770gm Lump of Hair Removed From the Stomach of Mumbai Woman, Know What Is Rapunzel’s Syndrome, Trichotillomania and Trichophagia
Hair removed from stomach surgery. (Image used for representational purpose only)

In a bizarre piece of news 770 gm lump of hair was removed from the stomach of a 22-year-old Dongri woman by the Doctors at JJ Hospital. Almost a 1 kg ball of hair from the stomach of a young woman removed, gave the woman relief from the months of pain and discomfort. However, how did the large lump of hair reach a woman's stomach? Experts believe that such cases exist and it takes a long time for the hair to collect inside the stomach to form into a large ball. However, things can even turn dangerous if some remedial action isn't taken at the earliest. The doctors used laparoscopy to remove the hair with three keyholes on the stomach and vaginal opening as per reports by TOI. The doctors also informed that the condition was called Rapunzel syndrome.

What is Rapunzel's Syndrome?

Rapunzel syndrome refers to a medical issue when a mass of undigestable fibres accumulate in the stomach. However, it doesn't always necessarily have to be undigested vegetable fibres etc. sometimes it is combined with another psychological condition wherein the patients ingest their hair compulsively and end up forming a sort of accumulated ball of it usually called a bezoar. In case it is a bezoar made out of hair it is called trichobezoar. In a review paper called Rapunzel Syndrome: A Comprehensive Review of an Unusual Case of Trichobezoar, they describe Rapunzel Syndrome as an unusual formation of bezoar extending from the stomach to the small intestine or beyond. It is named Rapunzel Syndrome because the ball of hair accumulating in the stomach that continues till the intestine similar to Rapunzel's hair flowing from the balcony. They define Bezoars as "concretions in the gastrointestinal tract that increase in size by continuous accumulation of non-absorbable food or fibres."

What are Trichophagia and Trichotillomania?

The mental health condition, Trichotillomania is a chronic disease of impulse control. The main character often seen in the patients are repetitive, compulsive, and self-induced hair pulling. The disorder can occur at any age however it is observed more frequently in adolescents, with a strong predominance in females. Diagnosis of trichotillomania may be difficult, and its effective treatment may be complicated. Trichotillomania is also often connected with trichophagia which is the is the compulsive eating of hair. The two collectively may lead to the formation of trichobezoars inside the patient's stomach and cause a direct danger to the patient’s health and even life due to the risk of intestinal obstruction and the need for surgical intervention.

The bezoar may or may not be made up of hair which means Rapunzel's Syndrome may or may not be connected to the other two disorders Trichophagia and Trichotillomania.