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Q:

Do humans get hair balls like cats?

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Not exactly, but your own hair can kill you. Hair bezoars (trichobezoars) are pathological masses of swallowed hair that form, harden, and become lodged in the human gastrointestinal tract. We have the capacity to form bezoars, as do such animals as goats and Persian cats. Human bezoars can cause abdominal obstruction, hemorrhage, and perforations. Death results in 30 percent of diagnosed cases left untreated. A bezoar-related death is often prolonged and excruciatingly painful. Hair bezoars occur occasionally in people who chew their hair, most frequently young girls and women. People who chew their hair inevitably swallow some too. If this is done habitually, a hair bezoar can result. The person suspects nothing until symptoms emerge. Hair bezoars are less of a health problem these days because hairstyles for both males and females are shorter. Medical treatment for human bezoars can include endoscopy (viewing the bezoar through an inserted small, flexible fiberoptic tube), ... more
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