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This is how this giant ball of hair got to a person’s stomach

A teenage girl had to undergo surgery to have a hairball removed. This is how Rapunzel Syndrome is suffered.

England: a 17-year-old teenager had to undergo surgery. The reason: to remove a gigantic ball of hair from his stomach. And so we get to know Rapunzel Syndrome.

Its name comes from Princess Rapunzel, the protagonist of a tale created by the Brothers Grimm. According to this story, a girl locked in a tower had hair so long that she could climb with it.

But in the case of the English patient, the oval hairball was 19 inches long, almost completely filling her stomach, according to the magazine. BMJ Case Reports.

After two faints, the young woman was taken by her family to a clinical center. He had bruises on his face and scalp.

Doctors discovered that the hairball had made a hole in the stomach wall. But how did it get there?

Rapunzel Syndrome

The young woman had compulsively eaten her own hair. This is Rapunzel Syndrome, scientifically referred to as trichophagia. This condition is related to trichotillomania, which is the desperate pulling of hair or hair from other parts of the body.

Trichotillomania is suffered by between 0.5% and 3% of people in the UK. While between 10% and 30% of these patients also suffer from trichophagia.

These data are from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, cited by the portal Live Science.

Only 1% of people with both conditions develop masses of hair in their gastrointestinal tract.

How is the young woman cared for?

Thanks to the operation, the doctors were able to remove the hairball. « It was so large that it formed a cast all over my stomach, » explained the experts in BMJ Case Reports.

According to Live Science, Rapunzel Syndrome can even cause death. The page cites the case of a 16-year-old girl who died from eating her own hair: the hairball caused her a fatal infection.

In addition to prescribing post-operative treatment, the young woman who was saved after the operation received psychological assistance.