If you’ve ever been bored and found yourself with a pile of fingernails in front of you, you might have wondered what would happen if you swallowed one. Are fingernails poisonous? Will it hurt? Can they be digested? If you’re reading this article, we can assume that the answer to “Will it hurt?” is yes. Thankfully, there are no recorded cases of anyone swallowing their own fingernail on purpose, so there’s no need to worry about whether or not it will hurt. Assuming a small piece of the nail ends up in your stomach — rather than your mouth or throat — then nothing too bad will happen. There are some benefits to swallowing a fingernail (if one happens to find themselves in that situation). Let’s take a look at what happens if you swallow a fingernail.
What Happens if You Swallow a Fingernail?
The long answer to this question is that if the nail is swallowed it can usually pass through your stomach and intestines unscathed. The reason for this is that nails are made of keratin, which is a remarkably tough, fibrous protein that is also present in your hair and skin.
How To Prevent Accidental Swallowing Of A Fingernail?
1. Don’t let a fingernail in your mouth
You’re more likely to accidentally swallow your own finger than you are a piece of furniture or a toy car. Be sure to wash your hands and nails before eating.
2. Don’t try to swallow a fingernail
If you know that a piece of nail is in your mouth, don’t try to swallow it. If you do, then it will get stuck in the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach) or the stomach and can cause an obstruction or even perforation of the esophagus. The best thing to do is simply wait until it passes through on its own after about five days, as long as there has been no damage done by swallowing it (i.e., bleeding).
3. Don’t swallow it if you don’t have to
If you are forced to swallow a fingernail, then the best thing to do is to immediately contact a medical professional and get it checked out. It’s also best to avoid eating for at least 24 hours after a piece of nail has been swallowed, as this can also lead to an obstruction in the esophagus or stomach.
4. Don’t try to cut a fingernail off
Most of the time, the best course of action is to simply wait for it to pass on its own. If you have already cut your fingernail (or if you are nervous about cutting it yourself), then please contact a medical professional immediately. There may be an underlying medical condition that requires immediate attention.
5. Don’t take a piece of nail and put it in your mouth
Nails are made of keratin, which is a very tough protein, so they will not break down in the stomach or intestines like other types of food do. As such, there is no need to worry about swallowing a piece of nail accidentally and causing some sort of intestinal obstruction or perforation. However, if you do want to take it and put it in your mouth for some reason — as long as there has been no damage done by swallowing — then please contact a medical professional immediately.
6. Don’t swallow a piece of nail that is lodged in your throat
If you have swallowed a piece of nail and it is stuck in your throat, then the best thing to do is to get it out as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this will most likely require professional medical attention.
7. Don’t try to pull it out by the roots
If you fear that a piece of nail is stuck in your throat, then the best thing to do is to get it out as quickly as possible. However, if you can’t do this yourself or if you think that it might be stuck in your throat for a long period of time (such as a month or more) then please contact a medical professional immediately.
The Benefits Of Swallowing Your Own Fingernail
1. It can help you to stop biting your nails
If you bite your fingernail, then you may be uncomfortable because it’s physically painful. This is why many people find it helpful to swallow a piece of their fingernails as a way of stopping this habit.
2. It can be used as a form of ritualistic cleansing
If you are worried that something bad may have happened to you and that there are pieces of a nail stuck in your throat, then swallowing the nail can act as a form of ritualistic cleansing to help get rid of this negative energy.
3. It can help with anxiety disorders and OCD
People who suffer from anxiety disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) often try many different things in an attempt to relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Some people will try acupuncture, some will drink hot tea, others will try meditation or yoga, and others will even eat certain foods or take medications. However, none of these things have been proven to be very effective in treating these disorders.
4. It can help with stomach problems
If you have a stomach problem, then swallowing the nail can help you to get rid of the problem. For example, swallowing a piece of the nail may help to relieve acid reflux or heartburn. However, please note that this is not something that should be done without medical advice as it could cause you serious problems if swallowed in large quantities.
5. It can help to relieve stress and anxiety
Many people find that swallowing a piece of nail helps them to relax and feel better because they know that they are taking an action that will not harm themselves or others. If you suffer from anxiety, then it can also be beneficial for you to take this action for the same reason — as it will help you feel calmer and more relaxed than normal.
The Potential Problems With Swallowing A Fingernail
1. It could cause you to choke
When you swallow a piece of nail, then it may move down your throat and make contact with your windpipe. This can lead to a medical emergency if it is not treated immediately. If this is the case, then you will need to go to the hospital immediately.
2. It could cause an infection
If you swallow a piece of nail, then it can cause an infection if it gets stuck in your throat or if there are any other cuts or scrapes on your throat that get infected. For example, the part of your tongue that touches the roof of your mouth can become infected with bacteria if there are any cuts or scrapes on this area. Similarly, swallowing a piece of the nail could also cause an infection in the throat if there are any cuts or scrapes on this area that get infected by bacteria.
3. It could cause damage to teeth and gums
If you swallow a piece of nail while eating or drinking, then it could damage your teeth and gums. This is because the nail can get stuck in the back of your mouth, which will block the flow of saliva and cause it to dry out. This can cause tooth decay or gum disease, so you should always be careful not to swallow a piece of nail while eating or drinking.
4. It could cause an infection on your skin
If you swallow a piece of nail while eating or drinking, then it could also cause an infection on the skin around your mouth and throat area. For example, swallowing a piece of nail while eating may cause a bacterial infection in your mouth that can spread to other areas such as the skin around your lips, or even to the rest of your body if it gets infected with bacteria from this area.
There’s really no reason to swallow your own fingernail unless you’re feeling like a weird science experiment. Swallowing your own fingernail won’t make you stronger, smarter, or more attractive. It won’t give you superpowers — unless you want superpowers that are “can clean teeth” and “can pull a nail out of your foot.” If a fingernail does make its way into your mouth, you can always just spit it out or swallow it, nail included. While swallowing a fingernail won’t hurt you, it’s not something that you should be trying to do on purpose.