Doctors Remove Giant Hairball From Woman Who Likes Eating Her Hair
Sat, January 28, 2023

Doctors Remove Giant Hairball From Woman Who Likes Eating Her Hair


Always be careful of what you put in your mouth! 

A woman who was addicted to pulling out and eating her own hair had a giant hairball removed from her stomach. The Independent UK, a Russian-owned British newspaper, reported on their website that the 38-year-old woman claimed that she was suffering from nausea, vomiting, and a swollen abdomen. 

When she arrived at a hospital in the United States, the doctors found out that she suffered from dramatic weight loss. The unnamed woman was said to have lost 15 pounds over the previous eight months after she lost her appetite. She was immediately rushed into surgery, where the doctors found a giant hairball lodged right in her digestive tract. 


Photo Credits: BMJ Case Reports (via Independent UK)


The hairball has an odd, small “tail” of hair that trailed into her intestines, and it also had a second four-centimeter hairball that was just lodged deeper in her bowels. The doctors diagnosed the woman with a rare condition called Rapunzel Syndrome, which has only been documented 88 times in medical journals and other literature.

Based on an article published in the BMJ Journal, the syndrome is caused by trichotillomania, a kind of disorder that makes the patient have an irresistible urge to pull out their own hair, and worse, eat it. 


Photo Credit: iStock/SIphotography (via Independent UK)


The disorder, named after the infamous long-haired Rapunzel from the fairy tale, is an extremely unusual condition that can cause deadly side effects and complications because of a huge amount of hair lodged in a person’s stomach.

Usual symptoms of this condition include nausea, vomiting, irregular bowel habits, intestinal bleeding, weight loss, appendicitis, and perforation. Thankfully, surgeons successfully removed both hairballs from the woman, and she was released six days after she was first confined in the hospital. The doctors also recommended that the woman seek psychological therapy immediately.




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