After complaining about severe abdominal pain and constant vomiting, an Indian woman had an enormous ball of hair removed from her gut.
The 20-year-old suffers from a condition known as Rapunzel syndrome, also known as trichophagia, where one is compelled to eat one's own hair.
Emotional or psychiatric conditions
The condition is often associated with another condition – trichotillomania – where people feel compelled to pull their own hair out.
The hairball that doctors removed from the Indian woman's abdomen weighed just under 1kg.
The procedure was done at the General Hospital in Rajawadi, a suburb of Mumbai, India. The Daily Mail reported that the mass of hair had a "tail", because the larger mass stays in the stomach while the rest tapers off into the small intestine.
Trichstop reports that trichophagia involves eating pulled out hair, or simply eating the ends of one's hair. The condition is said to be triggered by several emotional or psychiatric conditions, such as depression, stress or abuse.
Another 25-year-old woman had started complaining about severe abdominal and stomach pain a few days after giving birth. The Daily Mail reported that doctors initially thought her pain was caused by complications with her uterus or placenta as a result of giving birth, they found a hairball weighing 1.5kg in her stomach.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A review from the US National Library of Medicine states a hairball is medically classified as a "bezoar", which means an indigestible mass. It is most commonly found in the stomach, but it can be found in the gastrointestinal tract as well.
The hairball continues to grow as more indigestible foods or fibres are accumulated, and hair isn’t the only fibre which can form an indigestible mass in the gut.
Phytobezoars consist of indigestible fruit or vegetable fibres and lactobezoars consist of indigestible milk curd.
In order to treat the condition, one needs to find the underlying condition or the reason behind eating and pulling out one's hair.
A couple months ago, a UK teen died from peritonitis – inflammation of the thin tissue in the abdomen and most of the organs.
Lincolnshire Live reported that according to Jasmine Beever's post mortem she had a hairball in her stomach, which became infected and caused an ulcer. The ulcer subsequently burst, which caused her organs to shut down.
Beever was at college when she collapsed, and after going home to rest in bed, she woke up to find her skin blotchy. After losing consciousness she was taken to hospital by ambulance. Hospital staff tried to resuscitate her, bit only briefly succeeded – 15 minutes later she passed away.
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