Finding hair balls in cats may be common, but humans can accumulate hair balls in their stomach, too.
Take for example, this video of a Hair Ball being pulled from the human stomach. Satisfying, isn’t it? FYI – the following video includes graphic footage of an actual surgical procedure…..don’t say we didn’t warn you!!
Trichobezoars or hair balls are usually present in patients who have trichophagia and trichotillomania or other psychiatric disorders. Having hair balls trapped in the proximal gastrointestinal tract is a rare condition mostly occurring in young females. The human digestive system is unable to digest hair, so consuming hair continuously can lead to this.
This condition is also known as the Rapunzel Syndrome and the symptoms include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea.
An article published by WBUR states that Rapunzel Syndrome is extraordinarily rare, but the category it belongs to, is not.
Trichophagia, the eating of hair, is a subset of trichotillomania, which is the compulsive pulling out of one’s own hair. And trichotillomania, in turn, belongs to a broader group of disorders, called body-focused repetitive behaviors, or BFRBs, that include skin-picking and are estimated to affect 1 to 3 percent of the population.