Unhealthy nails / hangnails

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Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 3766
   Posted 7/10/2008 2:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Has anyone else experienced very unhealthy nails and cuticles? For the past year or so, my nails have been getting progressively worse. I constantly have tons of hangnails...they never seem to heal up or go away even though I try to trim them down with a nail clippers and I put good lotion on my hands and cuticles at least 3-4 times each day. I have lost the moons on all my nails except for my thumbs. At first my fingernails were fine, but both of the nails on my big toes got vertical ridges in them. Now some of my fingernails are getting some ridges in them as well. I asked my PCP about this and she thought it might be a zinc deficiency. I started taking a supplement and now my levels are normal again, but it hasn't helped my nails. Anyone know what might be causing this or if there are doctors who specialize in this type of thing? It's not that big of a deal, but I still wonder what causes it and it's annoying to constantly have open cuts on my hands from all the hangnails.

Thanks!
24 years old
Diagnosed with UC March 2007; yet to go into complete remission
Asacol 4 tablets 3x/day
Rowasa (generic) - nightly; Canasa (1,000 mg) in the morning
Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri 2/day; Chewable multivitamin; Metamucil; Viactiv


quincy
Elite Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 25775
   Posted 7/10/2008 3:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Sara..what type of work do you do?

Are you eating properly and getting enough protein in your diet?

One product that works well for my nails is Neutrogena body lotion..unscented... I use it as a hand lotion, and my nails seem so much more strong and grow like crazy.

q
*Heather*Status: mini flare Dec 28... tapered to every 4th night
~diagnosed January 1989 UC (proctosigmoiditis)
~5ASA: Asacol (6 daily) + Salofalk enemas (increase for flares tapered to maintenance)
~Bentylol (dicyclomine) 20mg as needed
~vitamins/minerals/supplements 
~Probiotic 3(Natural Factors Protec) bedtime + 1 (Primadophilus Reuteri) occasionally
~multi-digestive enzymes as needed ....zymactive 3 - 5x daily
~Ranitidine,Pariet (reflux) Effexor XR 75mg;  Pulmicort/Airomir (asthma)
~URSO for PSC (or PBC) 500mg X 2 daily (LFTs back to NORMAL!!)
My doc's logic.. "TREAT (FROM)BOTH ENDS"  worth it !!!


ediekristen
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 7/10/2008 3:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Are you supposed to have the little half moons at the bottom of your nails? I only have them on my thumbs as well, guess I never thought about it. Usually when I'm really sick or starting to go that way my nails get really thin and break easily. Right now I also have little white marks on every nail, and I can see that there are vertical ridges on most of them, but supposedly vertical ridges are okay but horizontal ones are not. When I worked for a podiatrist he told me it was because of nutrient deficiency of sorts, most likely due to the UC and the fact that I go to the bathroom a million times a day so I'm not getting the nutrients I need.

Also eating jello really helps hair and nails become stronger.

Female, 23, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in femur head & lumbar region of the spine from long term prednisone use. 

Currently unmedicated and flaring :(
Waiting for my appointment with the new GI on July 18th. Insurance finally kicked in, hooray!

 
 
 


dakotagirl
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 3402
   Posted 7/10/2008 6:08 PM (GMT -6)   
While on pred I have issues with my nails and cuticles. Biotin usually helps - when I remember to take it. Remember that it takes a while for a new healthy nail to grow out...
Pan-colitis and GERD diagnosed May 2003
Osteopenia (hip and spine) diagnosed Feb 2006
Status:  close to remission?!?!?
10mg Pred, Asacol 12 per day,  Azathioprine 100mg, Aciphex, Forvia, and Pro-Bio
Remicade: 1st infusion 06/17/08:  Next (3rd) infusion 08/12/08
 
Co-Moderator for the UC forum:  Keep HealingWell running smoothly:  www.healingwell.com/donate


Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 3766
   Posted 7/10/2008 6:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the responses.

quincy - Yes, I am eating a healthy diet...a good amount of fruits, veggies and whole grains and plenty of protein from peanut butter, other nuts, beans, eggs and soy products. I work in a newspaper office, so I spend a lot of time typing.

dakota - My multivitamin has some biotin in it. How much do you take?

