Saturday, October 04, 2014

What is Hairball or Trichobezoar?

“Recently, in Kyrgyzstan, an 18 years old healthy girl suffered from stomach pain. The doctors from Bishkek operated on her stomach and removed 9lb of hairball. On medical history, she had a nasty habit of eating hairs of her own or picked-up from the floor carpet.”

What is this hairball? Where from it got stuck into her stomach? Did her stomach produce hair on its own? Isn’t strange? 
Relax! It is not the only case. There have been reported many. Bezoars are known from 12th century B.C.
Medically, this hairball is called trichobezoar. Usually and exclusively, teenage girls use to eat their hair that is called trichophagia. They love to pull-out their hair to eat which is called trichotillomania. It is almost always associated with some kind of psychiatric illness. Teenage girls with psychiatric illnesses like mental disorders, abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder, pica, depression and anorexia nervosa usually are the sufferers.
Trichobezoar is usually found in stomach; however, it may be found in other parts of gastrointestinal tract (GIT) such as duodenum, jejunum and ileum. The cases where trichobezoar extend into the intestine, the condition is called Rapunzel syndrome.
It is difficult to diagnose trichobezoar at initial stages. The ingested hair are trapped in the folds of GIT. Our stomach could not digest the hair and these continue to add up in-addition to food and mucus, leading to the development of hairball or trichobezoar. Trichobezoar presents with pain abdomen and epigastric mass or abdominal mass and may be taken for a kind of tumor. Trichobezoars lead to intestinal obstruction.
The best technique to diagnose trichobezoar is endoscopy and the treatment of choice is conventional laparotomy. Psychiatric consultation is also the part of the trichobezoar management.
Other types of bezoars include lactobezoar, pharmacobezoar, phytobezoar and diospyrobezoar.
Keywords: Trichobezoar, Hairball, Bezoar, Trichophagia, Trichotillomania, Teen age girls, Epigastric mass, Stomach pain, Intestinal obstruction

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