A woman with a rare condition called Rapunzel syndrome had a hairball measuring 15 centimeters by 10 centimeters (6 inches by 4 inches) removed from her stomach.
In Rapunzel syndrome, a hairball develops in the stomach and a "tail" extends into the intestine, like the hair of the princess Rapunzel in the fairy tale. It is associated with the impulse control disorder trichotillomania, in which patients compulsively pull their hair out and, in some cases, eat it.
According to the journal BMJ Case Reports, the 38-year-old woman was vomiting everything she tried to eat and had lost a lot of weight: 15 pounds (nearly 7kg) in eight months.
When she arrived at hospital, in the US, her abdomen was swollen with gas and fluid, and she was suffering from nausea and constipation.
Upon surgery, a large hairball was found in her stomach with the "tail" going into the top of her intestines, and a separate 4-centimeter (1.5-inch) hairball further down in her intestines.
Rapunzel syndrome is extremely uncommon – the doctors found only 88 cases ever reported in medical journals. The patient was released after six days and was given psychological therapy.
Fifteen pounds is nearly 7 kilograms. An earlier version of this piece somehow managed to say it was nearly 7 kilometres.