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hairball band, hairball
A hairball is a small collection of hair or fur formed in the stomach of animals, and uncommonly in humans, that is occasionally vomited up when it becomes too big Hairballs are formed from hair or fur that is delivered into stomach orally Hairballs are primarily a tight elongated cylinder of packed fur, but may include bits of other elements such as swallowed food Animals with hairballs are sometimes mistaken as having other conditions of the stomach such as lymphosarcoma, tuberculosis, and tumor of the spleen Felids are especially prone to hairball formation since they groom themselves by licking their fur, and thereby ingest it Rabbits are also prone to hairballs because they groom themselves in the same fashion as cats, but hairballs are especially dangerous for rabbits because they cannot regurgitate them Due to the digestive systems of rabbits being very fragile, hairballs in rabbits must be treated immediately or they may cause the animal to stop feeding and ultimately die due to dehydration Cattle are also known to accumulate hairballs but, as they do not vomit, these are found usually after death and can be quite large

A 5 cm 20 in cat hairball


  • 1 Clinical significance
  • 2 Society and culture
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References

Clinical significance

A trichobezoar is a bezoar a mass found trapped in the gastrointestinal system formed from the ingestion of hair Trichobezoars are often associated with trichotillomania compulsive hair pulling Trichobezoars are rare, but can be fatal if undetected Surgical intervention is often required

Society and culture

Although uncommon in humans, some hairballs have been reported These hairballs occur when hair strands collect in the stomach and are unable to be ejected as a result of the friction on the surface of the gastric mucosa Hairballs are often seen in young girls as a result of trichophagia, trichotillomania, and pica In 2003, a 3-year-old girl in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada had a grapefruit-sized hairball surgically removed from her stomach; in 2006, an 18-year-old woman from Chicago, Illinois, had a 45 kg 99 lb hairball surgically removed from her stomach; and in 2014, a 9-pound hairball was removed from the stomach of an 18-year-old in Kyrgyzstan Hairballs can be quite hazardous in humans since hair cannot be digested or passed by the human gastrointestinal system, and assuming it is identified even vomiting may be ineffective at removing the hair mass This can result in the general impairment of the digestive system

See also

  • Pellet ornithology
  • Rapunzel syndrome


  1. ^ Rolleston, JD 1924 "Specimen of Hair-ball of the Stomach" PDF Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 17 Section for the Study of Disease in Children: 5–8 PMC 2201872  PMID 19984083 
  2. ^ Sah DE, Koo J, Price VH 2008 "Trichotillomania" PDF Dermatol Ther 21 1: 13–21 doi:101111/j1529-8019200800165x PMID 18318881 
  3. ^ a b Gorter RR, Kneepkens CM, Mattens EC, Aronson DC, Heij HA May 2010 "Management of trichobezoar: case report and literature review" Pediatr Surg Int 26 5: 457–63 doi:101007/s00383-010-2570-0 PMC 2856853  PMID 20213124 
  4. ^ Ventura DE, Herbella FA, Schettini ST, Delmonte C 2005 "Rapunzel syndrome with a fatal outcome in a neglected child" J Pediatr Surg 40 10: 1665–7 doi:101016/jjpedsurg200506038 PMID 16227005 
  5. ^ Matejů E, Duchanová S, Kovac P, Moravanský N, Spitz DJ September 2009 "Fatal case of Rapunzel syndrome in neglected child" Forensic Sci Int 190 1-3: e5–7 doi:101016/jforsciint200905008 PMID 19505779 
  6. ^ Pul N, Pul M 1996 "The Rapunzel syndrome trichobezoar causing gastric perforation in a child: a case report" Eur J Pediatr 155 1: 18–9 doi:101007/bf02115620 PMID 8750804 
  7. ^ Dehghan A, Moaddab AH, Mozafarpour S "An unusual localization of trichobezoar in the appendix" Turk J Gastroenterol 2011 Jun;223:357-8
  8. ^ Santiago, Sanchez CA 1996 "Trichobezoar in a 11-year old girl: a case report" Boletin de la Asociacion Medica de Puerto Rico 88 1-3: 8–11 PMID 8885440 
  9. ^ Hairballs: Myths and Realities behind some Medical Curiosities Archived 2009-11-21 at the Wayback Machine, National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington, DC
  10. ^ "Talk about a Hairball!!!" Forumsdealofdaycom 2003-11-13 Retrieved 2011-02-09 
  11. ^ Levy, Ronald M; Komanduri, Srinadh M 2007 "Trichobezoar" New England Journal of Medicine 357 21: e23 doi:101056/NEJMicm067796 PMID 18032760 
  12. ^ Dodds, Laurence "Huge 9lb hairball removed from teenage girl's stomach" The Telegraph September 30, 2014
  13. ^ Girl died from eating her hair, BBC News, 1999-08-20

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