Well, this is something you don’t see every day:

news headline about hair growing from a woman's gums

According to the recently published case report, the woman was 19 when she noticed one of the eyelash-like hairs sticking out from her gums and sought help. The doctors found that she had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone disorder in that can cause excess hair growth on face and body alike.

So they put her on birth control in an attempt to regulate her hormones and surgically removed the hair from her gums, and all was well for a while. But 6 years later, she returned with worsened symptoms.

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.

Here’s what it looked like, courtesy of Science Alert:

hair growing from gingiva

The authors of the case report

Suggest that since the mucosal tissues inside the mouth are closely related to the tissues that build our skin while we’re an embryo, it’s not hard to imagine how hair cells might be activated in theory.

They go on to point out that the oil-producing glands of our outer skin commonly grow inside the mouth, leading to a condition called Fordyce granules.

Hair growing in the mouth like this is extremely rare, to say the least. Only 5 other cases have been reported, dating back to the 1960s, and this is the first time the condition has been documented in a female patient. This isn’t to say that there were no cases before the 1960s, only that they weren’t noted in the medical literature.

One thing that’s not so surprising, though, is that the woman’s condition worsened with time.

While the superficial trigger for her symptoms was addressed – the hormonal imbalance – the underlying cause of the imbalance was not. If the root cause isn’t addressed, how can the problem be solved? It’s a little like bailing water out of an overflowing tub without bothering to turn off the tap or treating a burn while still holding your hand on a hot stove.

To get at the cause, you must look at the state of the patient’s biological terrain and how it got into the condition it is today. Symptoms are a sign that the body is being challenged and may be having trouble regulating correctly. Address the factors that are interfering with the body’s innate self-regulative ability, and you move much further along the path to real healing.


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