edie - I have read that we're supposed to have the half-moons and I used to have them, but I'm not sure if maybe it's normal for them to go away as we get older..? Maybe I will try the jello suggestion, although I don't really like jello much... =) So your podiatrist told you the vertical ridges were from nutritional deficiency? I have been told that white marks on your nails can mean you're lacking iron or that you've injured your nail at some point. I used to get those every once in a while, but don't have any now...just some whitish lines on the ridges.
24 years old
Diagnosed with UC March 2007; yet to go into complete remission
Asacol 4 tablets 3x/day
Rowasa (generic) - nightly; Canasa (1,000 mg) in the morning
Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri 2/day; Chewable multivitamin; Metamucil; Viactiv


Old Hat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 4565
   Posted 7/10/2008 8:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I used to get hangnails constantly from handling office files, library card catalogues, sharp paper/cardboard. It helped to trim them off right away & rub in original Vaseline-- good for nails, too. Rather an occupational hazard, as Quincy suggests ... / Old Hat (nearly 30 yrs with left-sided UC ... [etc.])

piper_chris
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 7/10/2008 11:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I only have the moons on my thumbs. I have vertical ridges on all the nails on my hands, people have told me it is a deficiency but none ever have concretely said deficiency of WHAT. I hardly even have cuticles. My nails are brittle. If you find out what kind of deficiency is causing the ridges, please post it.
- diagnosed ulcerative colitis Feb 2005
- currently 20mg prednisone (tapering down from 80mg), 75 mg 6-MP/mercaptopurine/purinethol (only been taking it for a month so far), asacol/mesalamine 4800mg (4 pills x 3 times day), 1 Canasa 1000mg nightly, VSL#3, multivitamin, calcium, fish oil, sometimes iron pills


pb4
Elite Member


Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 18011
   Posted 7/10/2008 11:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I have super healthy nails and hair...I eat alot of extra virgine olive oil and I use it as a moisturizer therefore it gets massaged into my nails and hands as well...my nails have a very nice luster to them since doing this...the EVOO will also heal up your hangnails, not to mention any other sores you might have anywhere on your body, great for bug bits, even sun burns, turns the burn into a tan the next day with no peeling...can't say enough good things about EVOO.

Try it, you'll see :)
My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it!  LOL  :)


doors12
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 576
   Posted 7/11/2008 12:07 AM (GMT -6)   
I have had screwed up fingernails for years now.  Mainly persistent hangnails like you describe, but also really deep horizontal ridges on my thumbnails, and occasionally vertical ridges on some other fingernails.
 
I think it's strange how the active ingredient in Head and Shoulders is some Zinc product, and how that finally resolved my folliculitis (which a dermatologist prescribed me antibiotics that warned not to use with colitis despite me telling him I would not take things like that at the beginning of the appointment)
 
I have always felt that whatever was wrong with my fingernails, if I could ever find out, would fix all of the other things I had.  I know there is a connection.  I believe the disease process caused me OCD like symptoms as well, which spontaneously and completely resolved by the way.  My wild assed guess on this connection would be inflammation in the brain, or something (ie immune complexes) crossing the blood brain barrier.
 
But I hear your concern regarding the fingernails.  Which reminds me, there is a form of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) where people constantly pull their own hair out, or shred their cuticles.  Most people probably look at that and think it's just odd, sick behavior.  (the cold mechanics of a modern philosophy of mental illness)  But who's to say that there is not something also wrong with the cuticles which makes them pick at them  (i do constantly).  Not so far fetched really, maybe there are malformed microvessels or capillaries or what not. 
 
 
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 6/2006 at age 26 after sudden E.R. visit
~Pancolitis (Mild to Moderate)
 ~I had Mono in 2000
On Colazal 3x3/day; Folic Acid 1mg; Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc combo
In remission about 2-3 months after E.R. but not back to normal!
 
