Vietnam doctors remove large ball of hair from 5-year-old girl's stomach

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Doctors at the Children's Hospital 2 in Ho Chi Minh City have removed a 200-gram ball of hair from the stomach of a five-year-old girl who reportedly has the habit of plucking her own hair and swallowing it.

The girl, identified only as C.N., was admitted to hospital recently after her family found a protrusion in her stomach. It was later discovered that the hair and food had stuck together to form a hard mass.

She was often tired, had lost weight and her appetite, vomited frequently, and was unable to drink or eat much.

After finding she had only half a head of hair and being told about her habit, the doctors suspected there could be a bunch of hair in her stomach, Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Dr Truong Anh Mau of the hospital as saying

"An endoscopy proved what we had predicted was right.

"But we were really surprised because the bunch of hair was very big and occupied a third of the stomach, blocking solid foods from going through."

The doctors had to perform a surgery to remove it.

"She is in stable condition and able to eat well. We are counseling her," Mau said.

Dr Nguyen Minh Ngoc of the hospital said there have been several similar cases, but such a large quantity of hair was rare.

"Except for the rare instances of Trichotillomania [a disorder that causes a person to pull out one's own hair], the habit of eating hair is mostly a sign of loneliness among children," he said.

Parents should notice to abnormal signs in their children for timely solutions, he said.

Last August doctors at the city's Children's Hospital 1 removed a fist-sized ball of hair from the stomach of a 10-year-old girl from Soc Trang Province.

The child's father, Hoa, said he brought her to the hospital because she had grown thin and pale and lost her appetite.

The girl had a habit of pulling out hair from her head and swallowing it while watching television, he said.

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