Doctors remove 48cm long hairball from teenager

Doctors remove 48cm long hairball from teenager

As it turns out, cats and cows aren't the only ones having to deal with the occasional hairy obstruction...

hair bezoar

Many animals have a habit of licking their own fur (for hygienic purposes) and sometimes the fur that has been ingested can start to cause some discomfort.

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So they bring up said hairball and all is well.

Unfortunately, not all animals are created the same. 

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While many have the ability to get rid of these obstructions on their own, there are more than one species that do not have it that easy.

One of them being humans.

That's why one 17-year-old's only option was to undergo surgery after a massive hairball was busy bursting through her stomach.

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BMJ Case Reports recently published a case study in which a girl, who had wished to remain anonymous, was diagnosed with a mental health condition that contributed to this medical emergency.

Trichotillomania and trichophagia are both very serious mental health conditions that can also cause great physical harm, through a condition called "Rapunzel syndrome".

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What is Trichotillomania and Trichophagia?

People who pull their own hair out are usually diagnosed with Trichotillomania. It can lead to bald spots on the head and other facial areas that usually have hair growth, and it can be triggered by stress or anxiety.

Trichophagia, on the other hand, involves consuming the hair which can result in a hairball, or trichobezoar, that can extend from the stomach all the way through the small intestine and as far as the colon.

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The girl in question had been suffering from abdominal pain for five months, and as it intensified, it would also cause her to collapse and faint.

Finally, a scan revealed that she had a 48cm long trichobezoar that was bursting through the walls of her stomach.

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She then also told doctors that she had a history of mental health conditions that likely caused this trichobezoar.

While these types of bezoars are rare in humans, they can be the result of these two previously mentioned disorders if left untreated, as in this case.

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Luckily, the doctors were able to safely remove the obstruction without any issues and the girl was able to make a full recovery!

What a happy ending to quite a hairy situation!

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Main image courtesy of iStock

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