When you hear the words Rapunzel syndrome it’s likely that you’ll conjure up images of fairy tales and a certain Walt Disney movie. Thoughts of long, flowing beautiful hair and handsome princes scaling towers to rescue fair maidens. But sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth of this scary rare condition. Sorry, fantasy fans, but we’re not in a fairy tale any more!
Rapunzel syndrome is a rare condition caused by eating a large amount of human hair. People with Rapunzel syndrome often suffer from trichophagia, which is the compulsive eating of hair. As the human stomach cannot digest hair, hairballs can form in the patient’s intestines which can only be removed by surgery. Sadly, this is what happened to Jasmine Beever.
16 year old Jasmine Beever was attending college in the UK, when she lost consciousness and had to be taken to hospital. When she returned home from her hospital visit, she went straight to bed only to discover that her skin was turning red and blotchy.
When Jasmine returned to hospital, medical staff managed to resuscitate her for 15 minutes but sadly, she died shortly after. We would like to offer our sincerest condolences to Jasmine’s family and friends during this difficult time. We can’t imagine how difficult it must be to lose a loved one in this way.
Jasmines autopsy revealed that she had been suffering from peritonitis, an inflammation of the thin inner wall of the abdomen, but that wasn’t all the doctors found. They discovered a hairball in Jasmines stomach which had steadily grown for years. This hairball lead to the formation of an ulcer, which burst leading to organ failure.
Donna Marshall, a family friend of Jasmine’s, revealed on Facebook that the teenager had been chewing and sucking on her own hair for a number of years. This is an innocent habit that we’ve all seen people do, but it’s terrifying to think that it could lead to the serious consequences of Rapunzel syndrome.
Since Jasmine’s tragic death, her best friend Billie-Jo has been doing all she can to support Jasmine’s family in their time of need. She has set up a Just Giving page which initially had a target of £2,000. That target has been nearly doubled now and at the time of writing has raised the equivalent of almost $4,700. At times like this, it’s kindness that truly makes the biggest difference.
Jasmine has been described by her friends as “amazing. She was one of those kids where she would make a sad face in the room smile. She was so bubbly.” We’re all very sorry to hear about this tragic loss of a young life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.
Have you ever heard of Rapunzel syndrome before? Has learning about it made you think twice about your own hair chewing habits? Leave us a comment and let us know, and please share this article with your family and friends. Once again we would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Jasmine Beever in this difficult time.