A 20-year-old woman, who has a rare mental disorder, was rescued by doctors who removed a hairball weighing 13 pounds from her stomach. The woman suffers from trichotillomania, which triggers a recurrent, irresistible urge to pull out hair from the scalp or body.
The patient, whose identity has not been revealed, hails from Jordan. She was brought to Al Basheer government hospital in Amman with severe pain and constipation, reported Gulf News.
Director-General of Al Bashir Hospital, Dr. Ali Al Abdallat, told the news outlet that the woman was admitted to the emergency department with severe pain and constipation for five days.
She had difficulty swallowing and had a noticeable drop in weight by nearly 66 pounds during the past year.
The medical staff conducted tests and an X-ray revealed the woman had a large mass of hair in her stomach. The hairball had resulted in complete closure of her digestive tract.
She was then diagnosed with trichotillomania. A type of impulse control disorder, trichotillomania is characterized by a state of tension before pulling hair and then feeling relieved, satisfied or pleased after the act is committed.
Patients who suffer from the disorder often end up with bald patches on their scalp. Large, matted wads of hair called trichobezoars are formed in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which can cause weight loss over time.
The woman is said to have fallen into a state of severe psychological tension, following which she reportedly ate large quantities of hair. After taking her health condition into consideration, immediate surgery was conducted to remove the hairball.
Recently, a 15-year-old girl had undergone a similar surgery wherein a monster hairball was removed from her stomach. Reports said the teen, suffering from trichotillomania, weighed just 77 pounds and had decreased appetite, weight loss, and repeated episodes of vomiting. Surgery was conducted, and doctors were shocked to find a nearly 3-pound matted hairball inside her stomach. The hair mass had made it impossible for her to digest any food or retain any nutrients. The teenager's family was unaware that she had been compulsively eating her hair for the past two years.