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Severe Fingernail Biting
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I am posting this to share my experience with gluten with the hopes it helps someone else out there some day.

For 25 years I bit my fingernails very severely...to the point they would almost always be bleeding, sometimes 1/8" long, picking layers of nails off with teeth, and I would tear apart my nail beds from constantly biting them. I tried everything to quit over the years from being put on Prozac, having others smack my hands if they saw me, etc. I did this from age 5 until 30.

I discovered that going on a very strict gluten free diet solved this problem along with other symptoms of celiac disease I never even realized were a symptom until I gave up gluten.

Issues that went away after being off gluten:

  • Had to visit bathroom after almost every meal (looking back I ate a lot of gluten)
  • Heart palpitations (very frequent at the end)
  • Very short tempered and for the dumbest things
  • Very very sad especially on cloudy or rainy days
  • Severe nail biting
  • Bloated feeling after eating

I've never been tested for celiac disease because after going gluten free I refuse to eat gluten even to get tested...I know I feel way better and it is obviously not good for me.

Anyways just posting this in hopes it helps someone else that has severe fingernail biting and has no idea why they can't stop.

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Hi, and welcome to the board. When I read your post, I immediately thought, oh, that sounds like pica!! A quick google and I found the following:

Pica is the practice of eating any substance compulsively; the item may be a food or something not considered food, such as soil or clay. Many theories have been suggested to explain why pica develops. Pica may be a sign of psychological illness, or in some cultures, an accepted religious ritual. Physical causes are also possible, as shown by research linking both iron deficiency and zinc deficiency with pica. These nutritional deficiencies may be either the cause or the result of pica. The cases of three young children who had persistent pica are discussed; all had a type of pica called geophagia, meaning they ate soil, clay, and stones. All three were severely iron-deficient. The cases were unusual because the children were found to have celiac disease, a gastrointestinal condition caused by allergy to gluten, a protein found in wheat and certain other grains. Before celiac disease is diagnosed, patients may suffer from severe diarrhea, malabsorption and intestinal bleeding. In these children, the intestinal symptoms were quite mild, but they developed severe iron deficiency and growth failure as a result of their chronic malabsorption. Once put on a gluten-free diet, the children experienced large growth spurts, and their pica resolved completely. In these children, pica was apparently the result of iron deficiency, which in turn was caused by celiac disease. Children with pica and anemia should be evaluated for celiac disease, particularly if they are growing poorly. (Consumer Summary produced by Reliance Medical Information, Inc.)

Read more: http://www.readabstracts.com/Health/Pica-as-a-presenting-symptom-in-childhood-celiac-disease-The-duodenal-string-test.html#ixzz2HGBtNhTw

See also:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/51/2/139.full.pdf

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Your post reminds me of something else I noticed after going gluten free. My body craved like no other the most nutritious fruits and veggies raw. Examples were raw kale, raw cabbage, and raw cauliflower.

Hi, and welcome to the board. When I read your post, I immediately thought, oh, that sounds like pica!! A quick google and I found the following:

Pica is the practice of eating any substance compulsively; the item may be a food or something not considered food, such as soil or clay. Many theories have been suggested to explain why pica develops. Pica may be a sign of psychological illness, or in some cultures, an accepted religious ritual. Physical causes are also possible, as shown by research linking both iron deficiency and zinc deficiency with pica. These nutritional deficiencies may be either the cause or the result of pica. The cases of three young children who had persistent pica are discussed; all had a type of pica called geophagia, meaning they ate soil, clay, and stones. All three were severely iron-deficient. The cases were unusual because the children were found to have celiac disease, a gastrointestinal condition caused by allergy to gluten, a protein found in wheat and certain other grains. Before celiac disease is diagnosed, patients may suffer from severe diarrhea, malabsorption and intestinal bleeding. In these children, the intestinal symptoms were quite mild, but they developed severe iron deficiency and growth failure as a result of their chronic malabsorption. Once put on a gluten-free diet, the children experienced large growth spurts, and their pica resolved completely. In these children, pica was apparently the result of iron deficiency, which in turn was caused by celiac disease. Children with pica and anemia should be evaluated for celiac disease, particularly if they are growing poorly. (Consumer Summary produced by Reliance Medical Information, Inc.)

Read more: http://www.readabstr...l#ixzz2HGBtNhTw

See also:

http://ajcn.nutritio.../2/139.full.pdf

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Thanks for the post. It gives me son insight and hope for my son.

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    • Marip, Have you been diagnosed with celiac disease or Non-celiac Gluten Intolerance?  I notice you joined in 2014.  Did you ever go guten free?  How can we help?   Sorry, I'm not a stool expert!  You could Google it...  Malabsorption?  Standard lab tests that check for anemia and vitamin deficiencies, etc.  should help make that diagnosis.  
    • You can eat just a slice or two (or equivalent) of bread a day for accurate testing.   I understand about the high deductibles.  We're self-employed and we pay for our health insurance. 
    • Sure, if it's gluten free, then fine.  I am very allergic (like anaphylactic) to ibuprofen and aspirin.  So, in my case, I would just tough it out.  Go to bed.  Sleep it off.....eventually. My money is on the garlic and onions.  I can't consume those either (damn that zonulin/leaky gut -- google it along with Dr. Fasano).  I just season with salt, pepper.  Boring.  But no gut issues.  I'm hoping like my lactose intolerance (resolved), that I will get garlic and onions back.   Finally, sometimes just eating anything can hurt when you still have intestinal damage.  Hopefully, you'll feel better in two or three hours if it's celiac related.  Longer if it's an intolerance (leaky gut thing....) Hugs!      
    • I read on their website that all Advil is gluten free, I had such bad pinching cramping today(which I don't why since I prepared all my food at home today.) I made a pot roast, salt garlic, onions...No gluten but still pain, That's the only thing I ate today..I don't eat breakfast or anything.   Anyways.   Is it a good idea to take Advil for the cramping? That's how I would describe it like someone is reaching inside me and pinching me and twisting my insides.    This is what I took  
    • I'll give my PCP a call tomorrow and see what they can offer. My only worry is the expense as anymore tests will put me behind in being able to afford to see the GI. I have high deductible insurance but get money put into my HSA. I'm still trying to pay off the CT scan though. Which is why I'm trying to pick and choose which poses the greatest risk for me right now and what can wait. (Though I would prefer not to wait on any of it.)

      I really do hope its only IBS. Though I always worry IBS is more or less a doctors way of saying "I have no clue" at that point. :C

      Again, I'll be sure to give my PCP a call tomorrow then and see what the options are. I can feel a lot better trying the blood work first. however, once that is done, do I still need to be on a gluten diet before the endoscopy? Also, is it ok if I still mildly reduce the gluten. As in, can I avoid a whole wheat pasta dinner, but still be eating the peanut butter crackers? That sort of thing. Again I guess that is more of a doctor related question. I just wasn't sure if in order to raise your chance, you have to mass consume gluten or not. (Its already in just about everything to begin with.)   --Edit--
      I just now reread the part that you still need to be on the gluten foods even for biopsy so I'll be sure to do that too.
       
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