Why are my nails so brittle?

FOR about a year now I have had brittle nails and I don't seem to be able to find a solution to this.

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Can you tell me what the possible causes of this might be please?

l It is not an uncommon problem that people experience from time to time. Some people refer to it as "brittle nail syndrome." While it may sound like just a fancy name for nails that break easily, the causes go deeper than that.

Brittle nails are ones that do not hold on to moisture, so the layers of the nail plate dry out and crack. Medically speaking, it's possible for an under-active thyroid to cause both dry skin and brittle nails along with the main symptoms of unexplained weigh gain, intolerance to cold and a feeling of tiredness and no energy.

Nutritionally, a diet low in iron can cause nails to become thin, brittle and easily broken - eating more green, leafy vegetables, red meat and eggs will help boost your iron intake.

Excessive exposure to water by constantly wetting and drying your hands (and nails) can make brittleness worse.

WHAT IS...FLATULENCE?

Flatulence is the medical term for passing gas from the digestive system and out of the anus (back passage). Flatulence is more commonly known as 'passing wind' or 'farting'.

Gas can collect in the digestive system in two ways:

l When a person swallows food, water, or saliva they also swallow a small amount of air, which is mostly made up of oxygen and nitrogen.

l When a person digests food, gas is released during the digestive process, mostly in the form of hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide.

Excessive flatulence can usually be treated by making changes to your diet and lifestyle.

I KEEP getting thrush. I've treated myself with treatments from the chemist but it just keeps coming back. My doctor gave me itraconazole tablets to take for two weeks but I'm worried the thrush will return. What do you suggest?

l Your story is not unusual and the approach your doctor has taken is the standard one to eradicate a persistent chronic yeast infection.

The one other thing to consider is: If you are have a partner and are having regular sex it is important that he treats himself with anti thrush cream while you are being treated. Believe it or not, the male can carry thrush on the penis with little or no symptoms and it only presents when their partner gets repeated infections.

There are also a number of simple things you can do to reduce the chances of it coming back. Make sure your underwear is cotton and avoid synthetic fabrics. Avoiding tights if you can is also a good move. Avoid perfumed sanitary products and do not use bubble bath or chemicals in your bath as that can also increase the chances of thrush coming back.

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