General Health - Other

Trichophagiathe Anomoly of the Human Hairball



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It's not often I report on things like this but better late than never. I was perusing the online version of the New England Journal of Medicine; it's something I do about once every 2 weeks. Anyway, I came across something I don't recall seeing before and that's a good thing. This is something you don't want to come across every day.

Although I am not a real cat person, my partner is the kitty fancier and when she said it's time for a cat, well, it was time for a cat so the dog and I had to make adjustments, we now have 2 cats so I am quite familiar with fur balls. They can be incredible things; one time our fattest cat spewed up this is that had to be 6 inches long and it held the shape of her throat precisely. It was just incredible!

So now back to the New England Journal of Medicine story. It seems an 18 year old young woman went to the hospital with pain in the upper left side of her abdomen; she had abdominal distention and other unhappy symptoms including weight loss of nearly 40 pounds. She had these symptoms for about 5 months. So the routine external examination by a physician shows a firm, tender mass. Computed tomography showed them she had a large gastric mass.

This mass wasn't blocking anything or doing anything very horrible but still it was in need of surgery. Well, doctors extracted a 10 pound mass that looked a wee bit odd. It turns out this mass was a giant hairball! Upon questioning the woman admitted she had a habit of eating her hair for years. Well, at least my cat is not alone.

So, it's been reported that this woman has given up the hair eating and put on a couple of pounds and is feeling healthy again. That's good news for her and great fodder for the rest of us to gasp at. Or perhaps laugh at or feel sorry for. Personally, it seems that this woman is not much smarter than my cat. And I have one dumb cat believe me.

In my original version of this article, I had written in this space something cold and insensitive. In fact, I had been told it was simply mean. I just didn't realize that when originally wrote the article. It has been pointed out to me since by a nice lady who has suffered from this problem. To her, and her name will remain private because I didn't get her permission to publish it, I sincerely apologize. I also apologize to anyone else who was offended by what I had written.

Oh by the way, there is a name for eating your own hair and it's: trichophagia. Use that in your next scrabble game.

 

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