Unusual conditions: what is Rapunzel syndrome and why do some people eat hair?

In the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the trapped Rapunzel lets down her long hair through a tower window so a prince can climb up and rescue her. Named after this tale, Rapunzel syndrome is an extremely rare medical condition where hairs the person has eaten become tangled and trapped in their stomach. This causes a trichobezoar (hair ball) to form, which has a long tail extending into the small intestine. Recently, a 38-year-old woman had a 15 x 10 cm hair ball surgically removed from her stomach and a 4 x 3 cm hair ball removed from the top of…
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