~Interested in finding a cure/making sense out of U.C. and philosophical and psychological aspects of UC and "Stress" and Personal Development issues with Chronic Illnesses. 


summerstorm
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 7/11/2008 1:10 AM (GMT -6)   
before i had surgery, my hair, nails and skin were all suffering. I have never had good nails, but while i was sick they were even worse. Random fact, but when archealogists look at bodies, they can tell, even from thousands and thousands of years ago, the persons health by lookign at their nails. Each time you have a serious illness you get ridges in your nails. Kind of like tree rings. It was sort of explained to me like this, when your body isn't getting what it needs, or when it is working hard to keep something vital to survival healthy (this also happens when you are pregnant) the body takes from the places that it needs less, the hair and nails. Since i have had surgery, my hair has gotten better, my nails have gotten better, fewer hangnails, and whatever was wrong with my hands that made the skin crack and peel and be all nasty looking has resolved mostly.
I def think that UC has something to do with it, maybe not the disease itself, but just the fact of having a serious illness like that.

dakotagirl
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 3402
   Posted 7/11/2008 11:03 AM (GMT -6)   
I can't remember the dose of biotin I was using - but it was FAR more than what is in a multivitamin. 5000 of some sort of units... It is a large dose, and you can get it in 1000 of whatever units... But it is a B vitamin, which is water soluble, and your body will just excrete the excess.
Pan-colitis and GERD diagnosed May 2003
Osteopenia (hip and spine) diagnosed Feb 2006
Status:  close to remission?!?!?
5mg Pred, Asacol 12 per day,  Azathioprine 100mg, Aciphex, Forvia, and Pro-Bio
Remicade: 1st infusion 06/17/08:  Next (3rd) infusion 08/12/08
 
Co-Moderator for the UC forum:  Keep HealingWell running smoothly:  www.healingwell.com/donate


Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 3766
   Posted 7/11/2008 12:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all the replies!

pb4 - I eat a lot of extra virgin olive oil. I will have to try using it as moisturizer. I tried once but found it so oily that it kind of turned me off to it.

I get really, really dry skin on my hands and feet, especially in the winters (just started about a year before getting UC). I have been diagnosed with eczema since I have had really itchy little red bumps on my hands and feet a couple different times. I'm not sure that it really was eczema or something else though.

I do catch myself picking at my hangnails quite a bit which I'm sure doesn't help the situation, so I will try to break that habit. You're probably right, Old Hat, that handling papers a lot during the day contributes to my nail and hangnail problem.

If I ever find out if I do have a nutritional deficiency causing this I will post it.
24 years old
Diagnosed with UC March 2007; yet to go into complete remission
Asacol 4 tablets 3x/day
Rowasa (generic) - nightly; Canasa (1,000 mg) in the morning
Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri 2/day; Chewable multivitamin; Metamucil; Viactiv


Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22058
   Posted 7/12/2008 4:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I swear by Biotin! I have had horrible ridges in my nails and someone on here said to start Biotin, which I did. I started at 3mgs (3000mcgs) and I didn't notice much of a difference then I switched to high potency 5mgs (5000mcgs) and I no longer have the ridges. My nails and hair grow so much more quicker and they're both really healthy looking now.
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
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~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs), Hydrocortisone E's, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Allergies-Singulair, Allegra
~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging discs C5,C6&C7(?)~waiting for epidural injections
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basa0806
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 2103
   Posted 7/12/2008 11:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I've heard a couple times that the white marks and ripples in nails are from damages to the nail. Mine nails have been AWFUL lately. Its almost like the sides don't grow as deep as they should and I have hangnails all the time! It sucks because I used to have really nice nails :(
Sam
Diagnosed March 2005
Remission since January/April 2006 (incident with mono)
3200mg Asacol, 25mg Amitriptlyine, Ortho Tri-cyclen lo, Imodium when I need it
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude"
Maya Angelou


pb4
Elite Member


Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 18011
   Posted 7/12/2008 11:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Sara14 said...
Thanks for all the replies!

pb4 - I eat a lot of extra virgin olive oil. I will have to try using it as moisturizer. I tried once but found it so oily that it kind of turned me off to it.

It soaks in after a few moments, it's sooo good for you inside and out, definitely give it a chance, especially for your hands/nails and any other problem areas.
 
:)
My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it!  LOL  :)


Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 3766
   Posted 7/13/2008 9:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks guys. I will try out the biotin and try to use moisturizers more and stop picking at my nails/cuticles.
Diagnosed with UC March 2007; yet to go into complete remission
Asacol 4 tablets 3x/day; Rowasa every 3-4 nights; Canasa every 3 nights;
Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri 1/day; Chewable multivitamin; Metamucil; Viactiv; Zinc supplement every few days

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