Doctors were shocked to discover what was causing a Kyrgyzstan teen to be unable to eat or drink without becoming sick.
Ayperi Alekseeva, 18, became malnourished and dehydrated after stomach problems caused an inability to eat or drink. The teen nearly died before she saw a doctor to figure out the cause of her problems.
Upon examination from doctors in the country’s capital city of Bishkek, it became clear why the teen was having issues eating and drinking - doctors found a giant hairball in the girl’s stomach.
The hairball found in Alekseeva’s stomach weighed approximately 9 lbs. by the time she was treated by doctors. The hairball formed over years of the teen eating her own hair, as well as hair picked up from the floor.
“By the time we got her she could not even drink water,” Prof. Bahadir Bebezov, senior professor at Bishtek Hospital, told Telegraph. “We realized we needed to operate immediately. It was actually the only alternative - nothing else would solve the problem. in fact her stomach was so badly swollen from hair and bits of wool from the carpet that it literally just oozed out soon as the wall of the stomach was cut.”
Bebezov says he has never heard about a hairball that large, even after searching through 50 years of medical records. A hairball such as Alekseeva’s is referred to by scientists as as a “trichobezoar.”
In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that an 18-year-old American woman had had a 10lb. mass removed form her stomach, according to Telegraph.
According to Newsiosity, Alekseeva is expected to make a full recovery. She reportedly told doctors and her parents that she will no longer chew on her hair.
Compulsively eating hair is referred to as Trichophagia, which can, as Alekseeva learned, have serious consequences. If left untreated, Trichophagia can cause ‘Rapunzel Syndrome,’ in which a hairball grows to the point that hair begins trailing into the intestines.