Sophie Cox, a 23-year-old British woman, had a 14-pound hairball removed from her stomach by doctors after suffering from unexplained and unbearably painful stomach pain for months. The woman “cried with relief” after doctors removed the 14-pound hairball from her stomach, the Huffington Post reports.
According to KSAT 12, the 14-pound hairball in the woman’s stomach was the result of her compulsive need to eat human hair over the last seven years. Six years ago, Sophie Cox was diagnosed with both trichotillomania and trichophagia.
Trichotillomania is a condition where the individual suffers from a compulsive urge to pull out his/her hair.
Trichophagia is a condition where the individual suffers from a compulsive urge to eat human hair.
Together the two can be a deadly combination, as Sophie Cox compulsively pulled out her own hair and ate it for the last seven years, causing the 14-pound hairball to form in her stomach. Unfortunately, the human body has trouble digesting hair – especially in such a large quantity.
This 14-pound hairball caused the woman to suffer extreme stomach pain, as well as dramatic weight loss. Even after she gave birth to her child, her doctors believed she was suffering from gallstones or possibly stomach cancer. This was, of course, until they discovered the 14-pound hairball sitting in her stomach.
“When they showed me the scan I was speechless. It looked like something from a horror film. The specialist hadn’t seen anything like it in 30 years.”
The woman with the 14-pound hairball in her stomach claims she found comfort when she was stressed in plucking a hair from her head and eating it. This was her method of coping with stress for years because she thought it was a harmless coping method.
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) July 7, 2016
Everything changed in 2014 when Sophie became pregnant. During her pregnancy, she started to suffer from extreme stomach pains. She also was losing a significant amount of weight which is usually a sign something is wrong during pregnancy, as you are supposed to gain weight.
It was two months after she had her daughter that the stomach pains took a turn for the worst. She claims the pains became excruciating and left her in twice as much agony as she had been in before.
By October of 2015, she was unable to eat without throwing up. Her stomach spent a large portion of the time swollen. In two years, she lost nearly 100 pounds and dropped six dress sizes, putting her at a size 12.
Doctors were baffled by the woman with the 14-pound hairball in her stomach. They had no clue what was causing her the pains or what was making her so sick. This was when they began to toss around the idea that she had gallstones or perhaps she had stomach cancer.
It was not until the woman with the 14-pound hairball in her stomach had an endoscopy last November that the doctors were able to figure out what was wrong. This was when they discovered the giant hairball in the woman’s stomach.
The only thing worse than finding out she had a 14-pound hairball in her stomach was the fact that she had to wait five months for the surgery to remove it.
The trichobezoar (the medical name for the 14-pound hairball) was removed during a surgery which took six hours to complete.
“I felt instantly better when I woke up, even though I was sore and groggy,” she said.
“It was disgusting. I cried with relief that it was gone.”
Since the doctors removed the 14-pound hairball from the woman’s stomach, she has to be monitored regularly in order to make sure additional hairballs do not develop in her stomach.
— Metro Life (@MetroUK_Life) July 9, 2016
Sophie is also currently on a wait list to receive treatment to help figure out the underlying causes of her conditions which resulted in the development of the hairball in the first place.
“I’m just so thankful the hairball was found before it was too late,” she said. “Now I can get on with being a hands-on mum.”
[Image via ShutterStock]