Although uncommon in humans, some hairballs have been reported. These hairballs occur when hair strands collect in the stomach and are unable to be ejected as a result of the friction on the surface of the gastric mucosa. Hairballs are often seen in young girls as a result of trichophagia, trichotillomania and pica. In 2003, a 3-year old girl in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada had a grapefruit-sized hairball surgically removed from her stomach; and in 2004, an 18-year old woman from McAdam, New Brunswick, Canada, had a 2.3 kg hairball surgically removed from her lower intestine. Hairballs can be quite hazardous in humans, since hair cannot be digested or passed by the human gastrointestinal system, and even vomiting may be ineffective at removing the hair mass. This can result in the general impairment of the digestive system.
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