ZocdocAnswersWhat causes fingernails to turn black and fall out?

Question

What causes fingernails to turn black and fall out?

Why would a woman's fingernails turn black and fall out? I've had this happen to me a number of times in the last year, but it never happened before that, and I'm in my 40s. Will this keep happening if I don't do something?

Answer

Any time you have an unexplained problem with your fingernails, especially when they fall out, you should seek attention from a qualified health care professional right away. In this case, it is probably best for you to first see a primary care physician such as a family doctor or internal medicine doctor with referral to a specialist if necessary. Black fingernails can have several different causes. If just one of your fingernails turned black and fell out, then it was probably due to trauma to that nail (though you would probably remember that). If it was more than one fingernail then it may be due to a fungal infection of the nails. Some types of fungus can get below the fingernail and cause it to turn a dark color and eventually fall off. Another condition that causes dark fingertips is Raynaud's phenomenon which is a condition effecting the circulation of your hands. This tends to cause symptoms mostly when the hands get cold. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your nail problems and perform a thorough physical exam. From there you should be able to get some answers to you problems. Goo luck.

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