"It was the typical textbook case" of a condition known as black hairy tongue, said Hamad, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. It occurs when the tiny bumps on the tongue, called papillae, which are normally about 1 millimeter in length, grow longer than normal, start to trap food particles (as well as bacteria, yeast and other things) and become stained, giving the tongue the characteristic appearance, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The woman made a full recovery in four weeks once doctors adjusted her medication.
The woman, 55, was involved in a motor vehicle accident where both her legs were crushed, according to the case details published by the New England Journal of Medicine. After a week, the woman reported feeling nauseous and having a bad taste in her mouth, according to the report.
When Dr. Yasir Hamad heard that a patient's tongue had turned black, he decided he needed to see it for himself.
It is a temporary and harmless oral condition which gives the tongue a black discoloration or sometimes green, yellow or white, as well as a furry appearance.
"Back Hairy Tongue" can also be caused by poor oral hygiene, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, and it's more common than you think. The reasons why it happens are still unclear, according to the 2015 review, so scientists still don't exactly know how antibiotics or other factors may trigger the condition.
"As scary as this looks, the good part is that it's actually reversible", Hamad said. Anxious about her health status, the women went to the hospital and found out she got "black hairy tongue" (lingua villosa nigra).
Even though it's a very freaky medical condition, the so-called black hairy tongue is quite common across the world.
Despite the name, black hairy tongue isn't hair at all.