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Severe Fingernail Biting
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4 posts in this topic

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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