A 17-year-old girl in Satara who spent few years in chewing her locks had solidified hair removed from her stomach at a Pune hospital.
Komal (name changed on request) who hails from Satara, is currently studying in Class XII in a Wagoli college in Pune, frequently complained about stomach ache. When Satara doctors examined her, they initially thought it to be a tumour but after gastrointestinal examinations, they noticed black thin layers inside the stomach. She was then taken to Pune where she underwent an operation at Shree Hospital after which they found one kg of hair in her stomach.
Komal’s father who is a farmer in Satara said, "From past three years, Komal used to complain about stomach ache. Initially we thought it to be a gynaecological problem and hence we spent around Rs 5 lakh on various medicines and tests in many hospitals in Pune and Satara. The doctors were clueless and gave reasons like menstruation problems, stress for her condition. During her HSC board exams, the pain increased and Satara doctors said that it was a tumour but had no solution to it. We then got her alopathy and homeopathy medicines. The pain would subside for a while but then start again. Finally we approached a corporate hospital in Pune who told us it's a tumor and that it needs to be operated. However, even they were clueless about the actual condition. It was when she was operated, around 1 kg of hair mass was actually removed.
The parents were shocked to know that their daughter had a habit of eating her hair had resulted in this. Komal had been plucking and ingesting her tresses since she was twelve.
Dr Shreehari Dhole-Patil surgeon who operated Komal said, "On Saturday noon, Komal approached us along with her father. He said that his daughter had acute stomach ache from last three years but he had no clue why it was happening. We carried couple of tests and during gastrointestinal examinations it was found there was a tumor of 17 by 14 centimeters and at border there were thin black colour thread like hair. Accordingly, I called Komal and asked her about Trichotillomania which is a psychological disorder where individuals repeatedly and compulsively pull out hairs from their body and eat."
He added, "This disorder is mostly seen in girls. Last year, I had a similar case but the girl was in her twenties but the amount of hair was less. In this particular case, the girl seems to have the habit from the age of 12. We have also suggested her to approach a psychiatric for proper counseling."
Komal said, "I had the habit of pulling my hair since class six and this I do when I am nervous or watching TV or studying and solving paper. I used to chew my hair. When I was in school, I used to oil my hair and hence never chewed it. But then I started washing my hair regularly and the habit grew.
Dr Avinash Supe, dean at KEM hospital in Mumbai said, "This is common disorder. It is known as Trichotillomania. The name has been coined by French dermatologist derives from the Greek: trich means 'hair', tíllein means 'to pull' and mania means 'madness, frenzy'. Every year we find around two-three cases in Mumbai in which we have observed more females are diagonosed with it".
Dr Sagar Mundada, Psychiatrist at JJ Hospital said, "Trichobezoar is a rare conditions that may pose a diagnostic challenge. Patients with this condition often have an underlying psychiatric illness (Trichotillomania) and history may not be easily forthcoming. The condition sis found especially in young females. It is present in around 0.5% of population. Around one in 200 people are known to be affected by it."