A 5-year-old girl in Adelaide, Australia, had been complaining of a poor appetite and stomach pain for weeks and doctors discovered the cause was a mass of hair in her stomach.
The unidentified girl reportedly had a history of trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder where sufferers have the compulsion to pull out their hair. The case was reported in BMJ Case Reports.
Some people, like the little girl, also eat the hair. Before the doctor’s discovery of the mass, the girl had found hair in her feces and had vomited a large, matted hairball, reports Daily Mail.
The girl also had a rare condition called Rapunzel syndrome, where a mass of hair is in the stomach and the hairball’s tail was in the colon.
The hairball can cause serious medical issues, such as inflamed pancreas, stomach ulcers and tears and a blocked intestinal tract.
The mass of hair, which weighed about as much as an apple, was surgically removed from the girl’s stomach.
The girl has since recovered from surgery and was sent to behavioral therapy to help with her trichotillomania. Though there’s no known cause for the disorder, it’s often found in people who are suffering from depression or anxiety.
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