Book a FREE consultation  
For a free consultation or assistance, please call 020 7730 6666

Browse by Category

Trichophagia: Compulsive Hair Eating

Trichophagia The Belgravia CentreMany people haven’t heard of Trichophagia, and even for those who have, understanding this psychological disorder can be a challenge. Today we take a look at the symptoms of Trichophagia and the best options for treatment.

What are the signs or symptoms?

Trichophagia refers to the compulsive eating of hair, and usually occurs alongside hair pulling (Trichotillomania). Those affected by the condition usually target their own hair, pulling out strands or patches and eating the ends; although sometimes the hair shaft will be consumed too. Hair can build up in the gastrointestinal tract and often causes pain and indigestion. The condition is based around ritual, and chewing or touching the hair is a big part of this. Sometimes those affected may even eat other people’s hair.

Complications of Trichophagia

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported the story of an 18 year old woman who visited her doctor with symptoms including weight loss, vomiting and abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with Trichophagia which had obviously been affecting her for several years. Her stomach was blocked by a bezoar (a 10 pound mass of black, curly hair) and she had to undergo emergency surgery to remove this. Whilst this is a rather unusual and extreme story, eating your hair can cause a whole range of problems including gum disease, gastrointestinal blockage or tearing, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and diarrhoea.

Treating Trichophagia

Trichophagia and Trichotillomania are considered to be psychological disorders, so it is recommended that anyone who thinks they are experiencing symptoms makes an appointment with a psychiatrist, for diagnosis and treatment. A cognitive approach to therapy is usually taken, to help to break the rituals associated with the condition and lessen the compulsion to pull and eat the hair.

Because Trichophagia can be so damaging to hair, often leaving those affected with bald patches and thinning hair, it is also a good idea to visit a hair loss specialist as soon as possible. Your hair follicles could be damaged in the long-term if the condition is left untreated, so addressing the areas affected with a personalised hair loss treatment plan can help hair to grow back, providing your follicles are still functioning. If Trichophagia is left untreated for several years, symptoms can worsen, causing damage to hair follicles and irreversible scarring.

The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our online diagnostic form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our hair loss success stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 0800 077 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.

Share this article

No Comments

No comments yet.

Comment on this article

* required field

Will not be published

Online Consultation

Submit an instant online consultation so that one of Belgravia’s hair loss specialists can diagnose your condition and recommend an effective course of treatment, wherever you live.

24 Feb

Success Story Alert! New Female Hair Loss Treatment Entry

A new entry has just been added to Belgravia’s Female Pattern Hair Loss Treatment Success Stories gallery. Since starting her Belgravia treatment, Ms K, pictured, has seen a huge improvement to her hair and is pleased with the service she has received Find out what this client had to say and see her regrowth results close up, […]

Read full article »
24 Feb

Guidelines Revised for Hair Pull Test Used in Assessing Hair Loss

One of the tools that can be used in assessing whether or not someone is experiencing certain types of hair loss is known as a hair pull test. This involves exactly what you’d expect: a small cluster of hairs is gently pulled to see how many fall out. Unfortunately, this is not a hugely scientific way […]

Read full article »
23 Feb

Success Story Alert! New Male Hair Loss Treatment Entry

A new entry has just been added to Belgravia’s Male Hair Loss Treatment Success Stories gallery. This case of hereditary hair loss is improving since the patient started using his bespoke Belgravia treatment course. Find out what this client had to say and see his regrowth results close up, or find out more about treating Male Pattern […]

Read full article »