onycholysis | What Is onycholysis | Causes of Onycholysis | Symptoms of Onycholysis | Tests for Determining Onycholysis
What is Onycholysis?
Onycholysis is a diseases whose symptoms appear as the separation of the nail plate from the nail bed on your fingers and toes. But that is not the full definition. The separation must be gradual and must be painless. Onycholysis can happen due to a number of reasons including trauma, onychomycosis or fungal infection in the nails. Onycholysis is generally seen in adulthood and might be symptomatic of other skin diseases or infections, allergic contact to some compounds like acrylic nail products, consequence of an injury, or hyperactive thyroid glands.
Onycholysis disease is not restricted to any one sex but generally women are more prone to it specially those who keep long fingernails. Actually long fingernails result in its tip being hit against hard objects repeatedly. It is also seen that the affected nails don’t show any skin inflammation and the finger nail remains firm and smooth. It is simply because onycholysis is not a disease of the nails tissue matrix.
Causes of Onycholysis
The common causes of Onycholysis include the following:
* Fungal nail infection.
* Hereditary and idiopathic factors.
* Contact irritants.
* Prolonged immersion of nails in water.
* Moisture are the most common causes of onycholysis.
* Adverse effects of chemicals (eg, nail polish remover).
* It can be an infection or skin disease or the result of injury but it is seen more in women especially those having long fingernails.
Symptoms of Onycholysis
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.
The nail bed which is the worst affected part should be dry and the nails should be kept away from any thing that causes irritation like various types of chemicals or moisture. Exposure to moisture might be harmful as this may aggravate the disease. Nails are to be clipped properly especially the affected part as short nails are less prone to any harm. If a person is involved in wet work he or she should wear cotton gloves to avoid exposure of the nails
Tests for Determining Onycholysis
If the cause of Onycholysis is fungal infection, merely examination alone will not be enough to tell it apart and a test for fungus may be called for. Use of strong medications like Tetracycline
, Minocycline, Naproxen make a person abnormally sensitive to light and such persons are at risk of getting sunburn under the nails, which causes Onycholysis. In extremely rare cases, all the nails are affected and then it can be a sign of iron deficiency or thyroid over-activity.
If there is noticeable discoloration underneath the nail, the cause may be a secondary infection and this may require the people to take some antibiotics to rid themselves of the underlying cause. Since Onycholysis is usually painless and the separation occurs gradually, it is only in rare cases that a person may experience severe discomfort. This is linked to trauma or the setting in of active infection.
Treatment and Cure of Onycholysis:
* Some of the remedial measures one can take for Onycholysis at home include regular trimming of nails to ensure they remain short and clean (manageable too) and using a skin softening hand cream to nourish the nails and hands.
* If Onycholysis has set in due to nail biting, picking or tearing, the person can consider seeking psychological counseling to get the necessary encouragement and guidance to underlying problems to stop this behavior.
* Persons suffering from Onycholysis should wear light cotton gloves under vinyl gloves for wet work and avoid keeping their hands immersed for prolonged periods in water.
* If Onycholysis has set in on the feet, one should avoid wearing tight shoes and trim the nails straight across the top only.