Doctors at the Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital in India removed a hairball weighing four pounds (1.8kg) from the intestines of a 19-yr-old girl. She ate her locks during lessons and reported at the hospital that she was not able to eat or drink for days.
According to the Daily Mail, a team of gastro-surgeons led by Dr. Parvinder Singh Lubana, removed the hairball in a surgical operation. They found the mass of human hair stuck between the girl's stomach and small intestine. The hairball was wrapped in a core of chalk.
NDTV reports that Dr. Lubana said it was a rare case of trichophagia. He said they found the hairball wrapped in chalk in between the girls stomach and duodenum.
According to the Daily Mail, the doctors found that the girl from Rajgarh in Madhya Pradesh, had a chronic habit of eating her hair and chalk while in class and that the mass of hair and chalk accumulated in her stomach and intestines over a period of time. She probably indulged in eating her hair and chalk out of boredom during lessons.
One of the surgeons in the team, Dr. Amit Agarwal, told NDTV that the girl developed intestinal obstruction that made her unable to eat or drink water for some days.
Four pounds of hairball in the intestines of a single person may seem unbelievable, but the Daily Mail reports that this is not the largest mass of hair removed from the intestine of a single person. About 10 lbs of hairball was removed by doctors in the USA from the stomach of an 18-year-old in November 2007. She reported at the hospital after having pain and swelling in her abdomen, the New England Journal of Medicine reports. Doctors discovered the mass of hair in her intestines after a scan was conducted.
The Daily Mail reports that gastroenterologists at the Rush University Medical center in Chicago, Illinois reported that, "On questioning, the patient stated that she had had a habit of eating her hair for many years - a condition called trichophagia."
The woman recovered rapidly after the hair was removed.
People diagnosed with trichophagia may need psychiatric assistance.