Onychomadesis is a condition in which the nails begin to shed at the proximal end.
It is an idiopathy either complete or periodic but spontaneous shedding of the nails of the fingers and toenails. On a very general basis, it is caused by the temporary choking of the functions of the nail matrix, i.e. the tissue that the nail protects. This is a type of skin infection caused majorly by a group of fungi named Trichophyton. Members of this group of fungi include Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton tonsurans. Gradually, the entire nail gets separated from the nail bed.
Onychomadesis Signs and symptoms
There are several signs and symptoms by which you can possibly understand whether you are affected by this particular disease or not. Jotted down below are some of them:
- The symptoms do not start or end overnight. Slowly, the victim can feel their nails turning weak and brittle.
- If at all nails break, they generally break at the upper portion. Exactly the opposite happens in the case of Onychomadesis where the nails begin shedding towards the bottom where the nail bed is situated.
- Nails affected by Onychomadesis generally turns dull with white or yellow streaks on the sidelines of the portion of the nail.
- At times, the symptoms can be as minor as rashes on the skin or blisters.
Causes behind Onychomadesis
There are several conditions under which this disease can affect a person; some of them are very common while others are completely out of the way. Here is a list of all the possible causes that can lead to this condition.
This type of nail disease can happen simply because of the fact that nails are dead tissues and fungi feed on dead tissue. As a general matter of fact, fungi thrive in warm and moist conditions. Therefore, if someone has moist skin or need to wear gloves, socks or tightly covered shoes – they are more prone to develop fungal infections like Onychomadesis. Formation of multiple blisters on the nails can also finally lead to this nail disease. Excessive emotional stress can also be a reason. Kawasaki disease is a type of disease in which there is an inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body. Often this can have consequences like Onychomadesis.
Onychomadesis Risk Factors
Another nail disease – paronychia also sometimes in extreme conditions end up forming Onychomadesis. Paronychia is a fungal or bacterial infection at the portion where the nail meets the skin at either the nail bed or the sidelined of the nail in fingers and toenails. As a side effect of some medication procedure (for instance – medicines used to cure epilepsy), one might have affected by such a condition. On the other hand, due to some wrong medication, this might also happen. Another of the reason is, while a patient is undergoing a radiation treatment there remains a possibility to get Onychomadesis. Sometimes due to systemic illness or physical trauma, the nail matrix ceases functioning; it can also be one of the majorly common reasons.
Problems regarding the immune system of the body can also be the source for this condition. Damage to blood vessels, will interrupt the normal functioning of the nail matrix. Reduced levels of estrogen in a woman’s body can also be a cause; hence, old women are more prone to this. Diabetes Mellitus, a condition in which the normal level of insulin in a person’s body decreases at a significant level also might be the cause for Onychomadesis. Apart from this from public contacts like pedicure, manicure or in a swimming pool and certain neurological disorders can be a reason. In rare cases, it may also be caused be caused by any past history of this condition to anyone in the family, but Onychomadesis is not at all genetic.
Onychomadesis in Children
Although adults are more prone to this condition, children cannot really escape this. One big cause behind this in minors in hand, foot and mouth disease. It is a typical condition with ordinary symptoms such as fever or a constant discomfort. Caused by viruses, blisters or rashes appear on hands, feet, and mouth and at times even on butts and groins. Gradually, the condition worsens with the proper exposure to the virus in 3 – 4 days. The infection in the upper parts of the slowly moves down to the toenails causing their shedding or rupture. However, this condition is harmless since the nails regrow. However, the process is prolonged.
Causes of this disease in children
Other than the hand, foot and mouth disease children can have similar or rarely some different causes behind having such a disease, which is as follows:
- Sometimes children are intolerant or insensitive to drugs and cannot bear their adverse effects. This can be one of the very elementary reasons.
- In children, febrile illness or an uncertainty in the cause behind fever can lead to Onychomadesis.
- Poor nutrition does not make either the immune system or the nails stronger resulting to this.
- What adults can easily endure, children often fail to. Dealing with trauma ca be very difficult for them and as a side effect to that, such a nail disease can easily attack them.
As mentioned earlier that the nails regrow by themselves in children, similarly is in the case of adults. The toenails can take longer for complete regrowth, often 2 – 3 months compared to the fingernails. Usually, after consulting a doctor, part of a nail is scraped off and send for testing for ruling out any other possibility. Antifungal medication can fasten the process of healing. Medicines include Lamisil, Diflucan, Griseofulvin. Nonetheless, these are not for complete cure and the condition might occur again. Doctors often recommend ointments with urea or halcinonide in them. In extreme cases, they might even remove a nail that is about to shed for the sake of patient’s normal use of hands or feet. In addition, patients are asked to prevent their hands and feet from getting moist or even if moistened, to dry them sooner. It is advisable not wear socks or even covered shoes during this period. Timely diagnosis and treatment can be helpful in preventing the very cause in the first place.