Hypertrichosis, commonly referred to as the ‘werewolf syndrome,’ is a rare hormonal condition that causes hair to grow all over the body.
Bithi Akhtar is a 12-year-old girl from Tangail district in central Bangladesh suffering from this rare condition. Her face, hands and legs are covered with black hackle-like strands.
She has been suffering from the condition since birth, but when she reached puberty it became more troubling. Last year, the middle school student also had an abnormal growth spurt in her breasts.
To make matters worse Bithi also suffers from a condition that causes her breasts to grow at an abnormal rate – an illness so severe that her 12-year-old frame cannot hold the weight and prevents her from standing up. Bithi’s breast condition is so severe that it has forced her to leave school.
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Her condition has left her parents both distressed and worried for her future. The family say they likely won’t be able to afford the procedure necessary to cure the ailment.
Bithi’s mother, Beauty, 27, said;
“My daughter was born with thick black hair that looked like wool all over her body. I think she got the ‘disease’ when she was in my womb.”
“We sought help from several doctors but no one could treat her completely. Although the hair stopped growing further long, but last year, she complained of pain in her chest.”
Her mother further narrates that Bithi would cry all day long because of the immense pain due to the weight. She could not walk or sit straight. Ms Akhtar, who has other two boys aged nine and seven says that despite being a bright student, Bithi had to stop attending school because of the pain, and also because of the jibes from peers, who describe her as a werewolf.
Although Bithi’s ailment is curable, her father, Abdur Razzak, a motorcycle driver who ferries passengers on a rented motorcycle and makes £30 a day, believes he won’t be able to afford all the treatment she’ll need.
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She’s currently receiving treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujb Medical College in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dr Farid Uddin, Head of the Department of Hormones at the hospital describes Bithi’s condition as a severe case of abnormal hormones.