Woman grows hair from gums -rare case
Italy: In whats is being described as an extremely rare case, a 25-year-old woman in Italy had hairs growing out of her gums. The case study, published in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, described a rare case of oral hirsutism detected in this young woman.
The occurrence of hairs in the oral cavity is an exceedingly rare event, with unknown etiology. A literature review found only 5 cases, most of which described a single hair localized in various sites of the oral cavity.
The woman was previously diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) -- a hormonal disorder which can cause hirsutism, or excessive hair growth in a male-like pattern, including on the face, chest, and back. When the 25-year-old first sought help 10 years ago, tests showed she had abnormally high levels of testosterone.
However, six years later, the woman's hairy mouth worsened after she came off her PCOS medication. Extraoral facial examination revealed the presence of exuberant hair on the chin and neck regions. Intraoral examination showed some brown hair, similar to eyelashes, which were removed and the underlying tissue histologically analyzed.
One year later, the patient came back with even more widespread presence of oral hairs distributed on the gingivae of both arches.
To gain an understanding of why she was dealing with this little-understood condition, the team removed a piece of tissue from her mouth. They discovered her gum was unusually thick and a hair shaft had pushed its way through.
The authors of the paper wrote that they believe the tissue inside the mouth is similar to those which create skin when we are in the womb. They added that the glands which create oil in the outer layer of the skin are also present in the mouth. This can trigger a condition known as Fordyce granules, characterized by creamy, yellowish soft granules appearing in the membrane lining the mouth called the oral mucosa.
"The occurrence of hairs in the oral cavity is an extremely rare finding. The etiology is still unknown; however, an investigation of systemic health is always desirable because more complex medical conditions may be present and not recognized," concluded the authors.
"An unusual case of recurrent gingival hirsutism," is published in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology.