The Oddities in the News Page

This Month's Oddity:

Doctors Remove 14-Pound Hairball From Woman’s Stomach

“It looked like something from a horror film.”

Lost Girl

Sixteen Toes
Brain Eaters
Embalmed Hearts


The 14-pound hairball retrieved from her stomach after an operation


Sophie Cox, 23, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

July 7, 2016 – The Huffington Post: A British woman who suffered unexplained abdominal pain for months “cried with relief” after doctors removed a 14-pound hairball from her stomach.

Sophie Cox, 23, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, told South West News Service that the giant ball of human hair was built up over seven years of eating her tresses.

Six years ago, Cox was diagnosed with both trichotillomania, a condition where sufferers have a compulsive urge to pull out their hair, and and trichophagia, where they eat it.

Cox said when she was stressed, she found comfort from plucking strands of hair and eating them during the day, according to SWNS.

She thought it was harmless until she became pregnant in 2014. During her pregnancy, Cox suffered serious stomach pains and kept losing weight at a time when she should be gaining it.

Two months after her daughter was born, the pains became excruciating and left her doubled in agony.

“By October 2015, I couldn’t eat without vomiting and my stomach would swell up,” she told the news agency. “I’d lost [84 pounds] in two years and dropped six dress sizes, taking me to a size 12.”

Doctors had no clue what was wrong, but tested Cox for gallstones and stomach cancer.
It wasn’t until Cox had an endoscopy last November that they figured out what was wrong: that giant hairball.

“When they showed me the scan I was speechless. It looked like something from a horror film,” she said. “The specialist hadn’t seen anything like it in 30 years. It was too big to break down in my stomach, leaving me malnourished and dehydrated.” 

Even worse than finding out she had a giant hairball in her stomach was waiting five months to have it removed.

The hairball, or “trichobezoar,” was removed in a six-hour operation.

“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 then, Cox has been monitored regularly to ensure no other hairballs develop. She is also on a waiting list to receive treatment to help determine the underlying causes of her conditions.

“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.”

See the article HERE

What is trichophagia?

Trichophagia is characterized by the person eating hair, usually their own; primarily after pulling it out. Most often, hair is pulled out and then the ends of the root bulb are eaten, or occasionally the hair shaft itself. The hair eventually collect in the gastrointestinal tract (on occasion, and depending upon severity of symptoms) causing indigestion and stomach pain.

Ritual is a strong factor, and may involve touching the root bulb to the lips, tasting the hair, and occasionally chewing it. Sometimes those with the disorder may even eat the hair of others.

In the psychiatric field, trichophagia is considered a compulsive psychological disorder.

See more HERE


Cat vomiting out a hairball

Large hairball from a cat

Hairballs in dogs are rare

Hairballs in cats are common

When your cat grooms himself, tiny hook-like structures on his tongue catch loose and dead hair, which is then swallowed. The majority of this hair passes all the way through the digestive tract with no problems. But if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hairball. Ultimately, your cat will vomit the hairball to get rid of it. Because hairballs pass through the narrow esophagus on the way out, they often appear thin and tubelike, rather than round.