Eyelash-Like Hairs Found Growing Out of Women's Gums in Extremely Rare Medical Case

A woman in Italy had hairs growing out of her gums, in one of less than a dozen known cases of a condition known as gingival hirsutism.

The unnamed 25-year-old complained to doctors that she had hair growing out of her mouth, according to a case study published in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology.

The woman had previously been 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. Examinations by doctors revealed the woman had hair on her chin and neck. And inside her mouth, she had "some brown hair, similar to eyelashes," the authors of the case study wrote.

The team removed the hairs. But a year later, the patient returned "with even more widespread presence of oral hairs" which were growing out of her gums.

According to the doctors, it is "exceedingly rare" for a person to have hairs growing out of their mouth and the cause is unknown. They found only five other cases after reviewing scientific literature. Most cases involved a single hair in various parts of the mouth.

"The aim of the present article is to report a follow-up presentation of a rare case of oral hirsutism detected in a young woman," they wrote.

The patient had first visited the clinic six years before with the same problem. At that time, the hair was removed during surgery and she was prescribed oral contraceptives in an attempt to balance her hormones, Science Alert reported, citing the case study. But when she stopped taking the contraceptives, the hairs appeared once more in her mouth. It is unclear why she stopped taking the medication.

Woman Grows Hairs Out of Her Gums in Extremely Rare Medical Case https://t.co/Dwc6xvglKL

— ScienceAlert (@ScienceAlert) February 5, 2020

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, according to Science Alert. 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 a creamy, yellowish soft granules appearing in the membrane lining the mouth called the oral mucosa.

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A stock image shows a woman having her teeth examined. Doctors have detailed the case of a woman who had hair growing out of her mouth. Getty