Doctors in India were left stunned after removing a hair ball weighing nearly four pounds from a 19-year-old girl's stomach.
The girl, whose name is yet to be released, recently went to a doctor at Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital in Indore where she complained that she had not been able to consume food or drink for several days.
Upon examination doctors discovered that the girl could not eat or drink anything because she had filled her stomach with her own hair. She had a habit of consuming her own hair and pieces of chalk while sitting in class, according to NDTV.com.
Dr. Parvinder Singh Lubana, who is based at Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital, led a team of gastro-surgeons in an operation which saw them remove the giant hairball from the girl's stomach.
Dr Lubana said that the case was rare particularly because such a heavy chunk of hair was wrapped around chalk and subsequently stuck in between the stomach and duodenum (which is part of the small intestine).
The bizarre case is reminiscent to that of an 18-year-old American girl who complained of a five-month history of pain and swelling in her abdomen, vomiting after eating and a 40-pound weight loss back in 2007.
A scan revealed "a large bezoar occluding nearly the entire stomach," wrote Dr.. Ronald M. Levy and Srinadh Komanduri, gastroenterologists at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.
"On questioning, the patient stated that she had had a habit of eating her hair for many years -- a condition called trichophagia," he added.
The woman eventually underwent surgery, similar to that of the 19-year-old girl in India, and doctors removed a mass of black, curly hair, which weighed 10 pounds and measured 15 inches by 7 inches by 7 inches, according to CNN.com.
Trichophagia is said to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and although it can often be fatal, the disorder can be treated with a combination of anti-depressant drugs and psychotherapy.
To see photos of the hair ball click here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2212603/Hard-stomach-Medics-remove-hairball-weighing-FOUR-POUNDS-intestines-student-19.html