It may not be the most appetizing reading before a hearty holiday meal, but the New England Journal of Medicine is devoting part of its Thanksgiving issue to a giant hairball â€” and not the feline kind.
The prestigious journal details the case of a previously healthy 18-year-old woman who consulted a team of gastrointestinal specialists.
She complained of a five-month history of pain and swelling in her abdomen, vomiting after eating and a 40-pound weight loss.
After a scan of the womanâ€™s abdomen showed a large mass, doctors lowered a scope through her esophagus.
It revealed â€śa large bezoar occluding nearly the entire stomach,â€ť wrote Drs. Ronald M. Levy and Srinadh Komanduri, gastroenterologists at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.
For the uninitiated, a bezoar is a hairball.
â€śOn questioning, the patient stated that she had had a habit of eating her hair for many years â€” a condition called trichophagia,â€ť they wrote.
â€śIt seemed like sheâ€™d been doing this for several years,â€ť Levy told CNN.
The woman underwent surgery to remove the mass of black, curly hair, which weighed 10 pounds and measured 15 inches by 7 inches by 7 inches, the doctors said.
Five days later, she was eating normally and was sent home.
A year later, the pain and vomiting were gone, the patient had regained 20 pounds â€śand reports that she has stopped eating her hair.â€ť
Reached at his home in Chicago, Levy said he had no idea whether the journalâ€™s timing of the publication on Thanksgiving was intentional.
Either way, he said, it would not affect the gastroenterologistsâ€™ holiday dinner plans â€” â€śWe donâ€™t get fazed by much.â€ť
Source - The New England Journal Of Medicine