Doctors Untangle the Strange Case of the Giant Hairball
A previously healthy 18-year-old woman who consulted a team of gastrointestinal specialists complained of a five-month history of pain and swelling in her abdomen, vomiting after eating and a 40-pound weight loss.
After a scan of the woman's abdomen showed a large mass, doctors lowered a scope through her esophagus. It revealed a large hairball occluding nearly the entire stomach.
On questioning, the patient stated that she had had a habit of eating her hair for many years -- a condition called trichophagia. "It seemed like she'd been doing this for several years," Levy, a gastroenterologists, said.
The woman underwent surgery to remove the mass of black, curly hair, which weighed 10 pounds (4.5kg) and measured 15 inches by 7 inches by 7 inches, the doctors said.
Five days later, she was eating normally and was sent home. A year later, the pain and vomiting were gone, the patient had regained 20 pounds "and reports that she has stopped eating her hair."
Tags: Hairball | Bezoar | Stomach | Trichophagia