People across the world have weird addictions just like this 14-year-old teenager from China who had a strange habit of excessively chewing and ingesting her hair. Over the years, she chewed on so much hair that she ended up with a hairball weighing three kilograms in her stomach, South China Morning Post (SCMP). Not only that, she pulled her hair so much that she went almost bald.
The girl was too sick to consume food and was admitted to a hospital, where surgeons removed the hairball the weight of a brick from her stomach and intestines, in a two-hour-long operation. According to the SCMP report, the girl, from Shaanxi province, suffers from a condition called Pica, in which people compulsively eat dirt, paper, clay, and other non-edible items.
Her grandparents, who brought her up because her parents lived away for work, did not notice the disorder till it became too serious, the report said.
Shi Hai, the gastroenterologist from Xian Daxing Hospital in charge of her treatment, told SCMP, “She came to us because she couldn’t eat. We then found that her stomach was filled with so much hair that there was no more room for food, her intestine was also blocked.”
“She lives with her grandparents, who haven’t paid enough attention to her behavior. She may have suffered psychological issues for many years. So I hope, more generally, that parents can spend more time with those left-behind children,” Mr Shi added.
There also have been cases where hair-eating has proved fatal. In 2017, a 16-year-old student in the UK died suddenly due to an infection caused by a hairball in her stomach,New York Post reported. Patients who swallow their own hair are often diagnosed with Rapunzel syndrome, which is caused by a psychiatric disorder called trichophagia, according to the US National Institutes of Health.