A seven-year-old girl in Shenzhen, southern China, is making headlines following a surgery she underwent to have a four-inch hairball removed. According to Daily Mail, the hairball, reportedly the size of grapefruit, was a result of the unidentified little girl’s alleged habit of eating her hair and fingernails.
It has been reported that the habit lasted for a total of two years before the girl became ill to the point of being admitted to a local hospital. On Aug. 31, the little girl was rushed to a local hospital after complaining about stomach pains, which escalated over a two-day period.
Upon arrival at the hospital, doctors immediately felt the hard object protruding from her stomach. An x-ray, which revealed the girl’s enormous hairball — medically referred to as a gastrolith — has reportedly left doctors stunned. Almost immediately after the shocking discovery, doctors decided to operate. However, there was pre-requisite that needed to be performed prior to the surgery.
While most people would probably view hair eating as a seemingly unappetizing and bizarre fetish, there’s actually a medically related reason for the girl’s actions. According to Opposing Views, the girl was given a preliminary diagnosis of pica, which refers to the craving and consumption of non-foods and other foreign objects for more than a 30-day period.
“People with the disorder pica compulsively eat items that have no nutritional value. An affected person might eat relatively harmless items like ice or potentially dangerous items like flakes of dried paint or pieces of metal. In the latter case, the disorder could lead to serious consequences such as lead poisoning. This disorder occurs most often in children and pregnant women. Fortunately, it is usually temporary.” – Healthline
The condition can lead to a number of medical complications including toxic poisoning, parasitic infection, and, in other cases, malnutrition, which is what occurred as a result of the little girl’s hairball that led to blockage. However, that’s not all. In more severe cases, it can also lead to lead poisoning.
Other hairball removal surgeries have also made headlines. One in particular was reported last November. An 18-year-old named Ayperi Alekseeva suffered a near-deadly experience after suffering from months of malnutrition and dehydration as a result of a hairball being lodged in her stomach.
Professor Bahadir Bebezov, a senior professor of surgery at Bishkek Hospital, recounted the series of events that led to the hairball being removed from the 18-year-old’s stomach. According to the Telegraph, Professor Bebezov has indicated that the girl’s condition was so bad that she could no longer swallow water due to the extensive blockage caused by the hairball.
“By the time we got her she could not even drink water. We realized we needed to operate immediately. It was actually the only alternative – nothing else would solve the problem. In fact her stomach was so badly swollen from hair and bits of wool from the carpet that it literally just oozed out soon as the wall of the stomach was cut.”
The little girl’s ordeal also comes just months after another teenager made headlines for a gigantic, five-foot hairball. However, she suffered from a condition known as the Rapunzel Syndrome, according to a previous Inquisitr report. The two conditions differ because pica is a temporary disorder, while the Rapunzel Syndrome has been categorized as an extremely rare addiction that only involves the consumption of one’s hair and that of others.
The Daily Mail reports that the seven-year-old’s surgery was a success and that she is expected to make a full recovery.
[Image(s) via YouTube Screen Captures]