A rare prevalence of hairs in one Italian woman’s mouth continues to be a head-scratcher for doctors.
In a new case study published in the Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology medical journal, researchers attempt to explain the 25-year-old’s condition, for which she first sought help six years prior.
At the time, the unidentified patient was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, which is a common hormonal disorder among women that can lead to hair growth in uncommon areas, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The woman, in this case, also had excessive hair growing on her chin and neck, as well as between her teeth.
According to the doctors who authored the study, they identified small brown, eyelash-like hairs growing from her gums upon examination.
The small patches of hair were removed, the study said, but a year later she returned with an “even more widespread presence of oral hair” throughout her gums.
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According to the researchers, mouth hair is an “extremely rare finding” — they only identified five other cases in their literature review, all of whom were male patients with minor instances of hairs.
“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,” the authors concluded.
Doctors do not believe PCOS — which includes other symptoms like enlarged ovaries and irregular periods — was the cause of the hair in the woman’s mouth, only that it may have contributed to or exacerbated the condition.
The current state of the woman at the center of the study’s health was not provided.