Sunday , May 9 2021

An IMSS specialist explains that eating nails can lead to death

Currently, people have acquired bad habits due to stress. Most of the time, these customs start from childhood. Onychophagy is one of the most common. This is the clinical term for biting or biting your nails.

Carlos Fernando Ramirez Abois, hospital coordinator at IMSS, the Delegation of the State of Mexico, Orient, warns that onychophagy allows the entry of various bacteria into the stomach, which can generate an infectious condition known as sepsis, as reported on

According to WHO, sepsis is a complication that occurs when the body produces an unbalanced, abnormal immune response to an infection.

Sepsis is a medical emergency and, if not diagnosed and treated early, can cause irreversible tissue damage, septic shock, multiple organ failure, and life-threatening. Septic shock is a severe type of sepsis in which circulatory and cellular or metabolic changes are so severe that they significantly increase the risk of death.

nail biting
Children bite their nails more often than adults. This can cause damage to health.
Photo: Getty Image

The doctor also pointed out that eating nails can have the following consequences:

  • Damage to the tooth enamel.
  • Gingivitis due to gum damage.
  • Peringual warts
  • Disturbed growth of the nails themselves.
  • Causes pain in the jaw and joints.

Is there a way to help people who eat their nails?

Universidad Veracruzana offers the following recommendations to help people who have this bad habit:

  • Take care of nails: apply them, paint them, put on some transparent enamel; also, let them grow or resort to an unpleasant substance to spread them so that it signals us of recurring behavior.
  • Take your hand out of your mouth as soon as you feel the urge to bite and put it in something else.
  • Identify situations that cause obsessive nail-eating behaviors and try to counteract the stimulus.
  • Go with a psychologist or psychiatrist to attack the problem frontally.

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nail biting death
The habit of eating nails can lead to cuticle lesions.
Photo: Getty Image

With information from:, WHO and Universidad Veracruzana.

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