Doctors from India were forced to remove a huge 4ft hairball from a boy’s stomach after he had eaten large amounts of his own hair.
A few months ago, a 4-year-old boy, Sivam Kumar, complained to his parents, Sunil and Munni, 28, about stomach pains. They immediately rushed him to a nearby hospital located in their hometown of Delhi.
When doctors first examined Sivam, they concluded that it was only a stomach infection. However, his father believed otherwise.
His father stated, “He used to cry all the time but he couldn’t explain to us what was wrong. We took him to many doctors but they found nothing.”
An assistant professor, Dr. Shilpa Sharma, later discovered through a CT scan that little Sivam’s stomach was clogged with hair.
“When a CT scan eventually revealed a big hairball I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe it,” Sunil said.
Dr. Shilpa Sharma said, “He was very weak and malnourished and his stomach was severely bloated when we first saw him.”
He continued as follows.
“We immediately took a CT scan and that’s when we found a big entangled mass in his abdomen.
“There was very little gas in the abdomen area. The hair had spread in the stomach and travelled into his intestines. When we opened his stomach a 4ft hairball came out in the exact shape of the stomach.”
After learning that Sivam had a 4ft hairball in his stomach, doctors from India performed an hour-long surgery to remove it.
“I’d seen him plucking his hair and eating it but I just assumed it would come out in his stool. I didn’t know he was eating it so regularly and over a nine-month period,” said Munni.
She continued as follows.
“When I saw the CT scan reports I was devastated. I was sure he wouldn’t survive. I am thankful to God that my son has survived this and is now absolutely fine.
“I am not leaving Sivam alone for even one minute now; we have to make sure he doesn’t do this again. We’ve shaved off his hair now so that he’s not tempted to eat it. And doctors have also told us to keep him bald until he’s at least ten years old so there’ll be no risk of this happening again.”
Dr. Shilpa said, “The boy is the fourth case in the world where a child so young has been affected with the syndrome.”
“It is a psychological disorder and we are now trying to look at the causes and preventions so he doesn’t start eating hair again. We have advised the parents to shave off his head for now.”
Upon the 4ft hairball discovery, doctors diagnosed Sivam with Trichobezoar, also known as Rapunzel syndrome, which is a condition that causes one to pull out their own hair, mostly common in teen girls.