Yellow nail syndrome: its symptoms, causes, and treatment


Although its name indicates it is a cosmetic problem, yellow nail syndrome is actually a potential complicated disorder that affects multiple body systems, and it usually appears in people over the age of fifty.

Yellow nail syndrome is very rare, as fewer than 400 cases have been documented in the medical literature, and it has been estimated that it occurs in less than one in every million people, and this condition has been observed worldwide in both men and women, Although they are unusual, they can affect children and newborns.


Yellow nail syndrome is a complex condition that causes yellowing nails, and yellow nail syndrome is usually diagnosed after a comprehensive evaluation of a person’s symptoms. The signs emerging for this rare condition include the following:

  • nail changes : When fingernails turn yellow and become thick and have a very strong curve, often nails stop growing completely and may separate from Its place is falling off.
  • Pleural effusion : is an increase in the accumulation of fluid in the surrounding pleural cavity in the lungs, and those excessive amounts cause shortness of breath because they limit the expansion of lungs During inhalation, it is associated with chest pain and coughing.
  • Chronic respiratory infections : These conditions may include sinus infections or coughs , bronchitis or pneumonia.
  • Lymphedema in the arms and legs : is defined as the abnormal accumulation and accumulation of lymph fluid rich with protein – which usually moves around the body to help fight infection – In the interstitial tissue of the extremities due to blockage or rupture of the lymph vessels, which leads to the inability to drain and swelling of the soft tissues and consequently swelling, heaviness, tightness and problems in moving the affected limb, and in the case of syndrome nails bile, lymphedema usually affects On one or both legs.

A diagnosis of nails yellow is usually made if a person has blurred nail symptoms accompanied by lymphedema and a respiratory problem.

Causes and risk factors:

The cause of yellow nail syndrome is unknown, and experts consider that the condition is still not well understood, and in some cases, yellow nail syndrome may occur in two or more people in the same family which may indicate a possible genetic link, although It has not been proven.

People with certain forms of are considered cancer, and conditions the immune system , diseases thyroid gland , and inflammation joints rheumatoid may be More prone to yellow syndrome nails , and some medications used to treat inflammation joints rheumatoid may play a role in yellow nail syndrome, but this has not yet been proven.

A study on yellow syndrome nails published in the journal Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases indicates that lymphatic weakness or leakage is among the most likely causes of yellow nail syndrome, as a result of a defect in the lymphatic system, which transports the lymph fluid It removes toxins and waste from the body, and the cause of this lymphatic impairment is not yet clear.

Some experts believe that one of the most unusual risk factors is ingestion of toothpaste but not yet scientifically proven, and that titanium exposure is another possible cause of yellow nail syndrome, as titanium can be found in many everyday elements, including protective preparations From the sun, cosmetics, medicines, foods, dental fillings and joints industrial.

One case of yellow nail syndrome has been documented in respiratory condition reports involving a 56-year-old woman who had chronic sinusitis and yellow cough and nails, and symptoms a year later appeared after an operation to implant fillings of her teeth, which often contained On titanium, where the test showed that her nails contained elevated levels of titanium, when the implant fillings were removed the sinus problems and coughing, nonetheless, more research is needed.

Another study looks at disorders of skin appendages and the possible relationship between titanium exposure and syndrome nails yellow, and the researchers found high levels of titanium in samples nails of 30 people with the disorder, while no one was found. On titanium in the nails of healthy participants.

A study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that a 9-year-old girl used to swallow toothpaste with symptoms of yellow nail syndrome and high levels of titanium in her nails, because toothpaste contains titanium dioxide, and symptoms of yellow nail syndrome are resolved when Observe the child and avoid swallowing the toothpaste while brushing their teeth.

Many people are exposed to titanium and do not develop yellow syndrome nails , so this factor alone may not be entirely responsible for the condition, but people with yellow nail syndrome should discuss their exposure to titanium with the doctor.


A variety of treatments are used for yellow nail syndrome, but when a disease condition is associated with it, working to solve the problem may help and contribute to removing the symptoms of yellow nail syndrome, knowing that the treatments differ depending on each person’s medical history and individual symptoms, and the following are Some treatment options:

  • Vitamin E with an antifungal drug, such as fluconazole : according to a study published in the Orphanet Journal Vitamin E is most effective in solving nail-related symptoms.
  • Antibiotics for respiratory infections : People who have chronic bronchitis or sinus infections or coughs may benefit from antibiotics.
  • Pleural effusion : This may include drainage of excess fluid to relieve symptoms.
  • Special dressings and elastic compression garments : These things can be helpful in relieving lymphedema in the legs, and aerobic exercise and massage may also be helpful.


Sometimes the yellow syndrome nails disappear without treatment, and sometimes they require treatments to manage or solve symptoms, and the yellow nail syndrome is certainly not life threatening, although its symptoms can be bothersome and painful In some cases, the removal of dental fillings made of titanium may solve their symptoms, although this method has not been proven effective in all cases, so it is best to speak to dental professionals to determine whether implants are It may cause a risk of yellow nail syndrome and whether alternative dental work can be done As can many people who suffer from yellow nail syndrome management or eliminate most of the symptoms by using appropriate treatment.

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