Symptoms?

Hi all,

It's been a while since I've been on this board but I have a question ... do any of you have difficulty with brittle nails? Sounds like an odd question ... but my finger and toe nails are so incredibly brittle. I try everything and they break. Sometimes they're so weak that you could literally cut them with a piece of paper -- almost like a papercut but through my finger nail. I've tried strengthenin nail polish and nail polish remover and nothing seems to help. Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm not even sure if this is related to PSC ... maybe a vitamin deficiency? I try to drink a lot of milk to boost my vitamin D, but still nothing ...

Also, does anyone have suggestions for fatigue? I'm so incredibly tired all the time. I find myself drifting off during work meetings and while at my computer. Today I came home and had to take a nap just to get through the evening and now it's two hours later after that and I'm exhausted.

Just so sick and tired of being sick and tired ... I do so much now ... I can't imagine how productive I'd be if I actually had energy!

Thanks for you thoughts.

~ Stacy

I have the same problem. Going to see the doc about it.

BenY -- I looked that up online and it says it's for UC ... I just had a colonoscopy and my UC is in full remission. Does that help with brittle nails or fatigue?

B17DRVR -- let me know if you find anything out!

For about the last 2 or 3 weeks, I have been losing a lot of hair. It's not coming out in clumps or anything, but it is way more than the normal amount I lose from washing it, combing it, etc. I have been researching some on this, as this is something I have never had before with my PSC or UC. I have told my liver specialist about that and he added a zinc check to my labs. My zinc is low, according to the results I received. I have read that zinc deficiency, and other mineral and vitamin deficiencies can affect nails and hair, among other things.

Also, I am not a doctor, of course. But I do research my conditions a lot and have found out that we are at risk for anemia. In June of this year (the first time I was ever hospitalized for cholangitis since my diagnosis in 1998), I was anemic. My iron was low, and it still is. I was like you, not with the brittle nails, but where I was so exhausted and sleepy all the time. I could actually be using the mouse on my computer and fall asleep for a second--not something you want to do at work, along with falling asleep in meetings.

My next step is to get my B12 level checked and address that if needed.

Sorry for the long post. I guess, in a nutshell, I could have recommended you get your zinc and B12 levels checked, at a minimum. I understand that gastro and liver specialists need to be concerned with whether our liver and/or colon is failing, and may not have time to think about vitamin and mineral levels. So, it is up to us to stay on top of these things ourselves, I guess. Good luck. Post back if you get a chance.

Mine are horrible.

You're normal. Small conciliation I suppose. I always like to know when I am normal in the group.

My fiancées nails tear easy an he loses a lot hair. I find hair on his pillow every morning but shake it out before he sees and worries. Poor guy doesn’t need something else to worry about. I have him using Nioxin shampoo and conditioner, it’s strengthened his hair. As for the nails, he keeps them as short as possible.

After changing our diet, keeping away from red meats, sugars and salts, and loading up on “liver loving” foods, my fiancées energy levels went up. We saw no change in his blood work, but staying hydrated with electrolytes and fueled with the right foods has made visible changes in his mood and strength.

Best of luck.

I just returned from the U of Michigan hospital, where I have completed all the paperwork and some of the testing to get on the transplant list. I was losing a lot of hair, as I posted earlier. My liver doc said, without hesitation, that it was because my zinc was low. This had been comfirmed earlier that week with a blood test. He prescribed a zinc supplement. I just started taking it 2 days ago. I will let you know if it does any good.

Just ask your doc to tack a zinc level onto your regular blood work. It could be as easy as popping a zinc tablet twice a day.

What about Foods with zinc? Anyone eating veal liver? I read it’s loaded with zinc but I’m a little uneasy about entertaining the idea of serving/eating it. Thanks Kdel, let us know how it works.

You are welcome. :) I am sure that eating high zinc foods would be a good start, but, I can't stand liver. My mom used to make us eat it when we were kids, yuk. I think the issue is the lack of ability to absorb it (the zinc) in PSC patients. From what I understand, we need higher doses because we absorb a lower percentage of the available zinc in foods. Also, it is a mineral that has to remain in balance--too much can be as bad as too little. My doc will monitor my levels.

I am new to this whole vitamin thing. I always just chewed a Flintstone vitamin when I gave one to each of my kids. I am of the opinion that most supplements are a waste of money for healthy people who eat a fairly well-balanced diet. I know some people will strongly disagree with me there, but, to each his/her own. :) I didn't really look into the deficiencies that some PSC patients may have until I started losing more hair than normal...