A 17-year-old woman from the UK is recovering well after doctors discovered a foot-and-a-half long hairball that had literally torn through her stomach.
A medical report describes the crazy circumstances in which the teen suffers from “Rapunzel” syndrome, which causes her to compulsively eat her own hair. She ate some much of it that she was able to amass a hairball that was 19 inches long, filling her entire stomach.
The patient was taken to the hospital after two mysterious fainting episodes left her face bruised. A computed tomography (CT) scan then revealed a large mass inside her “grossly distended stomach,” and a tear in the organ lining, at which point the girl’s mental health struggles became clear.
The teen had a known history of trichotillomania, characterized by the urge to pull out one’s hair, as well as trichophagia, which is the compulsive eating of hair. Both are very rare but the teen was lucky as doctors say that the hairball had grown so large that, upon surgical removal, they discovered it had formed a cast of her entire stomach. She is recuperating and seeing a therapist about her condition.
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