A HAIRBALL weighing 2.2 pounds from the stomach of a teenager who had developed the habit of chewing her own locks.
The 17-year-old unnamed girl arrived at Shree Hospital in Pune, western India with complaints of severe stomach ache on last Saturday.
She was so ill that she could barely walk and had lost interest in eating food.
It later transpired that she had been chewing on her own hair for five years. The issue had become so bad, she would vomit each time she was fed.
While her parents sought medical help from various doctors as the problem worsened over the last three years, they were told she had a gynaecological problem and sent back home with medicines that never help subside the pain.
However, when last week she again complained of excruciating pain in her stomach, her parents rushed her to the hospital.
After detailed examination and examining CT Scans, doctors found two pounds of hair mass and a large lesion in her stomach.
It took us an hour and a half to retrieve the hairball
Dr Shreehari Dhole Patil
Dr Shreehari Dhole Patil, the surgeon who operated on the girl, said: "Komal had approached us along with her father.
She said she had acute stomach ache from last three years but had no clue why it was happening.
"We carried couple of tests and during gastrointestinal examinations it was found there was a tumor of 17 by 14 centimeters and at border there were thin black colour thread like hair
"It took us an hour and a half to retrieve thehairball. She is doing well now."
After the surgery, Dr Dhole-Patil asked the girl if she had the addiction of eating hair, a psychological disorder known as Trichotillomania or Rapunzel Syndrome where a person has the habit of pulling out hair and chewing it.
The girl confessed to eating hair since the age of 12. She also told her shocking parents that she used to secretly eat her own hair while watching TV.
The girl's father said: "For the last three years, we had thought she had some gynaecological problem as told to us by doctors.
"We even spent £5000 on various tests and medicines but no doctor could see the hairball in stomach.
"While we are shocked to learn that our daughter had this condition.
"We are relieved to know she is fine now. We will now take help of psychologists for counselling her so she never picks up the habit again."