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Conditions

Hair-Chewing

Hair chewing - Licensed under CC from Chefranden - http://www.flickr.com/photos/chefranden/981684608/

We all know that young children love to put all sorts of things in their mouths, and sucking or chewing their own hair is a common comfort habit, like thumb-sucking, which many kids adopt for a time, before naturally growing out of it.

There are many reasons as to why kids do this, but it’s a completely natural instinct to seek comfort or stress relief by putting things in the mouth. If babies didn’t have that urge they wouldn’t start to feed, and the psychologist Sigmund Freud developed a whole theory based around ‘oral fixation’. Compulsive hair-chewing and swallowing has the medical name trichophagia, and though the act itself needn’t be harmful or the symptom of a deeper psychological disorder, it does carry some genuine risks.

Hair can be home to all sorts of germs and bacteria picked up in the atmosphere and, if kids are older and using hair-care products, it can carry the residue of hairspray or shampoo. Hair can also harbour nits and lice, fungal infections, and other toxins released from the body.

But the most serious danger for kids who actually swallow their own hair is that it builds up in the stomach, forming a hairball like those found in cats. In 1999 there was a reported case of a 17-year old UK girl who died as the result of an accumulation of her own chewed-up hair in her stomach.

Persuading kids out of bad habits like hair-chewing can be a tricky, delicate, long-term task. If they are still young try providing them with a substitute like a teddy. Praise them when they seem to be making progress, and comfort, rather than scold, them if they struggle. Gentle yet firm persuasion is likely to be more effective than force or threats. If they are older, and particular situations seem to trigger hair-chewing, talk to them directly about why they want to do it, and explain why it’s not just a bad habit, but a potentially dangerous one too. Your paediatrician can provide more help and advice on how to deal with this sort of persistent, compulsive behaviour.

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my daughter sucks her hair too and shes 7





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Both of my daughters chew on all types of things my oldest bein the worst. And now she has begun to chew her hair... Regardless of what we do. She just chews away. Now her younger sister has picked up the habit... Any suggestions? ( we have Tryed haircuts)





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I chewed on my hair for years growing up. Never chewed my nails though. I did eventually grow out of it in my teens. Now I have a young daughter who is starting to do the same thing!





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sorry for this may sound very rude so be prepared or do not read further. I can not imagine how much you love your daughter and her hair but so far everyone has come up with a fantastic answers and if still nothing works you have few options. I personally think that you should talk it through with her using words she can understand. Another option is to show her hair models from glossy magazines and emphasize how gorgeous their hair is because they do not pull and eat it but try not to create a negative self image or dent her confidence. You can tell her that there are children who unfortunately are so ill that they lose their hair. Finally if nothing works and if you have tried anything and everything just shave her hair I am really sorry if this offends you.





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Hi my daughter is 2n a half. She started to pull her hair out n eat it when she was between 14 n 16 months. I've been to the doctors and health visitor but had no help. I've had to pull strands of hair out Of her bum hole n she crys in pain. I've tried socks on her hands. Please Help as I'm at my wits end and don't know where to go next. Im more worried as to the damage it's doing inside her and also she has gawjus curly hair. Please help.





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my mother in-law had this with her daughter she used to pull chunks out of her head. in the end she kept it very short until she found comfort in something else she had beautiful tight ringlets when she was going threw her hair pulling

my 9 month old daughter always looks for hair on the carpet or tries to put my hair in her mouth when tired, i always take it off her but them she tries to pull strands out of my hair just to get some. at first i thoiugh she was just learning and most babies done this but now i have seen a pattern and it worrying that it will be the start of trichotillomania, please advise.





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If your daughter is developing trichotillomaina, she should be constently tugging, playing, or messing with hair on her head, eyelashes or eyebrows. But if you are getting worried, go to the doctor, its nothing to be embarrest about, i know, i have it. if you start to see bald patches or hair missing, then visit your family doctor or GP.

my 12 year old daughter stomach rumbles when she isnt hungry. it makes a really loud noise and goes on for about 10 seconds somethimes what should i do as its affecting her learning because she says its ebarrasing because people can hear it because its so loud





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Hi my daughter has been to the doctor and was referred for help, she has completed a session of cbt that helps her to deal with any stress she may have, for all other mums and dads who may have a child suffering with tric the tips I can give you which I have tried are: finger bandages, gloves, stress ball, asking your child to help you do something if you see them pulling - distraction, but the best so far is vaseline, she puts it on her eyebrows and eye lashes when she comes in from school and also asking her to play/hang out with her friends more :) ohhh and lots more talking but not about tric as this seems to trigger hair pulling , she has her good weeks and her bad but I try not to let it stress me too much, good luck x





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my little girl is 9 yrs old and she sucks her hair what will it do?





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Mine does the same. Put bitter apple spray on it daily. It helps a lot!

i am 14 and i am constantly pulling out strands of hair and chewing it, its a habit i've trying to break for ages but i just can't?! Do i have a medical condition-trichotillomania? how can i stop?- tying my hair up doesn't help..





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yes you do have trichtillomania you should try and talk to a phycitrist about it they should be able to help. Consider trying to distract yourself when you have the urge to pull your hair out keep busy you should wear gloves and maybe a hat.

Omg we are the same I'm 14 i started biting and pulling out strand of hair when I was 12 and I never liked how my hair looked up or in a bun so I always kept it down so that was a big temptation but recently about a lil after I turned 14 I was getting concerned cause I was visually seeing my hair get thinner throughout those two years and my parents are about 45 and 50 and they have way more hair than me and also thicker than mines cause having lots of thick straight/wavy hair runs in the family and my hair is in layeres and I can visually see big chunks of hair I pulled out in those two years,I can see them growing and I would mostly pull out hair in my bottom layer cause at first I thought I had way too much hair and it took forever to straighten or curl,and. Now my bottom layer has two skinny strands along w/ the hair that's growing back from the hair I pulled out.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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