Footage Shows Moment Doctors Remove 5ft Long Hairball From Teen's Stomach
Doctors in India were baffled to discover a five feet long hairball in a 15-year-old girl's stomach after she had become addicted to eating hair.
Kavita Kumari had been swallowing single strands of hair for the last year.
The teenager's addiction was so severe that she would not just eat her own hair but also pick up other people's hair strands she would found lying around.
She even plucked hair of her classmates at school and eat it.
Her addiction meant she had lost interest in eating food and would vomit each time she was force-fed. She would often complain of severe abdominal pain and weakness.
Her parents took her to many doctors when Kavita’s stomach started protruding abnormally. However they were sent away with medicines that would subside the pain and swelling for some time.
When Kavita’s condition deteriorated her father Bechan Ram, 34, a farmer, brought her to Siddharth Multi Speciality Hospital and research Centre in Uttar Pradesh.
After examining her, doctors found a large, firm mass in her abdomen. A CT scan further revealed Kavita had five-foot long hairball in her stomach. It also showed a large lesion in her stomach and small bowel.
Doctors discovered she had Rapunzel Syndrome, a rare condition in which a hairball is found in the stomach and mostly affects young women.
Dr Lal Bahadur Sidharth, Gastro and Laproscopic surgeon, at the hospital said: “Kavita had come to us with complaints of extreme pain in the stomach. She was in a very serious condition.
"She was malnourished and very weak. She was barely able to stand on her own.
"Her parents told us about her habit of eating hair. We did endoscopy on her that revealed she had hairball inside her stomach. We diagnosed her with Trichotillomania.
"Her condition was so bad that I had told her parents she might not make it through the surgery. But after her parents consent, we took her for operation that lasted more than two hours.
"I didn’t expect the hairball to be this big. After I removed it from her stomach we were shocked. I measured it and it turned out to be five feet long. I had never seen such a case before.”
Kavita is recovering at the hospital and she will be able to eat properly soon.
Since Rapunzel Syndrome is a psychological disorder, Kavita will be given counselling sessions by doctors to come out of the habit once she recovers fully.
The teenager’s mother Phool Devi, 32, is still unable to accept her daughter has a psychological disorder but is glad Kavita could be saved.
Phool Devi said: “She was so weak that we had assumed she would not survive another day. We did not know she was in the habit of eating hair. Though I noticed many times that she plucked couple of strands from my hair and even her classmates told me she did the same with them.
"But I never took it seriously as I thought she was plucking their hair to tease them. I had no idea she was apparently eating hair!”
"However, we noticed she had not been eating properly. Whatever she ate, she would just throw it up.
"She would complain of severe abdominal pain and was even unable to digest water. Her stomach had bloated so much that we thought she is so sick she would just die.
"She was getting weaker with each passing day. We had taken her to several local doctors but none could find out the real problem. I am thankful to doctors for saving her life.”
Trichotillomania is term used for the psychological condition in which a person has an urge to pull hair.
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By Shariq Allaqaband, MIRROR