What Happens If You Swallow a Fingernail? You Won’t Believe!

what happens if you swallow a fingernail

To begin with, many things happen accidentally but later on, develop as a habit just for nothing. When we are distracted by something else, we don’t even notice that we are indulging in unhealthy behaviors. Besides food, we may get engaged in swallowing odd things just for short-term satisfaction or to seek refuge in weird things.

Let’s find out: What happens if you swallow a fingernail?

No need not worry if the fingernail is small and swallowed accidentally. Be ready for infections and other serious health issues if it’s habitual. Fingernails are the ideal harbor for many bacteria and germs, no matter how clean your hands are.

However, in case a swallowed fingernail is stuck in your throat. Never try to vomit or pull it out. It can hurt your throat or esophagus. If you experience severe pain, or difficulty in swallowing, or breathing, visit your doctor. Otherwise, wait a day or two and let your internal system work on its own.

No doubt, constant and habitual swallowing of fingernails is dangerous. All sorts of germs are found beneath the tips of your fingernails. When you nibble or swallow your nails, the germs get into your mouth and stomach, causing GI infections and other health issues. 

Is Swallowing Fingernails a Mental Disorder

Our hands reveal many things unintentionally, and results are quite peculiar when our anxieties and frustration get reflected by our reflex actions.

Of course, nail-biting, hair-picking, teeth grinding are weird and confusing actions, and are the outcome of mental conflicts and venting up emotions.

Is nail-nibling a mental disorder? Compulsive and frequent nail biting is closely connected to mental disorders. Usually, boredom, loneliness, anxiety, and stress are the main causes of this nasty habit. Though nail-biters feel ashamed of hurting their fingers and damaging their nails but could not resist doing this again and again.

Mostly, nail nibblers experience some tension or tingling before biting. Hence they feel pleasure or relief after biting their fingernails. But some feel quite ashamed right after doing this. 

Is It Dangerous to Swallow a Fingernail

Unlike food, fingernails are hard to chew and swallow. Moreover, fingernails are the best abode for fungi and bacteria. What to do with germs?

Is it normal to swallow a fingernail? No, it is dangerous because fingernails are full of infection-causing microorganisms. Swallowing fingernails is harmful and can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, gum diseases, tooth cavities, and much more.

If your child is getting used to this bad habit, pay attention and help him to come out of this. Rather he fully developed this habit. To give up this perilous habit, you must visit a psychiatrist. Otherwise, it might be too late to quit.

What Happens If a Child Swallowed a Nail

Kids are always curious to taste everything. No matter if it is edible or not. Little explorers put everything in their mouths and try to swallow. But what happens if your baby swallows a fingernail?

Nothing bad will happen if the fingernail is small. Most babies who swallow odd items like pins, nails, and even coins will pass them safely through their digestive system. But be careful, in case of bloody saliva, fever, gagging, and vomiting, go to the ER right away.

In case your baby has swallowed a big and sharp object, You should immediately visit your doctor.

what happens if a child swallowed a nail

What to Do if Swallowed Fingernail Stuck in Throat

Nail-biters are familiar with this problem but for others, it could be a scary experience. Usually, getting a fingernail stuck in your throat is not a serious matter. Some ways to remove the stuck object or food in the throat are:

  • According to research, carbonated water can help to remove or dislodge food stuck in your throat. Drink a few cans of Coca-Cola.
  • Olive oil is an excellent natural lubricator. Taking 2-3 tablespoons of it can ease the fingernail or any other stuck food to move down.
  • Eating a piece of bread dipped in peanut butter can push the fingernail down to your stomach.
🔥Trending:  What Happens If You Swallow A Bug? You Won't Believe!

Be cautious, in case of severe chest pain and shortness of breath call for emergency help.

Can You Survive Eating a Fingernail

Nothing serious will happen after swallowing a fingernail unintentionally. But it could be life-threatening for habitual and compulsive nail-nibblers.

Can you die if you swallow a fingernail? No, Swallowing a fingernail is not a matter of life and death. But be cautious, don’t make it your habit because the underlying germs of your fingernails get into your stomach and are strong enough to cause serious infections.

Though nail-biting is a common nervous fixation. But it can be perilous. In some cases, the habitual nail-nibblers also cut their fingers by biting their nails. They developed Sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection.  

