We all have our own way of dealing with stress. Some of us hit the gym when life brings on challenging or difficult times and others turn to substance abuse or violence. Unfortunately, there are some children who have to succumb to what is called “Rapunzel Syndrome” (RS), which is a rare intestinal condition that results from ingesting hair. Also known as trichophagia, the condition most commonly occurs in young girls who pull their hair (trichotillomania) out when they are stressed.
The latest victim of the condition is a six-year-old Indian girl. After the unknown girl complained of excruciating stomach pain, doctors in New Delhi discovered a 4 pound mass of hair in her intestine. The average six-year-old girl is 3 feet and 5 inches in height and this mass of hair measured 126 cm in length, which is longer than the height of the girl. The main portion of the hairball measured 11cm x 16 cm and the tail section stretched up to 110cm and passed through to her small intestine.
The clump of hair which was folded up inside her intestines and had a tail was removed by doctors. Jokingly, doctors at the Safdarjung Hospital said that this was ‘A tail too long to tell.’
“Trichobezoar leading to Rapunzel syndrome (RS) is an extremely rare entity with about 90 cases reported in literature,” doctors reported in the medical journal.
According to medical literature, this condition is typically found in emotionally disturbed or mentally retarded youngsters, however; while the girl was vomiting as a result of the hairball, she had no signs of being mentally disturbed. At first, doctors thought that she had a bowel obstruction due to the fact that she felt sick and her stomach was bloated. When doctors discovered that it was, in fact, RS, they went to work removing it and treating it right away because the condition can lead to infections that trigger sepsis.
Doctors questioned the parents regarding the girl’s habits and mental health issues and they did admit that the girl had a habit of tugging on her hair and putting it in her mouth. Their claim that the girl had no mental health issues was verified when the girl was discharged after receiving a psychiatric evaluation.
It’s quite concerning how the girl ended up with such a major mass of hair from simply pulling on it and pulling it in her mouth. Evidently, she had been vomiting for four days prior to she was taken to the doctor, which is also a bit alarming. It is likely that she had been in an immense amount of pain.
Commenters were concerned how the girl managed to tolerate the hair in her mouth, to begin with…
“I don’t know how she did it, I swallowed a hair in my food once and was trying to cough it up for 10 mins. Very uncomfortable and noticeable.”
“What I want to know is why the girl ate her hair if she’s not mentally ill, for how long was she eating her hair, did her parents ever see her do that?”