A woman who was addicted to pulling out and eating her own hair was operated on at Rajawadi hospital in Ghatkopar, where doctors removed a giant hairball weighing 750 g from her stomach.
Because of the size of the hairball, doctors suspect that the patient had been eating her hair for years.
Archana Tambe (name changed), 20, was brought to the hospital a week ago, suffering from nausea and an extremely swollen abdomen, despite experiencing drastic weight loss in the last few months.
She weighed a mere 30 kg at the time of hospitalisation.
She was very pale and had lost all appetite, vomiting anything she consumed.
Archana said, “I am fine now, I had a lump in my stomach.”
Her mother was shocked to see the hairball and thanked the doctors for saving her life.
She was found to be suffering from the rare Rapunzel Syndrome, which has only ever been documented 88 times in medical literature the world over.
The doctors ordered a CT scan and spotted a huge mass entangled in the stomach.
Dr Bharat Kamath, assistant professor in the department of surgery at Rajawadi Hospital, said, “It had filled her stomach, due to which the patient was unable to eat. Moreover, a tail of hair trailed into her intestine, which is typical in a case of Rapunzel Syndrome,” said Dr Bharat.
This “tail” alone was 103 cm long, extending well into the small intestines.
The hairball itself was 25 cm long and about 10-12 cm across.
This led the doctors to believe that Archana had been eating her hair for years.
Going without the surgery would have been more risky though.
“Had the mass been ignored, the mass could have made a hole in the stomach wall, which would cause leakage. This could be life threatening for the patient,” said Dr.Bharat.
She will initially be on a liquid diet and be switched to solid food later.
Complete recovery may take a few months.
Archana is also under the care of the psychiatry department.