Nail Fungus can be an embarrassing issue for anyone. It will continue to become worse and harder to treat the longer it is left to grow and spread. The treatment of Nail Fungus can be a difficult and frustrating process when incorrect treatment methods are used. Most treatments fail to reach the nail bed where the Nail Fungus lives and grows. In this article we will should you what it takes to get rid of this pesky issue for good!
There are some important things that everyone should know about the fungal growth that strikes the toenails and is called onychomycosis or tinea unguium. There are actually many small symptoms of the nail that can lead people to think they have this condition. If you have concerns you should always consult your doctor for medical advice.
Because it is a fungal infection many people assume that this condition is caused by poor hygiene. The fact of the matter is that in the most advanced societies 10% of the population will have this type of fungal growth in their toenails. Once the age bracket rises to 60, over 20% of the population will have this condition. Toenail fungus is more common than fingernail fungus.
As a matter of fact there are a number of conditions that can cause nails to look and feel a bit different and only a few of these are related to fungal infections. But the reasons for these changes are numerous.
What other conditions can appear to be fungus on toenail?
There are a number of conditions that can cause a change in your nails.
Lines and ridges – this is actually more common than many people assume. It could be caused by nail biting and the condition can be made worse by pregnancy. Many people develop lines and ridges on their nails following chemotherapy reports on doctor.
Senile nails – with the progression of age it is only natural that you will develop ridges and separations on the nail. This can be avoided by keeping your nails extra clean with proper solutions and avoiding getting them wet according to our research and several doctor recommendations. As always consult your doctor directly for any medical advice or health concerns of fungal nail infection.
Onycholysis can cause a yellowing or whitening of the nail. This occurs when the nail begins to slowly separate from the nail bed. The color you are seeing is caused by an air pocket lodged between nail and bed. The best way to address this condition is by cutting the nail short. If you would like to hide the discoloration, use a suitable nail polish. Within a couple of months the situation should be cleaned up. If this condition persists, it can increase the likelihood of a fungal infection. If you are experiencing these issues make sure to reach out to your doctor.
Red, black and bluish nails can be caused by a hematoma, or blood that has gotten under the nail usually as the result of a trauma (like striking the nail with a hammer). Eventually this part of the nail will grow out and be trimmed away and the problem solved. If you have black spots under your nail and have not had any trauma, it could be more serious and you will want to consult a medical professional. These blackened spots can be the result of melanoma. A biopsy will be able to determine if the condition is cancerous or not.
Greenish nails can be caused by a bacteria called Pseudomonas, these thrive under a nail that has become separated from the nail bed. This bacterial infection can also cause an especially foul smell and the best way to treat the condition is by trimming the nail very short for four weeks. The nail can be covered with a polish to hide the discoloration and within a few months the infection will be gone. Keeping the nail dry and avoiding soaking it in water will also speed up the healing process. If the toenail fungus condition shows no signs of getting better, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a medical professional.
Pitted nails could be symptomatic of psoriasis or other skin conditions that are found in the nail matrix. This is the area of the toenail where it meets the skin. Tan colored nails are another symptom of psoriasis.
Paronychia is a swelling and redness of the skin around the nail. This infection strikes the skin and is concentrated in the cuticle of the nail. If this condition has reached an acute stage, it has probably been aggravated by a bacterial infection. Sometimes a warm soak will help or have the accumulated fluids drained by a medical professional. Sometimes harmful yeasts will take advantage of the weakened condition and the entire cuticle will become inflamed over time. The best way to treat this condition is by keeping the area dry. A doctor may recommend antibiotics to keep the toenails fungus infection controlled, but only in the most severe conditions.
Chronic nail trauma is another type of damage that can cause nails to become damaged and look like fungal nail. This is most common in sports and lines of work that involve pressure and impact upon the nails. This can actually make the nails seem to be fungal. This can also happen when wearing tight fitting shoes. Sometimes these traumas look just like nail fungus but are not caused by the same thing.
What causes Toenail fungus, and what are some of the risk factors?
In a normal healthy person, toenail fungus can be contracted in various ways. Most commonly these fungal infection attacks are invited in areas where moist warm conditions are especially conducive to fungal attacks. Like a public swimming pool, showers, locker rooms or gyms. If you visit a nail salon that does not have immaculate cleaning and sanitization habits the risks of nail fungus are greatly increased. Furthermore, if family members have toenail fungus and share the same bathrooms, tubs and shower stalls with healthy relatives, the chances of contracting a nail condition are greatly amplified. Athletes are also highly susceptible to nail fungus. This is most likely caused by wearing tight-fitting shoes and socks while sweating profusely due to athletic efforts. The constant trauma from athletic activities can make toe fungus all the easier to catch. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that can easily spread to the toe nails.
Elderly people can also be more susceptible to toenail fungus and are at a higher risk than others. Any underlying condition that weakens the immune system can also make the body more susceptible to nail fungus invasion. Some conditions that can increase the likelihood of contracting a toenail fungus include cancer, AIDS, psoriasis as well as taking any immunosuppressant medication.
Is a fungal nail infection contagious?
While it is more likely that you will contract fungal infections in some places than others, toenail fungus is not highly contagious. While it can be passed from person to person, this can only be done with repetitive and intimate contact.
What are Fungal Infections symptoms and signs?
While nail infections are generally a cosmetic concern, there can be some pain and discomfort from these issues. The symptoms can be made worse by the use of improper footwear and specific activities, as well as the improper trimming of nails.
There are many different types of nail fungus that can affect the nails but the most common of all is a fungus with the name Trichophyton rubrum. This nail fungus has a special capacity to affect the skin and can manifest itself in a number of ways.
