Yellow nail syndrome: Signs and symptoms, causes, and treatment

Although its name implies it’s a cosmetic issue, yellow nail syndrome is really an intricate, potentially painful disorder that affects multiple body systems. It always seems in quickly age 50.

Yellow nail syndrome is regarded as unusual, with under 400 cases printed in medical literature. It’s believed to happen in less than one in every a million people.

The problem continues to be noted worldwide in both women and men and, though unusual, it may affect children and newborns.

Signs and symptoms

Yellow nail syndrome is a complex condition causing yellowing of the nails.
Yellow nail syndrome is really a complex condition causing yellowing from the nails.

Yellow nail syndrome is generally diagnosed following a thorough look at an individual’s signs and symptoms. The telltale indications of this rare condition include:

  • Nail changes: The finger nails or toenails might be yellow, thickened, and also have a quite strong curve. Their nails frequently stop growing altogether and could outside of the nail and drop out.
  • Pleural effusion: This is actually the buildup of fluid between your membranes that line the lung area and chest cavity. Pleural effusion frequently causes chest discomfort, cough, and difficulty breathing.
  • Chronic respiratory system infections: These conditions may include sinus infections, cough, bronchitis, or pneumonia.
  • Lymphedema within the legs and arms: Lymphedema is really a buildup of lymph fluid, which often moves through the body to assist fight infection. Whether it becomes blocked, it may cause swelling, heaviness, tightness, and problems moving the affected limb. In yellow nail syndrome, the lymphedema usually affects either legs.

An analysis of yellow nail syndrome is usually made when the person has got the telltale nail signs and symptoms coupled with lymphedema along with a respiratory system problem.

Causes and risks

The reason for yellow nail syndrome isn’t known, and experts repeat the condition continues to be not well understood.

In some instances, yellow nail syndrome can happen in several individuals exactly the same family. This points to the genetic link, even though it is not proven.

Individuals with certain types of cancer, defense mechanisms conditions, thyroid disease, and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms could have a greater chance of yellow nail syndrome. Some drugs accustomed to treat rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are likely involved in yellow nail syndrome, however this is not proven.

One of the more unusual risk factors or yellow nail syndrome is exposure to too much fluoride from swallowing toothpaste.
One of the most unusual risks is swallowing tooth paste.

Within the Orphanet Journal of Rare Illnesses, overview of yellow nail syndrome claims that “lymphatic impairment” or leakage is considered the most probable reasons for yellow nail syndrome.

What this means is there’s a malfunction or abnormality within the the lymphatic system, which transports lymph fluid and removes toxins and waste in the body. The reason for lymphatic impairment, however, isn’t obvious.

Titanium exposure is yet another possible reason for yellow nail syndrome. Titanium are available in many everyday products, including sun block, cosmetics, medicines, foods, dental fillings and implants, and joint implants.

One demonstration of yellow nail syndrome is documented in Respiratory system Medicine Situation Reports and involves a 56-year-old lady who’d chronic sinus infection, cough, and yellow nails. The signs and symptoms made an appearance inside a year from the lady getting amalgam teeth implants, which frequently contain titanium.

Testing demonstrated the lady had elevated amounts of titanium in her own nails. Once the teeth implants were removed, her sinus and cough problems resolved. To conclude, the authors mentioned that yellow nail syndrome might be associated with titanium exposure. However, more scientific studies are needed.

Another study in Skin Appendage Disorders also examines the potential outcomes of titanium exposure and yellow nail syndrome. They found elevated titanium levels in nail samples from 30 individuals who had the disorder. Titanium wasn’t based in the nails of healthy participants. Four of individuals participating possessed a complete resolution of the yellow nail syndrome signs and symptoms after their titanium teeth implants were removed.

Finally, research within the journal Pediatrics discovered that a 9-year-old girl who’d a routine of swallowing tooth paste had signs and symptoms of yellow nail syndrome and elevated amounts of titanium in her own nails. The tooth paste contained titanium dioxide. The signs and symptoms of yellow nail syndrome resolved once the child was monitored and prevented swallowing tooth paste during teeth-brushing.

So many people are uncovered to titanium and don’t develop yellow nail syndrome, which means this factor alone might not be fully accountable for the problem. However, individuals with yellow nail syndrome may decide to discuss their titanium exposure using their physician.


A number of treatments can be used for yellow nail syndrome, as not one one seems to get results for everybody.

If the underlying condition is located, treating that issue might help obvious up signs and symptoms of yellow nail syndrome.

Treatments can vary broadly, based upon everyone’s health background and individual signs and symptoms. Some treatments include:

  • E Vitamin coupled with an antifungal drug, for example fluconazole: Based on one Orphanet Journal review, e vitamin treatment seems is the best for resolving nail-related signs and symptoms.
  • Antibiotics for respiratory system infections: Those who have chronic bronchitis, sinus infections, or cough will benefit from antibiotics.
  • Surgery for pleural effusion: This might include draining from the excess fluid to alleviate signs and symptoms.
  • Special bandages and elastic compression clothes: These power tools could be useful in alleviating lymphedema within the legs. Exercises along with a massage referred to as manual lymph drainage can also be advantageous.


Sometimes, yellow nail syndrome disappears with no treatment. With medicine, the signs and symptoms might be managed or resolved.

Yellow nail syndrome doesn’t seem to be existence-threatening, though its signs and symptoms could be annoying or painful.

In some instances, removing titanium teeth implants may resolve an individual’s signs and symptoms, even though this method is not shown to work in every case.

It is advisable to consult with dental and medical professionals to find out when the implants might have caused yellow nail syndrome and whether alternative dental work can be achieved to exchange them.

With the proper treatment, lots of people with yellow nail syndrome can manage or eliminate most signs and symptoms.