Have you ever heard of Rapunzel’s Syndrome? No, it’s not a girl with long beautiful hair on her crown, but an extremely rare intestinal condition in humans resulting from eating hair also known as trichophagia, which is sometimes associated with the hair-pulling disorder trichotillomania. Who would have thought some people had cravings for hair?
Recently, a five-foot-long hairball was discovered in a teenager’s stomach after she had become addicted to eating hair, leaving doctors baffled.
15-year-old Kavita Kumari from India was initially diagnosed to have trichotillomania.
Trichotillomania is a disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows or other areas of the body, despite trying to stop. The disorder could be mild and manageable to extremely overwhelming as to chewing and eating pulled-out hair.
Kavita’s mother, Phool Devi noticed that her daughter would pull out a strand or two of hair out of her but ignored it. Her classmates reported the same thing, somehow she thought it was just her way of teasing them.
She did not realize that Kavita was addicted to pulling and eating hair for the past year. Her addiction was so severe that it wasn’t just her own hair she would eat but also other people’s hair she found lying around. Thus making the girl lost her appetite for proper food and would vomit if force-fed. Even water seemed unabsorbable.
Kavita soon constantly complain of severe abdominal pain. Her body weakened due to lack of proper nourishment. She was so weak and malnourished that she could barely stand nor walk.
Eventually, her stomach started protruding abnormally and her well-being deteriorated. She was sent to doctors, but they just prescribed painkillers and medicines for the swelling.
When Kavita’s condition worsened her father Bechan Ram, a farmer, took her to Siddharth Multi-Specialty Hospital and Research Center in Uttar Pradesh.
A CT scan confirmed she had Rapunzel’s Syndrome. A five-foot-long hairball was revealed in the said scan as well as a large lesion in her stomach and small intestines.
Gastro and Laparoscopic Surgeon, Lal Bahadur Sidharth warned Phool and Bechan that Kavita’s condition was so bad that she might not make it through surgery. However, her parents consented to the surgery which lasted for more than two hours.
Dr. Sidharth’s team was shocked by the massive hairball and claimed that they have never seen such a case before.
Gladly, the operation proved successful and Kavita is now recuperating and will be able to eat soon.
Since Rapunzel’s Syndrome is a psychological condition, she will also be given counseling sessions to come out of the habit once she recovers fully.
However, the teenager’s mom still could not accept that her daughter has a psychological condition but is so glad that she could be saved.
Watch the actual surgery:
If ever you noticed something like this to your child or love ones don’t hesitate to consult a doctor. This is a psychological disorder and it needs further counseling to get through.