The Unimaginable: Woman's Battle with Rapunzel Syndrome and a Giant Hairball

A woman in the US who had been experiencing nausea, vomiting, and weight loss for eight months was shocked to learn that her symptoms were caused by a giant hairball in her stomach. The 38-year-old had lost her appetite and had lost a significant amount of weight, prompting her to seek medical attention.

Upon arriving at the hospital, doctors discovered that she had a hairball lodged in her digestive tract. What made the situation even more unusual was that the hairball had a small "tail" of hair trailing into her intestines. To their surprise, a second hairball measuring four centimeters was found in her bowel.

Further investigation revealed that the woman had been suffering from Rapunzel Syndrome, an extremely rare condition that has only been documented 88 times before. This syndrome is associated with trichotillomania, a disorder in which an individual develops an irresistible urge to pull out their own hair and sometimes eat it. The name comes from the long-haired character in the Grimm brothers' fairy tale.


Symptoms of Rapunzel Syndrome include nausea, vomiting, altered bowel habits, abdominal distension, and weight loss. In severe cases, it can lead to bowel obstruction, bowel perforation, intestinal bleeding, anaemia, weight loss, and even appendicitis.

Fortunately, the woman underwent surgery to remove both hairballs and was discharged from the hospital after six days. However, medical professionals strongly advised her to seek psychological therapy to address her trichotillomania. Additionally, she was treated for malnutrition and recommended to consume protein-rich foods like eggs and chicken breast, as well as take a daily iron supplement.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers associated with trichotillomania and the rare complications it can lead to. It highlights the importance of early detection and intervention to prevent severe consequences.

Seeking support from medical professionals and mental health experts should be a priority for individuals dealing with trichotillomania. With the right therapy and treatment, patients can overcome their hair-pulling urges and avoid further harm to their physical well-being.

Posted in Tech & Science Health & Food by Paul van der Maas

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Comments


There are 2 comments to this story. You can add your own comments below.

  • Rapunzel syndrome

    Why would you eat your own hair....

    By Marleen on 01/26/24 17:55
    • I have no idea! I don't really get people who chew their finger nails either :D.
      On a positive note, I guess you could say bold people are lucky!! :o)

      By Paul on 01/26/24 20:26

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