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3 Nail Problems Linked with Thyroid Disease

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Did you know that having thyroid problems can cause nail problems? That’s right, having low thyroid levels can cause changes to develop in your nails. Below, I’ll discuss 3 ways your nails might be giving you hints about your thyroid health(that butterfly-shaped gland). I’ll also discuss ways you can care for your nails and other ways to get additional support if you have a thyroid health condition. 

3 Changes in Your Nails

When your body doesn’t have enough thyroid hormone, it can cause some nail problems. Here are the three symptoms of hypothyroidism(a low level of thyroid hormones) that can show up on your nails.

1. Brittle Nails

Brittle nails are weak nails that are caused by dryness. These nails tend to be hard and snap very easily with little pressure. Dry nails are a common nail problem especially as you get older. However, if your nails continue to be brittle for long periods of time, it may be connected to low thyroid levels.

thyroid problems can cause brittle nails

2. Slow Nail Growth 

Hypothyroidism, which is when your thyroid isn’t as active, can make everything in your body slow down. This includes your nail growth cycle. If your nails are taking forever to grow, it might be a clue that your thyroid function is low.

Note: This is not the same thing as not seeing nail growth because of constant breakage. The rate at which your nails grows has not slowed down. Constant breakage is a sign that your nails have a problem retaining their length. Check out this article where I discuss ways to stop your nails from cracking and peeling. See Here.

thyroid problems can slow down nail growth

3. Nail Ridges 

Ever seen lines go up and down or across your nails? Well, those are called nail ridges. Nail ridges are lines that run either vertically or horizontally on your nails. The directions of your nail ridges can indicate whether they are connected with more serious underlying health problems like low thyroid hormone levels or heart disease.

Vertical Ridges– Everyone has vertical ridges on their nails. They just can become more visible as you get older. Decreased collagen production and dryness are usually the cause of nail ridges as you age. Vertical nail ridges are usually no cause for real concern. 

Horizontal Nail Ridges– These can usually indicate underlying health issues. Horizontal nail ridges look like dents across your nails. This is usually a sign that there has been some trauma to your nails or you have an underlying health condition. If you have multiple horizontal ridges on your nails, I recommend bringing this up with your primary care provider.

Thyroid problems can cause nail ridges

3 Ways to Support Your Nails

1. Have a Nail Care Routine

If your nails are feeling brittle and weak, I recommend moisturizing them regularly with one of these 3 easy methods! 

You can use cuticle oil daily to keep your nails moisturized so they are less likely to break. Some of my favorite cuticle oils are from brands like Bliss Kiss, CND Solar, OPI, and Bee Naturals. Feel free to check them out on Amazon.

Another method you can use to moisturize brittle nails is doing a nail oil soak. Nail oil soaks are a deep moisturizing treatment that you can do twice a week. Here is the recipe for it. See Video Here

Finally, another great moisturizing method is nail slugging. It is when you apply cuticle oil on your nail 1st, and then apply Vaseline on top. Vaseline helps lock in the moisture in your nails. This is great, especially for the wintertime.

These methods will help get you healthy nails that are strong.

Note: Wearing nail polish can also help protect your nails which can help keep them strong.

2. Eat Nutritious Foods

Eating nutritious foods can do wonders for your nails. Three vitamins that play an important role in your nail health are iron, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

Iron helps carry oxygen to the nails which is important for nail health.

Vitamin C plays an important role in producing the collagen that makes up your nails.

Vitamin D helps control the calcium levels in your body which is super important for nail health.

You can incorporate food that is rich in these vitamins into your diet, or you can take multivitamins.

3. Talk to a Healthcare Provider

If you’re seeing a change in your nail bed that you think might be a sign of a thyroid problem, then seek medical advice. Your primary care provider can run a blood test on your thyroid to help address the underlying cause.

You can also discuss any other potential changes you are experiencing such as hair loss, dry skin, and weight gain so they can provide you with different treatment options. This will help tackle the root cause and address the symptoms associated with it.

 Get Involved in a Community

You don’t have to go through your thyroid symptoms alone. There are forums and support groups that can help you throughout your thyroid health journey. They can give you even more information about common symptoms and discuss some of the challenges that come along with thyroid issues in a nonjudgemental space. Below are a couple of thyroid health-focused communities.

Paloma Health

Thyroid Family

So, next time you see changes in your nail health that are persistent, they might be telling you a story about your thyroid. Remember, nails aren’t just about beauty, they can be a window into your health.


Paloma Health Nail Ridges

Thyroid Affects on Nails


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