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Especially rare case of 'hairy tongue' identified in India

Especially rare case of 'hairy tongue' identified in India

In India, a 50-year-old man was diagnosed with "hairy tongue", a condition that is officially known as black hairy tongue (BHT). After identifying that something strange was happening in his mouth, the patient sought medical help in the state of Kerala. He is currently doing well and his tongue has returned to normal.

Published in the scientific journal The Journal of the American Medical Association , the case report of the Indian patient with the "hairy tongue" was described by doctors and scientists at the Medical Trust Hospital and the Amanza Skin Clinic, both in India.

Next, check how the patient's tongue was when he sought medical help:


It is worth explaining that the condition is not marked by the actual birth of hair on the tongue. What happens is the accumulation of sediment from bacteria and other infectious agents — which create this textured appearance in the region.

Case of the "hairy tongue"

According to the authors of the report, the patient's case was especially rare. The team described the tongue in the article as having "a thick black coating" that was "yellowish" in the center and back. Doctors also report that she had "thin, elongated, black fibers that gave the appearance of a hairy surface."

What happened to the patient?

If the images of the case can shock, it is important to point out that the person does not wake up overnight with the "hairy tongue". In fact, the formation of the hair-like filaments occurs over time and is gradual.

Three months before seeking medical help, the man suffered a stroke (stroke) and the incident caused a loss of strength in the limbs on the left side of his body. Because of the stroke, the patient was fed a diet based on soft or liquid foods. Those responsible for the study suggest that the diet associated with poor oral hygiene was responsible for the picture.

"The patient and caregivers were advised on proper cleaning measures and the [tongue] discoloration resolved after 20 days," the doctors detail. Currently, the patient has no sequelae from the incident.

Does the condition bring health risks?

Patients with "hairy tongue" syndrome appear to have hair inside their mouths (Image: Reproduction/Gurvits et al., 2014/World Journal of Gastroenterology)

Hairy tongue

"'Furry tongue' is a harmless, temporary oral condition that gives the tongue a dark, hairy appearance," says the Mayo Clinic. In some cases, the filaments can be in the colors: brown, green, yellow or white.

In addition, the condition does not usually cause health problems and is usually painless. On the other hand, the patient may feel an altered taste of food or a constant metallic taste in the mouth. It is common for a person to have bad breath (halitosis).

"The distinctive appearance usually results from a buildup of dead skin cells in the small projections (papills) on the surface of the tongue, which contain the taste buds. These papillae, which are longer than normal, can easily snag and be stained by bacteria. , yeast, tobacco, food or other substances," details the Mayo Clinic. In short, it is as if the patient carried various substances and residues on the tongue.

In general, the onset of the condition can be explained by a rare side effect of antibiotics, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, smoking or a diet of soft foods.


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