Doctors, at a Kurla hospital, removed 60 grams of hair from the small intestine of a 13-year-old girl who could not stop pulling her hair and eating it.
The girl had been eating hair for nearly four years and developed serious blockage in her intestine after the hair accumulated there.
The girl, whose identity has not been revealed, was operated upon on October 20. Doctors said that she had a disorder called Trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder, where the patient feels repeated urges to pull or twist the hair until it breaks off.
“The girl complained of severe abdominal pain and was not passing stools for about four days before she was admitted with us. Since her blood reports were normal we decided to do further investigation with a CT-scan which detected an obstruction in her intestine,” said Dr Sunite Dube, medical director, Aryan Hospital, Kurla.
The ball of hair was removed through an open surgery at Aryan Hospital. “If we had delayed the surgery, the intestine could have ruptured,” said Dr Prajakt Patil, consultant surgeon at the hospital.After her recovery, doctors sent the girl for psychiatric consultation.
"Usually children just pluck the hair and not eat it. In this case, the child ate the hair. She doesn't really suffer from any serious pscyhiatric maladies. We have put her on behavior therapy where the heads of patients are covered to control their urge to pluck their hair. We also told the parents to encourage her whenever she manages to control her urges to pluck her hair," said Dr Anjali Kaira, consultant psychiatrist, Aryan Hospital.