An 11-year-old Indian girl suffering from a psychosomatic condition in which she ate her own hair had a foot-long hairball removed from her stomach, the Times of India reported.
The condition, known as trichotillomania, is an impulse control disorder that is characterized by a repeated urge to pull one’s hair out. Some of these people then go on to eat the hair.
“In 99 percent of the cases, it is generally seen among females from 10 to 20 years of age and is rarely noticed among boys. It can happen when either the child is not brought up properly or suffers from birth-related problems,” laparoscopic surgeon Dr. RK Sinha told the newspaper.
Doctors in Chicago reported last year that they had removed a 10-pound hairball from an 18-year-old female patient.
In this recent case, the hairball had become so large it filled and took the shape of the 11-year-old’s stomach. This was the second time surgeons had to remove a hairball from the girl.
The girl likely had pain, vomiting and weight loss.
The girl, whose name was not released, was hospitalized for eight days after the 90-minute operation.
Sinha said follow-up treatment would be required and she would need psychiatric counseling.