Disgusting find pulled from teen’s stomach

WARNING: Graphic.

Doctors have removed a monster hairball weighing 1.5kg from a girl’s stomach after a rare disorder made her eat her own hair.

The 15-year-old was admitted to hospital in Vallipuram, India, weighing just 35kg after reporting decreased appetite, weight loss and repeated episodes of vomiting.

But when doctors opened her up, they couldn’t believe the size of the hairball which had matted inside her stomach, making it impossible for her to digest any food or retain any nutrients.

Her family was unaware that the teen had been compulsively eating her own hair for the past two years, and doctors diagnosed her with Rapunzel Syndrome – a rare disorder caused by the ingestion of the hair (trichophagia).

The syndrome happens when the hair passes through into the small intestine, and like in the case of this girl, produces a tail of hair which goes out of the stomach.

“The girl was brought to the hospital with complaints of abdominal pain and vomiting and underwent scanning,” Dr R Raja Mahendran, a surgical gastroenterologist at RRM Gastro Hospital, said.

“Initially, we thought that it was an abdominal mass but a closer examination with endoscopy revealed that the teen had a habit of eating her own hairs.”

Video shared of the operation shows surgeons removing the matted ball of hair from her body, pulling it out of a large incision on her abdomen.

The girl has since been discharged and is said to be recovering well from her ordeal.

Rapunzel Syndrome is sometimes associated with the hair-pulling disorder trichotillomania.

Experts have estimate only around 65 cases have been recorded worldwide.


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