That thing is called a trichobezoar. Tricho = hair. Bezoar = nasty mass of indigestible stuff. We get these with reasonable frequency in the pathology lab. The one you see above, you may have noted, is cast in the shape of a stomach. Those who eat their hair are said to suffer the from the so-called “Rapunzel syndrome”. I’m trying to figure out a catchy name for those who eat their own pubic hair.
Hair is not the only material we get. I have seen phytobezoars (plants), plasticbagobezoars, paperclipobezoars and CornNut®obezoars (OK, I made that last one up – shockingly, the other ones I did not).
This came up recently on a scalp biopsy from a young woman with patchy baldness. “Well, of course”, you are probably thinking, “could be telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, like ya know, wha-eva’”. Well, I diagnosed trichotrillomania, or, for the non-medical types, freakshow-who-pulls-out-her-own-hair. Maybe I’m being too critical. Maybe Head-and-Shoulders tastes like fucking maple syrup. So I apologize for the offense I have caused. Go ahead and eat that plastic shopping bag from Wal-Mart. Who am I to judge.