An 11-year-old girl who was so ill she could barely swallow was found to have a giant hairball weighing more than a kilo in her stomach. The unnamed girl arrived at a hospital in Taraz, in southern Kazakhstan's Jambyl region, suffering from such a severe stomach ache she was unable to eat or drink.
Surgeons decided to operate on her immediately to find out what was wrong, and were shocked when they discovered the huge ball of hair in her digestive system.
They found 17cm (6.7in) of hairball filling her stomach and 35cm (13.8 inches) protruding into her bowel.
Her parents admitted they had often spotted her chewing her long hair, but said they didn't know this habit was unhealthy. They also had no idea she was swallowing the hair she chewed off, a condition known as tricophagia.
The girl was diagnosed with Rapunzel syndrome, a rare condition in which a hairball (called a trichobezar) becomes stuck in the stomach, with its tail in the colon.
As the hairball grows, it can cause ulcers, tear the stomach and bowel and block the digestive system.
The syndrome is rare, with less than 120 cases reported in the medical literature, and it almost always affects young women.