Woman on antibiotics develops a 'black hairy tongue' in freakish medical case


Luckily, black hairy tongue, or lingua villosa nigra, is typically painless and temporary. The answer is not as scary as it seems.

A 55-year-old woman suffered from "black hairy tongue" after a vehicle accident that left both of her legs crushed.

If your tongue starts to look suspiciously black and hairy, he added, don't panic, and "check with your primary doctor, because some other conditions can resemble this". Within a week, she reported nausea and a bad taste in her mouth - and her tongue appeared to be carpeted in a disconcerting black fuzz, photos from the report show.

Doctors suspected that she had developed a hairy tongue as a result of the minocycline treatment.

After developing an infection, she was treated with two antibiotics: an oral dose of minocycline and meropenem given intravenously.

The accident crushed both of her legs and led her to develop a polymicrobial wound infection - an infection caused by more than one microbe, according to a case report published yesterday (Sept. 6) in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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Despite the name, black hairy tongue isn't hair at all.

It said: "Black hairy tongue is usually reversible and has no long-term sequelae as long as the precipitating agent is discontinued and the patient practices good oral hygiene".

This condition, perhaps unsurprisingly called "black hairy tongue", isn't harmful, the report said, and is caused by the enlargement and growth of little bumps on the tongue's surface.

Symptoms include a metallic taste in the mouth, bad breath and a tickling sensation. Anxious about her health status, the women went to the hospital and found out she got "black hairy tongue" (lingua villosa nigra).

When Dr. Yasir Hamad heard that a patient's tongue had turned black, he decided he needed to see it for himself.