Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Ffalstaf

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In the Breaking News for Friday 17 April 2009, the link "Health dangers for hairy woman" points to a news story which links female hirsutism to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (which I won't bother quoting because it's long and boring but you can read it here ).

This won't be news to you if you've been through IVF with PCOS as a factor, as is the case with my wife and me.

I'd like to do my little bit, though, to nip in the bud the back-formation "PCOS sufferers are hairy", which seems to have gained currency.

My wife has PCOS and is remarkably unhairy, e.g. barely-there eyebrows which she has never plucked. Our son has inherited her relative hairlessness.

Thankyou. We now return you to our regular deprogramming.
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's a case of hirsutism associated with PCOS - a case remarkable for involving hairs growing from the gums.
Woman grows 'eyelash-like' hairs in her mouth

... The woman first visited doctors for the condition in 2009 when she was 19 years old, according to a report published in the February issue of the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology. At the time, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition caused by an imbalance in levels of sex hormones in the body. PCOS can cause excessive hair growth (a symptom known as hirsutism), including excess facial and body hair, according to the National Institutes of Health.

She was treated with oral surgery to remove the gum hairs and given birth control pills to help regulate hormone levels. (Hormonal contraception is a known treatment for PCOS.) Several months later, doctors saw no signs of the hairs.

But six years later, when the woman was 25 years old, she returned to the same clinic with hairs in her gums. She told doctors that she had stopped taking the prescribed birth control pills. Doctors saw that she had excess hair on her chin and neck; and inside her mouth, she had brown hairs "similar to eyelashes" on her gums.

Doctors again removed the hairs and asked the patient to come back soon for a checkup. But she did not return until a year later, when she had even more hairs growing from her gums, which were also removed.

Hair growth inside the mouth is extremely unusual. Only five previous cases of this happening have been reported in the medical literature, the authors said.

In this case, the authors hypothesized that the hair growth in the gums was a result of the hormonal imbalances tied to PCOS. Indeed, they note that when the woman stopped treatment with birth control pills, the hair growth returned. (It's unclear why the woman stopped taking the birth control pills.) This appears to be the first case of oral hair growth in connection with PCOS.

There is no cure for PCOS, and so the woman is at risk for the hairs returning, Dr. Khrystyna Zhurakivska, a clinical dental researcher at the University of Foggia, told Gizmodo. But it's likely that continued treatment with hormonal contraception would reduce her symptoms, Gizmodo reported.

But how exactly does gum tissue grow hairs? The answer isn't clear, but researchers do know that, during embryonic development, the tissue that forms the mouth comes from the same layer of cells that forms the skin. Indeed, it's common for people to have sebaceous glands — the glands in the skin that secrete an oily substance and often surround hair follicles — in their mouths, the authors said. In fact, it's actually a mystery why these glands are common in the mouth, while hair in the mouth is so rare, they said.
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/woman-grows-hair-from-mouth.html
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's an updated version of the February 2020 story posted above ...
Woman Grows Hairs Out of Her Gums in an Extremely Rare Medical Case

Just over 10 years ago, a 19-year-old woman met with doctors at the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Italy, providing them with a rare case of what's known in the medical field as gingival hirsutism. ...

"In 2009, we reported a case of a young woman who presented with hairs on the sulcular epithelium of the retroincisor palatal papilla," the specialists reported in their case study, published in August 2019.

To translate, they found a scattering of eyelash-like hairs protruding from the soft tissues directly behind her upper front teeth.

A dig through the literature revealed just five other similar cases – all men – dating back to the 1960s.

It's impossible to know just how many have been afflicted with this condition throughout history. With so few recorded examples, doctors have a hard time even figuring out why this happens.

In this case, pathologists were quick find a potential clue. Hormone tests and ultrasounds led to a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a reproductive condition connected to hormonal imbalances. ...

The hairs were removed surgically, and following a course of oral contraceptives to help address the imbalance of hormones, the patient returned to a mouth-hair-free life. For a while, at least.

Six years later the unnamed patient returned to the clinic. Having stopped the hormonal medication, her gingival hirsutism had returned.

This time the medical team didn't just remove the hairs; they took an opportunity to take a small section of tissue for a closer look under the microscope, finding a hair shaft pushing its way through unusually thickened tissues of her gums.

A year on and her condition had worsened, with hairs emerging from even more sites around her mouth. ...

There's no word on whether the patient has since returned to the prescribed medication, or if she continues to deal with hair growth among her teeth. It's also unclear if the dental abnormality affects her health in other ways, or is even uncomfortable. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/woman-grows-hairs-out-of-her-gums-in-an-extremely-rare-medical-case
 

catseye

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I know two women with PCOS. One slightly hirsuite, more and darker body hair but otherwise not so hairy, and the other with normal amounts of body hair but lots of facial hair (to the extent that she has to shave).

So maybe it's all completely down to the individual and their tendency to hairyness?

Either way it's a bastard of a condition and I can only wish well to any sufferers.
 
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