What Chemo Can Do To Your Nails and How To Prevent It
What Chemo Does to Your Nails and How to Prevent It
Besides the unavoidable hair loss brought about by chemotherapy, changes in nails are also among the treatment’s side effects. Whether it’s a change in color, texture, or shape, nail changes are inevitable to anyone who has undergone chemo.
Chemotherapy and Nail Changes
Since certain chemo drugs are known to cause extreme drying to your fingernails and toenails, they may darken, become brittle, and tend to crack or break easily. They may turn yellow, brown, black, blue, or green as you go through the procedure. You may also develop Beau’s lines in some nails, especially if you just had a high-dose chemo treatment. Beau’s lines are horizontal depressions on the fingernail or toenail.
Koilonychia, or spoon nails, is another nail disease that you might encounter as a result of chemo. It is caused by low iron or anemia, leading to nails that are abnormally thin, flat, and concave in shape.
It’s also possible for infections to develop under your nails. This usually happens if you peel off any loose or frayed cuticle. In more serious cases, some patients may see their nails completely falling off.
Tips to Care for Your Nails During Chemo Treatment
Sadly, it’s impossible to completely avoid chemo-related nail problems. The good news is that there are several ways to reduce damage and possible infection.
In some hospitals, nurses will provide a dish of ice water for your hands. Since ice has been found to ease the harmful effects of chemo drugs, this method is normally used to minimize nail diseases.
If you’re about to undergo chemotherapy or are currently in the process, make sure you follow these tips to care for your nails:
- Maintain short nails.
- Try taking vitamins for your nails, skin, and hair.
- Apply cuticle cream regularly to avoid splitting, dryness, and hangnails.
- Wear gloves when doing chores such as gardening and dish-washing.
- Clip your nails once you see Beau’s lines growing beyond your nail bed.
- Avoid using artificial nails.
- Don’t cut cuticles that are not frayed.
- Instead of conventional nail polish, consider using a water-based polish.
- Cut back your caffeine intake.
- Add iron into your diet.
- Use clear polish for stronger nails.
- Wear shoes that provide enough space for your toes.
- Talk to your doctor immediately if you see signs of infection or inflammation.
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