By the time an 18-year-old from Kyrgyzstan sought medical help she couldn't eat or drink due to a blockage in her stomach.
The source? A nearly 9 pound hairball.
According to the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, Ayperi Alekseeva suffered from a disorder known as trichophagia, a condition where a person compulsively eats hair. Over the years, this material built up in the young woman's stomach forming the giant mass.
"By the time we got her she could not even drink water," Bebezov, a professor of surgery at Bishkek Hospital, said, according to the 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.”
The imagery of the hairball was both stunning and graphic.
Scientists published a case study a few years ago that looked into trichotillomania (pulling out hair) as it relates to trichophagia (eating hair). Of the 68 people who exhibited trichotillomania, 14 also reported regular trichophagia while 9 said they only ate the hair occasionally.
Among the findings, the researchers noted that those with trichotillomania and trichophagia were more likely to be males who also exhibited more severe symptoms. Another significant finding was that patients with both conditions were considered more severely ill than those who just reported trichotillomania.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
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