Health Condition

Yellow Nail Syndrome

About This Condition

Yellow nail syndrome is believed to be caused by congenital abnormalities in the lymphatic system.

Although it primarily affects the nails and lymphatic tissue, it frequently is associated with lung disease.


People with yellow nail syndrome may have symptoms including thickened, curved, slow-growing, yellow-to-greenish nails; and swelling of the lymph system in various parts of the body. Additional symptoms relating to the lungs may also occur.

Other Therapies

Treatment may include physical therapy, such as postural drainage, clapping, and vibration. Healthcare practitioners typically recommend avoiding cigarette smoke and other respiratory irritants, cough suppressants, and sleeping pills.


1. Norton L. Further observations on the yellow nail syndrome with therapeutic effects of oral alpha-tocopherol. Cutis 1985;36:457-62.

2. Ayres S Jr, Hihan R. Yellow nail syndrome: response to vitamin E. Arch Dermatol 1973;108:267-8.

3. Ayres S Jr. Yellow nail syndrome controlled by vitamin E therapy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1986;15:714-6 [letter].

4. Williams HC, Buffham R, du Vivier A. Successful use of topical vitamin E solution in the treatment of nail changes in yellow nail syndrome. Arch Dermatol 1991;127:1023-8.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.

Drugs used to treat YELLOW NAIL SYNDROME. Select drug name to view medication information and pricing