What Made This Woman's Tongue Turn Black and 'Hairy'?


Within a week her tongue went black and fuzzy. The condition typically occurs when papillae - normal bumps on the tongue's surface - grow longer than normal because they're not shedding dead cells properly, according to the Mayo Clinic. The answer is not as scary as it seems.

She suffered during the accident: serious injuries to both legs and the infection of multiple wounds.

The case outlined in the journal involves a woman who was prescribed two kinds of antibiotics after being injured in a vehicle accident.

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

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A week after the treatment, a black discolouration appeared on her tongue and the woman reported suffering from nausea and a bad taste in her mouth.

Antibiotics are said to be just one of many factors that can result in black hairy tongue.

Debris, bacteria, or other microorganisms can then collect on the elongated papillae, causing the condition's trademark black discoloration.

Black hairy tongue is usually reversible, provided the root cause is identified and steps are taken to address it.

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Symptoms include a metallic taste in the mouth, bad breath and a tickling sensation.

A U.S. woman who developed a odd black discolouration on her tongue as a side-effect of her medication has been successfully treated for the condition.

Four weeks after doctors swapped out the minocycline for an alternative treatment, her tongue turned back to normal.

Dr. Yasir Hamad, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine and an author of the report, told CNN that the patient had a "typical textbook case" of the condition.

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Black hairy tongue is an uncommon and harmless side effect of some drugs, but it can also be linked to smoking, poor oral hygiene and certain medical conditions.