Although BFRBs may, in some forms, be relatively benign, when they are done in excess they can cause serious medical problems. For the subset of individuals who swallow pulled hairs (a BFRB called trichophagia), gastrointestinal distress or even digestive blockage called a trichobezoar (or hairball) can occur, sometimes requiring surgical removal. This is a very serious medical condition that may require immediate action. It is important to see a doctor if your child eats their hair. Regarding skin picking, it is important to keep wounds clean and treat them with antibiotic cream to prevent infection. In some cases, frequently practiced BFRBs may result in repetitive motion injuries.
It is critically important that you keep the lines of communication open with your child in order to support their overall physical health and emotional well-being. The more informed you become about BFRBs, the better advocate you can be for your child.