Horrifying 1.5kg discovery inside teen after stomach pain

·2-min read

Doctors have removed a monster hairball from a teenager’s stomach.

The hairball weighed 1.5 kilograms and formed in the 15-year-old's stomach after a rare disorder caused her to eat her own hair.

The girl was admitted to hospital in Vallipuram, India, weighing just 35kg after reporting decreased appetite, weight loss and repeated episodes of vomiting.

But when doctors opened her up, they couldn’t believe the size of the hairball which had matted inside her stomach, making it impossible for her to digest any food or retain any nutrients.

The hairball removed from a teen's stomach after being removed by doctors during surgery.
A hairball removed from a teen's stomach. Source: Jam Press/Australscope

Unbeknownst to her family, the teen had been compulsively eating her own hair for the past two years and doctors diagnosed her with Rapunzel Syndrome – a rare disorder caused by the ingestion of the hair (trichophagia).

The syndrome happens when the hair passes through into the small intestine and, like in the case of this girl, produces a tail of hair which goes out of the stomach.

"The girl was brought to the hospital with complaints of abdominal pain and vomiting and underwent scanning," Dr R. Raja Mahendran, surgical gastroenterologist of RRM Gastro Hospital, said.

The Indian teen's hairball sits on a piece of material next to a hospital card.
The teen was diagnosed with a rare disease after the hairball was removed. Source: Jam Press/Australscope

"Initially, we thought that it was an abdominal mass but a closer examination with endoscopy revealed that the teen had a habit of eating her own hairs."

Video shared of the operation shows surgeons removing the matted ball of hair from her body, pulling it out of a large incision on her abdomen.

The girl has since been discharged and is said to be recovering well from her ordeal.

Rapunzel Syndrome is sometimes associated with the hair-pulling disorder trichotillomania.

Experts have estimate only about 65 cases have been recorded worldwide.

– Australscope

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