August 16, 2021

Doctors remove hairball from girl’s stomach

The girl presented to one of the four Kantha Bopha Hospitals in Phnom Penh after more than two months of abdominal pain and bloating. SUPPLIED


Mom Kunthear | The Phnom Penh Post
Publication date 14 August 2021 | 17:16 ICT

Surgeons have removed a hairball from an 8-year-old girl’s stomach, who had compulsively eaten her hair over several months, according to the Dr Beat Richner website on August 14.

The girl presented to one of the four Kantha Bopha Hospitals in Phnom Penh after more than two months of abdominal pain and bloating, the site said, adding that the accumulation of hairball had made it impossible for her to digest any food and caused peptic ulcers.

“An MRI scan and endoscopy of the stomach revealed the large hairball, known medically as a trichobezoar, progressively built up over the several months that the girl had swallowed her hair,” it said.

The site did not immediately provide any details about the condition of the girl post-surgery, whether she had been discharged, or the size or weight of the hairball that had matted inside her stomach.

It noted that hair ingestion – or trichophagia – is a rare condition that is more common in children and adolescents, especially girls, and is typically associated with abnormal psychological changes.

It stressed that stomach enzymes are not strong enough to break up or dissolve the hairball, and that it will continue to grow with further ingestion of hair until it becomes lodged in the intestines, leading to gastritis, peptic ulcers, or gastrointestinal haemorrhaging or perforation.

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