Trichobezoar: Rapunzel Syndrome

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Trichobezoar is a rare intriguing disorder in which swallowed hairs accumulates in the stomach. First reported in 1779, trichobezoar is a combination of “trich” meaning hair in Greek and “bezoar” meaning poison antidote in Arabic or Persian. The habitual swallowing of hairs over the years leads to the formation of a hair ball in the stomach. Extension of hairs beyond the stomach into the small bowel in the form of a tail has been termed Rapunzel syndrome, after Rapunzel, the heroine of a German fairy tale.

Trichobezoar affects young females almost exclusively. Although the syndrome has been known for many years, only 24 cases have been reported .  Because the human gastrointestinal tract is unable to digest human hairs, the trichobezoar usually has to be treated surgically.  Read more…

Source: World Journal of Gastroenterology