Look: What Caused a 6-Inch Hairball to Form in This Woman's Stomach?!

hair ball

Look: What Caused a 6-Inch Hairball to Form in This Woman's Stomach?!

This could happen to you.

Published October 7, 2016

Rapunzel syndrome, ever heard of it? If you are like most of us, you think it sounds like a condition where someone grows their hair forever without as much as a trim. However, it turns out to be something way more disgusting. 

Rapunzel syndrome was named after the long-haired girl in the fairytale. It is associated with trichotillomania and trichophagia, disorders where people compulsively pull out and eat their own hair. In Rapunzel syndrome, a hairball develops in the stomach and a long “tail” extends into the intestine, hence the name.

The BMJ Case Reports journal recently documented a case of a 38-year-old woman who had a severe case of Rapunzel syndrome.

In the case, the woman sought medical attention when she suddenly suffered from extreme vomiting and constipation. The 38-year-old had lost about 15 pounds in eight months.

She went to a hospital and doctors noticed her stomach was very swollen with gas and fluid. Doctors then performed a surgery to get to the root of the problem. Whilst in the operating room, a six-inch wide hairball was pulled from out of her stomach.

The “tail” extended down into the top of her intestines, where a smaller — about four centimeter — hairball was found.

After six days of medical treatment, the woman was released and sent for psychiatric evaluation. 

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: BarA Muratolu/Getty Images)


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