• The girl had been eating her hair since she was two
  • This resulted in the formation of a large mass of hair in her stomach
  • The hair mass in her stomach weighed nearly 1.5 pounds

A 12-year-old girl in India underwent an open surgery to remove nearly 1.5 pounds of hair that had accumulated in her stomach.

The doctors at a hospital in the western state of Maharashtra said the child suffered from a rare condition that made her eat her own hair, Mid-Day reported.

The girl, whose identity has not been revealed, had been pulling out and eating her own hair since she was two years old. This resulted in the formation of a large mass of hair in her stomach that made her sick and caused severe pain. The surgery took place at the Starcity Multispeciality Hospital in the city of Kalyan.

“The parents said she started eating hair from the age of two. Initially they didn’t take it seriously until her stomach was so tightly packed with the hair that she was unable to eat normal food, had pain and recurrent vomiting causing significant weight loss,” general & laparoscopic surgeon Dr. Rohit Paryani, who was part of the team that conducted the procedure, was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

“Her weight is only 20 kg (44 pounds) which is less than half the normal weight for her age. CT scan revealed that the whole stomach was filled with tightly packed hair,” he said.

The doctors identified the condition as a psychological disorder named trichophagia, which causes a compulsive urge to eat hair.

“Two days ago we conducted open surgery and pulled out the hair which weighed about 650gm (1.4 pounds) and occupied all of the space in the stomach. That explains why she is malnourished and hasn’t been having a good appetite,” Dr. Paryani said Monday.

Medical experts said a small amount of hair ingested accidentally generally comes out of the body. However, in cases of constant ingestion, the hair settled in the stomach causing trichobezoars.

According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, between 0.5 percent and 3 percent of people experience trichotillomania at some point in their lives.

Earlier this month, a 15-year-old girl suffering from the same condition underwent a surgery to remove a monster hairball from her stomach. The incident took place in Vallipuram, a village in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The girl was admitted to a hospital after reporting decreased appetite, weight loss and repeated episodes of vomiting. When doctors operated on her, they were shocked to find a nearly 3-pound hairball matted inside her stomach.

Representational image. Pixabay