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Onycholysis Treatment, Causes, Symptoms


Onycholysis Picture

Onycholysis is the gradually and painless separation of the nail plate from the nail bed and it can occur for various factors, being the most usual trauma, fungal nail infection or onychomycosis. This is primarily a disease of adulthood that can carry out signs of other skin diseases or may be the cause of infections, injury, allergic contact to acrylic nail compounds or just an overactive thyroid gland.

The incidence of onycholysis is unknown in individuals of either sex, however studies demonstrate that women are more prone to this condition than men, especially those who wear long fingernails as result from the traumatic effect of having the tips of their nails hitting against hard objects. Nails affected usually are firm, smooth and without inflammatory reaction because this is not a disease of the nail matrix.

The symptoms are manifest; when a nail has lifted from its bed at its end and presents an irregular border between the pink portion of the nail, the white outside edge of itself and a greater portion of the nail is opaque. In some rare cases of onycholysis the spontaneous nail plate separation can be confined to the nails lateral borders although it usually starts at the distal free margin and progressing proximally. Discoloration to yellow or green underneath, the nail may occur as consequences of secondary infection the same as some medical conditions deforming the nail plate's shape with pits or indentations in the nail surface.

Onycholysis can be diagnosed by examining the fingernails and toenails; if the cause is not obvious, your physician will note other characteristics of your nails, such as the appearance of the skin that surrounds the nails, the presence of indentations in their surface, their color, shape or any evidence of skin rashes or thyroid problems. If a fungal infection is suspected as the possible cause of nail changes, the procedure may include scraping a sample of tissue from beneath the nail plate to be tested in a laboratory and checking for fungus. It is important to treat opportunely the factors that exacerbate the onycholysis, left untreated may result in nail bed scarring.

Nails are slow to grow and take several months to repair themselves. The only way to clear out the onycholysis is after the new nail has replaced the affected area because the portion of nail that is separated from the skin surface will not reattach. Onycholysis is difficult to cure, may affect the nail appearance permanently, and even have side effects if the doctor prescribes medicines to treat fungal infections.

Applying some preventive measures will make the onycholysis less likely to occur. Among them, avoid frequent exposure to harsh chemicals including nail polish remover, wear light cotton gloves under vinyl or rubber gloves for repetitive immersion of nails in water because they expand with moisture and then shrink while drying. Clip the affected portion of the nail, and keep the nails short to ensure they endure repeated trauma from tapping everyday.

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