1.6kg Hair Dug Out Of Teen’s Stomach


MUMBAI – Powai teenager Siya Shinde’s parents would never have imagined that the cause of her constant stomach ache was a big ball of hair.

City doctors removed a hairball measuring 21cm by 12cm and weighing1.6 kg from the class IX student’s stomach last week. “Siya was suffering from trichotillomania, which is characterised by an irresistible desire to pull hair and eat them,” said surgeon Dr Nitin Jain, who removed the stomach-shaped hair mass, called trichobezoar (tricho, hair; bezoar, a mass found trapped in the gastrointestinal system), during an operation on January 29 at Seven Hills Hospital, Andheri. Siya was discharged on Monday.

Barely a hundred cases of hair-ingesting behaviour are documented in medical literature. “The girl was eating hair for the last three years,” Dr Jain said. Her father, Ramesh Shinde, who is a driver in a private firm, told TOI he had often noticed his daughter putting her long hair into her mouth. “I would tell her that eating hair was not healthy, but I never realised she was eating so much.”

When the 15-year-old started complaining of constant stomach ache, her parents took her to a local doctor, who recommended an ultrasound scan. “The doctor told us there was a mass in the stomach and felt it would be best if we went to a bigger hospital for further treatment,” Shinde said. A CT scan and several tests later, the family was told what the mass was.

Most cases of trichobezoar arise from psychological problems, say doctors, which could be the result of depression, severe anxiety or obsessive compulsive behaviour. Siya has been sent for psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

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