A bezoar is a ball of swallowed foreign material (usually hair or fiber) that collects in the stomach and fails to pass through the intestines.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Chewing on or eating hair or fuzzy materials (or indigestible materials such as plastic bags) can lead to the formation of a bezoar. The rate is very low and the risk is greater among mentally retarded or emotionally disturbed children. Generally bezoars are mostly seen in females aged 10 to 19.
- Stomach upset or distress
- Gastric ulcers
Signs and tests
The child may have a
The bezoar may need to be surgically removed (especially trichobezoars, which tend to be large). Sometimes small bezoars can be removed through a scope placed through the mouth and into the stomach (similar to an
Full recovery is expected.
Persistent vomiting can lead to
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you suspect your child has a bezoar.
If your child has had a hair bezoar in the past, trim the child’s hair short so he or she cannot put the ends in the mouth. Keep indigestible materials away from a child who has a tendency to put items in the mouth.
Be sure to remove the child’s access to fuzzy or fiber-filled materials.