The Horrific Effects of Biting Your Nail

Nail-biting is common in kids but onychophagia (compulsive nail-biting) can develop in young ones and adults as a nervous tic. No doubt, Nail-biting is very harmful not only for apparent beauty but for your inner health too. Some terrible effects of nail-biting are listed below:

  1. Paronychia, habitual nail-nibblers often fall victim to this severe infection causing swelling, redness, and pus buildup around the nails. 
  2. Another common infection caused by nail biting is the Warts virus HPV. The infection starts from the fingers and then gradually spreads to the mouth and lips. 
  3. Frequent biting can result in brittle or soft nails and tissue damage, tooth cavities, swollen gums, or even the disposition of teeth.

To give up this perilous habit, you must visit a mental health professional or psychiatrist. Otherwise, it might be too late to quit.

the horrific effects of biting your nail

What Happens If You Swallow A Metal Nail Accidently

Swallowing a fingernail is not a matter of high concern but what to do if you swallow a metal nail?

In case, the metal nail is sharp and long, it can scratch or injure your throat, food pipe, and your stomach. If the nail gets stuck in your throat, it can cause pain, bleeding, gagging, difficulty in breathing, and swallowing water and food. Seek medical help because it’s an emergency.

Your doctor will help you to remove this through Endoscopy or Surgery.

In some cases, the swallowed nails are removed successfully without any surgery.

What Happens If You Swallow An Acrylic Nail

Artificial nails are made from a variety of materials. However, artificial nails when used for a long time, are likely to cause infection and other skin issues.

What happens if you swallow an acrylic nail? Nothing to worry about if you swallow an acrylic nail. It will pass out of your system within 1-2 days unless you experience some severe symptoms. It’s common among nail-biters to swallow acrylic nails as they are used to nibble their nails.

Be wise, avoid this practice because it can make you sick. Because of trapped moisture and germs, acrylic nails often cause fungal infections beneath your nails.

Do Fingernails Digest In Your Stomach

Swallowing is a complex process and lots of muscles are involved in it. Our nails are made of Keratin and are indigestible by the stomach. If you are in the habit of swallowing fingernails, you might think that can your body digest the fingernails?

Fingernails are not digestible. Nails simply pass through our system or can accumulate in our stomach in the form of “Bezoar”. In some cases of severe abdominal pain, a mass composed of fingernails entangled in the Gestro-Intestinal system is reported.

Be prudent, swallowing or fiddling your fingernails can put your life at risk. To give up this perilous habit, you must visit a mental health professional or psychiatrist. Otherwise, it might be too late to quit.

Can Swallowing a Fingernail Kill You

No, swallowing a fingernail is not likely to kill you. However, it can cause choking and other digestive problems. It is best to avoid swallowing fingernails and seek medical attention if you do.

Swallowing fingernails is not recommended, as they are not digestible and can cause damage to your teeth by wearing away the enamel. Not only that, but the area underneath your nails is one of the dirtiest parts of your body, and putting your hands in your mouth without washing them first can lead to various illnesses, and biting your nails can further exacerbate this risk. Sharp fingernails could also potentially damage the epithelial lining of your esophagus and stomach if swallowed. So, it’s wise to avoid swallowing them in general.

In some cases, swallowing a fingernail may result in minor discomfort or additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after swallowing a nail, contact a medical professional immediately for further evaluation and treatment. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a swallowed object from the digestive tract if it becomes stuck in the esophagus or stomach.

🔥Trending:  What Happens If You Swallow A Staple? You Won't Believe it!

It’s important to note that while swallowing fingernails is generally considered safe, it should still be avoided whenever possible due to its potential health risks. Educating children about proper hygiene practices and discouraging nail biting will help prevent them from inadvertently ingesting their nails. Additionally, you should always wash your hands before eating or touching any food or drink items with your hands in order to reduce the risk of contamination and illness caused by germs on the fingers.

Swallowed Fingernail Stuck Throat

It’s the common question of what to do if a nail is stuck in your throat. Let’s dive into this.

Swallowing a fingernail can be a frightening experience, but it’s usually not as serious as it seems. Most of the time, the fingernail will pass through your digestive system without causing any issues. However, there are some cases where the nail may get stuck in your throat or esophagus and require medical attention.

If the nail is lodged in your throat, you may experience difficulty swallowing or pain in your chest or neck. You may also have an unpleasant taste in your mouth and feel like something is stuck there. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should immediately seek medical help so that the nail can be removed safely.

