Russian doctors remove giant clump of hair weighing 1lb 2oz from stomach of a 16-year-old girl

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Russian doctors remove giant clump of hair weighing 1lb 2oz from stomach of a 16-year-old girl with ‘Rapunzel syndrome’

  • Doctors in the city of Tomsk shared an image of the hair ball after it was removed
  • The unnamed girl has been chewing her hair for a decade, according to reports
  • The ball filled 80% of her stomach becoming a serious health hazard 
  • Rapunzel syndrome is most common in young females with mental health issues 

Russian doctors have removed a giant clump of hair weighing 1lb 2oz from the stomach of a 16-year-old girl.

The unnamed teenager had been chewing her own hair for the past ten years, according to local reports.

Over time the hair accumulated, a rare condition commonly referred to as ‘Rapunzel Syndrome’.  

A picture reveals the giant hair ball which medics in the Siberian city of Tomsk said filled 80 per cent of the girl’s stomach.

Emergency surgery was carried out as the hair had become a major threat to the girl’s health, with previous cases leading to death.

Russian doctors have revealed photos of a giant clump of hair weighing 1lb 2oz they removed from the stomach of a 16-year-old girl (pictured)

Russian doctors have revealed photos of a giant clump of hair weighing 1lb 2oz they removed from the stomach of a 16-year-old girl (pictured)

Lead doctor Andrey Karavaev, who performed the procedure at the clinic known only as Emergency Medicine Clinic Number Two, said the girl's gastrointestinal tract was in danger of being totally blocked. Previous cases have led to death

Lead doctor Andrey Karavaev, who performed the procedure at the clinic known only as Emergency Medicine Clinic Number Two, said the girl’s gastrointestinal tract was in danger of being totally blocked. Previous cases have led to death

The girl had complained about ‘losing her hair’, however it is most common for young girls to suffer from conditions such as Rapunzel Syndrome.

Trichophagia is when a person compulsively eats their own hair and is sometimes referred to as a symptom of trichotillomania, when someone can’t resist pulling the hair out from anywhere on their body. 

WHAT IS RAPUNZEL SYNDROME? 

Rapunzel syndrome is a rare condition where hairballs are found in the digestive tract after a person ingests their own hair.

This can be caused by trichophagia where a person compulsively eats their own hair.

It is associated with trichotillomania, when someone can’t resist pulling the hair out from anywhere on their body.

It is predominantly found in young people who have learning disabilities or mental health problems including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. 

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Only 88 cases have been reported in medical literature, according to a 2016 discussion in BMJ Case Reports.

They said it almost always affects women, with only three per cent of cases being over the age of 30.  

Trichophagia, which can appear as innocent hair sucking in a child, is dangerous because the stomach cannot digest hair.  

It leads to hairballs forming in the gastrointestinal tract with the tail extending into the small intestines. 

Complications can lead to inflammation or rupture of the bowel, weight loss, pancreatitis and appendicitis.

The rare syndrome is named after the long-haired girl Rapunzel in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. 

It was only the second case recorded in the region for 25 years, according to reports.

Lead doctor Andrey Karavaev performed ‘urgent’ surgery at the clinic, known only as Emergency Medicine Clinic Number Two, because the girl’s gastrointestinal tract was in danger of being totally blocked. 

The teenager is recovering after surgery, which was carried out on an unclear date, and ‘feels much better’. 

Doctors said the girl may now require psychiatric care. In the UK, treatment for trichotillomania uses cognitive behavioural therapy. 

In September 2017, a British teenager died after a hairball that was lodged in her stomach became infected. 

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Jasmine Beever, 16, from Skegness, had peritonitis, which is an inflammation of a thin layer of tissue in the abdomen.

Jasmine had been sucking and chewing on her own hair for many years before collapsing on September 7 at college. 

Doctors fought to keep her alive when she was rushed to hospital. They managed to resuscitate her for 15 minutes, but she lost her battle later that evening.

WHAT IS TRICHOTILLOMANIA?

Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that causes sufferers to recurrently, impulsively pull out their hair at the root.

Sufferers often feel a high level of tension and a strong urge to pull, followed by pleasure or relief when it is done. 

The condition may be caused by anxiety or depression and can result in baldness.

Females are most commonly affected with the condition usually starting between the ages of nine and 13.

Treatment focuses on therapy that records what an individual’s triggers are and how to overcome them. 

Source: OCD UK



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