Sophie Cox, 23, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, suffered from unexplained abdominal pain for months until she was diagnosed with both trichotillomania (a condition where sufferers have a compulsive urge to pull out their hair) and and trichophagia (where they eat it). Yes, she had been pulling out her hair and eating it to relieve stress, and apparently it congealed into a giant hairball the size of a brick, lodged in her stomach.
During her pregnancy, Cox suffered serious stomach pains and kept losing weight at a time when she should be gaining it.
Two months after her daughter was born, the pains became excruciating and left her doubled in agony.
“By October 2015, I couldn’t eat without vomiting and my stomach would swell up,” she told the news agency. “I’d lost [84 pounds] in two years and dropped six dress sizes, taking me to a size 12.”
Doctors had no clue what was wrong, but tested Cox for gallstones and stomach cancer.
It wasn’t until Cox had an endoscopy last November that they figured out what was wrong: that giant hairball.
“When they showed me the scan I was speechless. It looked like something from a horror film,” she said. “The specialist hadn’t seen anything like it in 30 years. It was too big to break down in my stomach, leaving me malnourished and dehydrated.”
The hairball, or “trichobezoar,” was removed in a six-hour operation.
“I felt instantly better when I woke up, even though I was sore and groggy,” she said. “It was disgusting. I cried with relief that it was gone.”
I would imagine. Since then, Cox has been monitored regularly to ensure no other hairballs develop.
“I’m just so thankful the hairball was found before it was too late,” she said. “Now I can get on with being a hands-on mum.”
Yep. All’s well that ends well.
Check out the hairball below, if you dare.