If the nail has made its way down to your stomach, it is unlikely to cause any major health issues. However, if it has become stuck in your intestines or another organ it could lead to complications such as blockages or infections. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to remove the nail and repair any damage caused by its presence.

In most cases, however, swallowing a fingernail will not result in any long-term health issues and will just require careful monitoring until it passes through the body naturally on its own. It is important to remember that nails should never be swallowed intentionally as this could lead to more serious health problems down the line.

What Happens to Chewed-up Fingernails If You Swallow Them

Swallowing chewed-up fingernails are not recommended as they are not digestible. Eating nails can lead to damage to your teeth due to the enamel being worn away. Additionally, the area under the fingernails is one of the dirtiest places on your body, and putting your hands in your mouth (without washing them first) increases your chances of getting sick, and biting your nails makes this worse. Furthermore, sharp nails you swallow could severely damage the epithelial lining of your esophagus and stomach.

To prevent this from happening, it’s important to practice good hygiene by washing your hands before you put them in or near your mouth. If you’re a nail-biter, try using nail polish or even band-aids as a deterrent. Additionally, rather than swallowing chewed-up fingernails, you can either spit it out or throw it away immediately which will help prevent any potential health risks associated with ingestion.

Overall, it’s important to be aware that eating fingernails can cause harm and should be avoided if possible. Practicing good hygiene such as washing hands regularly or using deterrents like nail polish may also help reduce instances of nail-biting as well as discourage swallowing chewed-up nails.

What Happens If You Eat Your Nails Too Much

Eating your nails too much can cause a variety of health problems. It can lead to infection, as the bacteria and dirt on your hands can get trapped under your nails. It can also cause damage to your teeth, as the hard nails can chip or wear down enamel.

When you bite your nails too often, you are exposing your body to dirt, bacteria, and germs found under your nails which can lead to infections. This is especially true if you don’t clean them properly or if you share objects with other people without washing them first. In addition, repeated nail biting can cause inflammation around the cuticles or even cause ingrown toenails or fingernails.

Do Fingernails Digest in Your Stomach

No, fingernails do not digest in the stomach. Fingernails are made of keratin, which is a type of protein that is not broken down by the digestive system. Instead, fingernails pass through the digestive system and are eliminated from the body in the feces.

Fingernails, just like any other non-digestible material, will not be digested in your stomach. This is because the acid in the stomach is incredibly strong and could, in fact, dissolve an iron nail. Your stomach is lined with a protective mucus and its cells are replaced every few days to help protect the digestive system from digesting itself.

Fingernails are made of keratin, a protein that your body cannot break down or absorb. This means that even if you were to eat your own fingernails or someone else’s, they would not be digested by your digestive system. If you do swallow fingernails by accident, however, it’s likely that they will pass through your body without incident. Hope now you got a clear answer to this question can your body digest fingernails or not?

🔥Trending:  What Happens If You Swallow Orajel?  (Scary Things U Should Know)

Can Swallowing Fingernails Cause Appendicitis

No, swallowing fingernails cannot cause appendicitis. Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, which is a small pouch located at the end of the large intestine. It is usually caused by a blockage in the appendix, which can be due to a buildup of stool, parasites, or tumors.

It is unlikely that swallowing fingernails can cause appendicitis. While it is possible that a foreign body, such as a fingernail, could get lodged in the appendix and lead to appendicitis after many years, this is rare. Most cases of appendicitis are caused by an infection or an obstruction of the appendix, not by swallowed objects.

The likelihood of appendicitis resulting from swallowed fingernails is further reduced if proper hygiene practices are followed. To help prevent the ingestion of fingernails, it is important to keep nails trimmed and practice good hand-washing techniques. Additionally, any ingested foreign bodies should be passed through the digestive system naturally; if there are signs of blockage or pain for more than three days after ingesting something like a fingernail, medical attention should be sought immediately.

In conclusion, it is unlikely that swallowed fingernails can cause appendicitis due to the rarity of such cases and with proper hygiene practices in place. That said, if you experience symptoms such as abdominal pain for more than three days after ingesting something like a fingernail, seek medical attention immediately as this may indicate an obstruction in the appendix requiring treatment.

