One doctor was shocked by what he found after examining a Chinese girl who came into the hospital reporting loss of appetite and weight loss. He detected a solid object in her stomach, and when he performed surgery to remove it, he found a massive clump of hair that weighed over a pound.

The twelve-year old girl, Qian Qian (not her real name), was brought to visit the doctor at the First Affiliated Hospital of Henan University of Science and Technology in Luoyan, Henan province of China. Qian Qian had been losing her appetite for the past year. She was gradually losing weight and her hair was also thinning. A lump could be felt growing inside her tummy. It felt hard to the touch, but it didn't seem painful to Qian Qian.

CT scans revealed a 30-centimeter (almost 12-inch) long object occupying 70 percent of Qian Qian's stomach. "The lump was shaped like her stomach and was solid," said Chen Ye, deputy director of the gastrointestinal tumor surgery department at the hospital. When Dr. Chen tried to remove the lump, he found it to be a massive clump of hair that took him well over an hour to get out of her stomach.

The clump weighed over half a kilogram, or over 1.1 pounds, and was an intertwining mass of black hair. Dr. Chen said this large quantity of hair could not have been consumed in a short period of time.

Doctors said Qian Qian suffers from pica, a pathological disorder where sufferers develop an appetite for clay, dirt, chalk or other similar substances that are unusual and provide no nutritional value, and had been eating her own hair. Dr. Chen says pica usually starts when a child is young, and should be assessed and corrected as soon as possible.