A disturbing incident has emerged from China about a 9-year-old girl who ate hair to gain her parents’ attention. According to reports, doctors in the eastern Jiangsu province removed a hairball weighing almost 1 kg (2.2 pounds) from the girl’s stomach after she experienced symptoms, including nausea and vomiting. The hairball had formed a spherical shape inside her stomach, mixed with food and gastric juice, and took more than 10 hours to remove due to the girl’s young age and narrow oesophagus.1
Pica and its Triggers1
Pica is a disorder characterized by the consumption of substances that are typically not considered to be food. It is often found among children and is generally triggered by psychological issues. In the case of this young girl, she attempted to get attention from her parents by swallowing hair. Zhao Chengguang, the overseeing gastroenterologist, recommended to the parents that psychological treatment would be a more effective preventive measure against recurrence.
The incident has garnered millions of views across various social media platforms, with many people expressing their shock and surprise that the parents did not discover their child’s mental illness sooner. Several users labelled the parents as “irresponsible.” One user commented, ” The child had been neglected by the parents, resulting in a significant delay before they became aware of the situation,” while another wrote, “Poor child! Children who receive insufficient parental care are more likely to develop psychological problems.”
This incident is not the first of its kind in China. In a similar story, a 14-year-old girl from China’s Hangzhou city had a 1-kilogram hairball removed from her stomach in December 2020. She had been eating hair for over a year due to her parents’ negligence following her younger sibling’s birth.
Prevention and Care1
It is crucial to understand that children who do not receive enough attention and care from their parents are at higher risk of developing psychological problems. Parents must take the time to listen to their children and understand their emotional needs. They should also watch for unusual behaviour and seek help immediately if they suspect their child may have a mental illness.
The story of the 9-year-old girl eating human hair to gain her parents’ attention is heartbreaking. It highlights the importance of recognizing the signs of mental illness in children and seeking help before it is too late. Parents must take responsibility for their children’s psychological and physical well-being and seek professional help if necessary. Pica is a severe condition that can lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated. The best course of action is to prevent it from happening in the first place by providing children with the care, love, and attention they require.
- Enerio D. 1kg Hairball removed from stomach of child eating hair for attention. [Cited: May 15, 2023]. Available from: https://www.ibtimes.com/1kg-hairball-removed-stomach-child-eating-hair-attention-3604787