Statistics and Table of Swallowing Fingernail

Frequency of accidental fingernail swallowingStudies have found that up to 80% of individuals have swallowed a foreign object at some point in their lifetime, including fingernails.
Potential risks of swallowing a fingernailSwallowing a fingernail can potentially cause damage to the digestive system, including irritation or injury to the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. It can also lead to infections if the nail was not properly cleaned.
Digestive system route of fingernailWhen swallowed, a fingernail would typically travel through the mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach before passing through the small and large intestines and ultimately being excreted in the stool.
Recommended treatments for accidental fingernail swallowingIn most cases, swallowing a fingernail will not cause significant harm and will pass through the digestive system without incident. However, individuals should monitor their symptoms and seek medical attention if they experience pain, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, or other concerning symptoms. Drinking fluids or eating high-fiber foods may also help move the nail through the digestive system.

Table of Possible Symptoms After Swallowing Fingernail

Have you ever swallowed your fingernail by accident? Many of us have. But do you know what possible symptoms you may experience after ingesting a fingernail? So, read on to learn more about the possible symptoms after swallowing a fingernail!

SymptomPotential Cause
Pain or discomfort in the throat or chestThe fingernail may be lodged in the esophagus
Abdominal pain or crampingThe fingernail may be causing irritation or inflammation in the stomach or intestines
Difficulty swallowingThe fingernail may be partially blocking the esophagus
VomitingThe body may be attempting to expel the foreign object
Bloody or black stoolsThe fingernail may have caused damage to the digestive system

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Poop Out Fingernails?

No, it is not possible to poop out fingernails. Fingernails are made of a protein called keratin, which is not broken down by the body and therefore cannot be passed through the digestive system. Fingernails are also too large to pass through the intestines. Therefore, it is not possible to poop out fingernails.

What Happens to Chewed-up Fingernails If You Swallow Them?

Unlike other food, fingernails are indigestible no matter how small they are. You must avoid chewing your fingernails. Well, if you swallow the fingernails after chewing them, they simply pass through your system just like other fibrous food. But in some cases, it may gather in your stomach causing infection or life threat. 

How to Get Your Fingernails Out of Your Throat?

If the fingernails are big and sharp it can harm your throat. But nothing to fret about small pieces. However, the stuck grub takes some time to pass on its own. Don’t try to vomit if the nails are sharp and too big. But some tricks can help you out:

  1. Eating a big piece of banana or marshmallow in one gulp can push the fingernails down to the stomach.
  2. Take a big bite of bread, roll it in your mouth, and gulp it at once with coca-cola.
  3. Get medical help in case you feel difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Is Nail-Biting a Sign of Mental illness?

Nail-biting is largely concerned with psychological disorders and emotive behaviors. Nail-biters are usually in need of attention and healthy activities. This nasty habit is the expression of stress, anxiety, discomfort, and lack of affability. Usually, the habit of nail-biting begins as a reaction to a stressful situation or inability to do their best. 

To know more about what happens if you swallow a fingernail just check out our video below.

Final Thoughts

Finally, swallowing fingernails is harmful whether you are a habitual nail-biter or swallowed it accidentally. Fingernails are the safe shelter for many bacteria; and the root cause of serious infections. Swallowing or biting fingernails can spoil your health, beauty, and life too. Help yourself and others to get rid of this bad habit.

Love yourself and your nails too. Because nail-biting can disturb your social life, and lead to certain disorders and life-threatening situations. Obsessive and repetitive behaviors are closely linked to several psychiatric disorders. Always stay positive and get engaged in healthy activities. As it’s never too late for a new start.

Lastly, Stop biting your fingernails now!


  • “Swallowed Foreign Bodies” by American Family Physician: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0215/p909.html
  • “What Happens When You Swallow Something You Shouldn’t?” by Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/swallowed-objects
  • “Foreign Body Ingestion: Background, Pathophysiology, Etiology” by Medscape: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1951809-overview
  • “Swallowed Fingernail: Can It Be Harmful?” by Doctors Health Press: https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/general-health-articles/swallowed-fingernail/
  • “Accidentally Swallowed Object: First Aid” by Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-choking/basics/art-20056637

James Randolph

Hey, James is here with you. This blog is a powerful online resource to help you get instant answers to your superstitious beliefs, facts, and the reality of myths. Knowledge is your inner guidance system, and this blog empowers you to update, refine, reorganize and enhance your communication system. If you know well you can surely discuss facts with evidence. So, stay with us and be a master of what happens around you!

Recent Posts