13 Side Effects of Swallowing Nail Polish Remover

The usage of nail polish is a common thing, especially for women. From the different styles matching the different seasons, the sales of nail polish itself can reach hundreds of millions US dollars in a year.

That’s why it’s no surprise if any accidental ingestion happens because the probability is there.

With so much usage, something like swallowing or licking a nail polish or nail polish remover can happen any time. So what happens to you if you ingested them?

Nail polish removers in general contain a substance called acetone. Acetone can also be found in glues, cleaning solutions, and lacquers. Acetone can be harsh on the skin and swallowing or absorbing it through the skin can cause health problems. In large doses, the ingestion of acetone can even lead to death. Here are the side effects of swallowing nail polish remover:

1. Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure can be caused by several factors, including ingesting acetone which affects the cardiovascular system. Some symptoms of low blood pressure are:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Nausea
  • Lack of concentration
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue

Extreme hypotension (low blood pressure) can cause life-threatening conditions such as shock, stroke, or heart diseases. Besides low blood pressure, other blood pressure issues worth reading about are:  Causes of High Blood Pressure at Young Age

2. Difficulty breathing

A side effect of swallowing nail polish remover is breathing difficulties. One might experience shorter and shallow breaths as a result. Breathing problems can be chronic or long term and can lead to more serious problems such as lung diseases. Symptoms of people having breathing difficulties are:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Confusion and sleepiness
  • Unable to breathe lying down (needs to sit up)

3. Slowed breathing rate

Along with breathing difficulties mentioned above, one might experience slowed breathing rate as well. Additional articles to read: Ways to Prevent Shortness of Breath, and Ways to Get Rid of Bad Breath with Home Remedies.

4. Nausea and vomiting

The body can only take a certain amount of acetone. With an excessive intake in a short period, the body would reject the overflowed acetone and cause nausea and vomiting to let it out.

Vomiting is an act of forcibly emptying the stomach. There are even events of vomiting completely nothing but small amounts of clear secretions and liquid. Vomiting and nausea are signs of illness and not due to any specific illness. Read : How to Get Rid of Nausea Side Effects

5. Pain in belly area

The stomach will experience problems digesting the excessive acetone, leading to pain in the belly or stomach area. If the stomach is unable to process it, this will lead to nausea and vomiting. Pain in other areas may occur such as headache which may linger or disappear after several moments.

6. Lingering taste in mouth

Acetone often leads to a lingering after taste in the mouth as well as mouth or body odor. Those undergoing the ketogenic diet may experience this as well.

This is also known as keto-breath and disappears after a few weeks or a few months. To minimize the impact of keto-breath, you can drink more water, use natural breath fresheners, and eat mints or gums.

7. Need to urinate

There will be an increase in the need to urinate as the urinary system experiences problems, although not to a severe extend as the problems within the other systems. To flush out the acetone, drinking more water would be suggested which would also factor in the increased need to urinate.

8. Headache

An aftermath of breathing problems and body pains, headache may occur as a side effect of swallowing nail polish remover. The headache can range from light to severe and may last for several moments or even longer.

9. Coma

Being unconscious for a certain amount of time is called a coma. Coma can result from a temporary or permanent damage in an area of the brain. Coma causes the body to be unresponsive to anything and unable to be awake.

There are many causes for a coma, and large amounts of acetone ingestion is one of them. Although coma does not directly induce death, it hides other severe diseases. How long a coma can go is unpredictable as well.

10. Stupor

Stupor occurs when verbal responses are not given. When someone only responds to physical stimulation, this is called stupor. Stupor is a serious symptom as it often happens to those suffering from disorders such as stroke, meningitis, overdose, and more.

Stupor is always a medical emergency. If after swallowing nail polish remover, the person experiences stupor, please call for help immediately.

11. Lethargy

Feeling sleepy, sluggish, or extreme tiredness is called being lethargic. Lethargy can come from physical or mental conditions, leading to unmotivated and slow individuals. After swallowing nail polish removers, one may experience extreme tiredness in their body, leading to lethargicness.

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12. Lack of coordination

There would be difficulties in coordinating the body movements from breathing to moving. This is due to the body breaking down, adjusting, and controlling itself from the acetone taken in. This can range from hand-eye coordination to other problems of different severity.

13. Slurred speech

Along with breathing and moving difficulties, another symptom would be slurred speech and difficulties talking. This would go hand in hand with the lack of coordination the patient might experience.

To treat the side effects of swallowing nail polish remover, first, stabilization is needed by giving supportive oxygen. This would pump out the acetone naturally but can only be done for mild poisoning.

For more severe cases, stomach pumping may be necessary to prevent vomiting. Vomiting acetone can cause severe damage to the throat and esophagus of humans. This procedure should be done by medical professionals to prevent any medical malpractices and accidents.

To prevent inhalation of nail polish, children and teenagers should be taught to be careful around nail polish and nail polish removers. Anyone using the substance should be careful as well.

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