Teen's Stomach Cramps Turn Out to Be a Devastating & Rare Condition

When 18-year-old Ayperi Alekseeva developed stomach cramps and became so sick she couldn't eat or drink, doctors were baffled. So they decided to X-ray her intestines and what they saw in her tummy is something you normally only associate with kitty cats. Alekseeva had a nine-pound hairball in her stomach. Nine pounds! We're talking, like, a baby made of hair. In her stomach. OMG. How did this happen?


Reportedly, the teen, who lived in Kyrgyzstan, spent a year eating stray hairs off the floor. She also had a habit of chewing the ends of her hair. There appeared to be no reason she was eating hair off the floor except that she had a psychological condition that compelled her to do it.

There is a condition called trichophagia, in which sufferers compulsively eat hair, usually their own but sometimes others' hair, and it sounds like this is what she may have had.

After finding the hairball, doctors realized they need to operate promptly. Check out the photo of the massive hairball. Docs say that her stomach was so swollen that as soon as they cut it open, the hairball just "oozed" out of it. Needless to say, she would have soon died without surgery.

My god, I've never seen anything like that! Doctors say that she is the only person they could find in records of ever having a hairball that big. I'm surprised anyone else would have a hairball at all.

But guess what? According to the New England Journal of Medicine, in 2007, another woman is reported to have had a hairball even BIGGER in her intestines, this one weighing in at 9.9 pounds. Oddly, that person was also an 18-year-old girl, though it's unclear where she lived. That girl was followed up with five years later and had stopped eating her hair.

As for Alekseeva, she reportedly recuperated fine after the operation and was sent home. She too has promised never to eat her hair again -- I hope she can stick to it. Perhaps she needs some counseling!

While I had not heard of people eating hair out of rugs, I've seen people who chew on the ends of their hair. I may have even gone through a brief period of it myself when I was young. So be warned, you hair-chewing people!

Do you ever eat your hair?


Image via theritters/Flickr

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