichotillomania in which the patients have a compelling urge to pull out their own hair, and Trichophagia’s habit of chewing and swallowing hair. The symptoms of Rapunzel Syndrom include vomiting and abdominal pain. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Swallowing Hair Harmful?

Normally, swallowing hair accidentally is not much harmful but it can pose a threat if it harms the mucous membrane. Your hair can transmit fungi and bacteria that can lead to stomach infections or hair loss. However, it is harmful if someone develops the morbid habit of hair ingestion.

Why Do You Eat Your Hair?

About 10 to 15% of those who compulsively ingest hair whether their own hair or others are suffering from a psychiatric condition known as trichophagia. This condition is usually related to the common disorder trichotillomania in which individuals have a compelling urge to pull out and eat their hair.

What Happens When You Swallow Hair Follicles?

Like fingernails, hair is also made of Keratin which can’t be digested and broken down simply by our body and even by the decomposers too. So, if you happen to swallow hair follicles occasionally whatever the cause is, they will naturally pass out of your excretory system along with undigested food.

Conclusive Thoughts

To conclude, swallowing a hair strand is not a big issue at all. You need not worry if you accidentally ingest a hair. Luckily, the swallowed hair will pass out of your body like other undigested food. But you should avoid swallowing hair as hair is indigested and could potentially cause GI infection.

However, consuming hair regularly is bizarre in that swallowed hair can accumulate in your stomach, and develop into a firm, thick mass such as a hairball. Swallowing hair in a larger quantity is a serious Psychiatric condition trichophagia that could cause several physical and mental health issues.

James Randolph

Hey, James is here with you. This blog is a powerful online resource to help you get instant answers to your superstitious beliefs, facts, and the reality of myths. Knowledge is your inner guidance system, and this blog empowers you to update, refine, reorganize and enhance your communication system. If you know well you can surely discuss facts with evidence. So, stay with us and be a master of what happens around you!

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