Rapunzel syndrome

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Rapunzel syndrome is an extremely rare intestinal condition in humans resulting from ingesting hair (trichophagia).[1][2] The syndrome is named after the long-haired girl Rapunzel in the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Trichophagia is sometimes associated with the hair-pulling disorder trichotillomania.[3]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Characteristics of the syndrome include:

  • The body of a trichobezoar (hairball) located in the stomach, and its tail (hence the reference to Rapunzel in the syndrome's name) in the small bowel and/or in the right colon
  • Small or large bowel obstruction
  • Occurring in psychiatric patients
  • Trichotillomania

Rapunzel Syndrome is caused by indigestion of hair.



Because the human gastrointestinal tract is unable to digest human hair, the trichobezoar may have to be treated surgically. Patients usually also require psychiatric evaluation and treatment due to the association with impulse control disorders, especially trichotillomania.[4]


  1. ^ Sah DE, Koo J, Price VH (2008). "Trichotillomania" (PDF). Dermatol Ther. 21 (1): 13–21. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8019.2008.00165.x. PMID 18318881. 
  2. ^ 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:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2005.06.038. PMID 16227005. 
  3. ^ Chamberlain SR, Menzies L, Sahakian BJ, Fineberg NA (April 2007). "Lifting the veil on trichotillomania". Am J Psychiatry. 164 (4): 568–74. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.164.4.568. PMID 17403968. 
  4. ^ 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:10.1007/s00383-010-2570-0. PMC 2856853Freely accessible. PMID 20213124. 

Further reading[edit]