Most often this condition will begin at the tip of the nail and begin to work its way backward raising the nail upward as it goes. This condition is called “distal subungual onychomycosis” and can occur in both adults and children. This condition also occurs most commonly in the toes and is less common in the fingers. The big toe is often the first to be affected.
Some of the risk factors that increase the chances of this condition include age, athlete’s foot, swimming, diabetes and living with family members that also have this condition. Suppressed immune functions also make it more common to contract this condition.
The fungus typically takes up residence in the corner of the toe and then begins to move across toward the cuticle. Eventually the entire nail will become thick and flaky. There will often be signs of the athlete’s foot between the toes and peeling skin on the side. This condition is most commonly caused by T. Rubrum
Another type of infection will begin at the base of the nail and begin to raise it up, this is called “proximal subungual onychomycosis “and is not as common as other types of infection. It is a lot li kth distal type of infection but it always begins at the cuticle and then moves toward the tip of the nail. This type of infection is most common with those who have a weakened immune system. Unlike distal subungual onychomycosis, it is very rare that you will see debris begin to form under the nail. The most common causes are typically T.Rubrum or non-dermatophyte molds.
White superficial onychomycosis is a condition in which a white powdery material is often found across the top of the nail. This most often occurs in tropical environments and is caused by a specific type of fungus called Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
What specialists treat nail fungus?
Nail fungus conditions can be treated by a variety of doctors. First of all you can have the fungal nail condition examined by your primary health provider who will be able to provide numerous plans to address the condition. If the condition is especially advanced, you may see a podiatrist or a dermatologist who specializes in treating the affected nail infections.
Who should be treated for fungal nails?
While many of these fungal infections can be addressed by OTC medication, it is important to seek out medical attention if you will have experienced pain and discomfort because of the condition. Patients that have any of the high risk conditions mentioned before will also want to seek out a medical professional. Finally, if the condition is detracting from the important beauty of your nails you may also consider seeking medical care to treat toenail infection quickly.
How to get rid of toenail fungus?
The best way to treat toenail issues will be by keeping your nails short and filed down. This will reduce the amount of fungus and make it harder for the fungus to spread. If your nails have become thick, shorter nails will avoid the pressure related pains that can also arise.
Believe it or not, creams and anti-fungal ointments have been found far less effective against this condition than oral medication. This is because nails are especially tough and will not allow the medication to reach down deep and address the issue at the root. It can also be a bit awkward to commit to a strict and effective regime of topical treatment for the toes. This type of treatment will most often involve daily applications of topical ointments for a time period of up to a year or more before results are noticed. One of the greatest advantages of choosing the topical route is the low risk of side effects and drug interactions that can occur with oral medication.
Prescription topical medications for fungal nails include the following:
Ciclopirox (Penlac) is a topical solution that has been found effective at treating fungus of the toenail and finger so long as it has not spread to the whitish portion of the nail. While it is only recommended for healthy people with a normal immune system it has been found to cure the condition 22% of the time. This treatment will have to be applied to treat toenail issues for as long as a year. This medical nail lacquer must be wiped clean with alcohol at least once each week.
Amorolfine topical solution 5%: – according to some medical studies, using a medicated nail lacquer that contains amorolfine is an important part of keeping the infection from recurring (70%) effective. Unfortunately, this is not a drug that has been made available in the US.
Efinaconazole (Jublia) is a topical medication that was approved in 2014 and is especially effective at treating two specific kinds of fungus and bacteria (Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes). This fungal nail infection treatment must be applied once a day for 48 weeks to the affected nail. Side effects of this fungal nail infection treatment include dermatitis and pain as well as ingrown toenails.
What is the best treatments for fungal nails?
Another good way to face a nail infection problem head on is with an oral anti-fungal therapy. Oral medication can take 9 to 12 months for the results to be manifest, simply because that is how long it can take for the nail to fully grow out. But, even after the nail has grown out and the therapy has been found a success, there is still a chance that the fungul nail infection will grow back. At this point, an oral anti-fungal medication has been found the most effective way to treat this condition.
Some of the more effective oral anti-fungal medications on the market include:
Griseofulvin : as the go-to medication that has been in use for some time, this drug is surprisingly not as effective against toenail fungus as many others. Even the long-term results from this medication have been rather disappointing. There are many newer options on the market that have been found more effective.
Terbinafine (Lamisil) this drug is taken for three months to treat a toenail condition and two months for a fingernail condition. The drug has been found safe and has very few side effects. But, those with liver conditions should be very careful and speak with their medical professional before beginning this treatment option.
Fluconazole (Diflucan): this drug will need to be taken once a week for several months. It is important that the dosing is just right as the impact on kidney function can be especially bad if taken with other medications. Again it is very important to use as directed by a medical professional if you have liver conditions.
Then there are some more innovative treatment options that can be considered:
Laser therapy also called photodynamic therapy uses light-activated antifungal agents that are applied to the nail and then activated with a specific frequency of light wave.
Iontophoresis uses electrical currents to aid in the absorption of topical antifungal medications.
Special nail lacquer can alter the climate of the nail making the nail especially inhospitable to fungal growth. This could be one of the more cost-effective ways to treat the condition.
Are there home remedies for toenail fungus?
You will find a wide variety of antifungal remedies online and some of these have been found very effective. Vinegar is one of the oldest and most commonly recommended options. Then there are essential oils that have especially potent anti-fungal properties, such as tea tree oil, cedar leaf oil. Then others recommend trying VIPS vaporub, but the efficacy of these remedies is somewhat dubious.
Other people recommend the use of household bleach or hydrogen peroxide but this is not recommended because they run the risk of irritating the skin.
If you are trying to trim your thickened nails, you may find this difficult. But, you can soften the nail by adding a cream containing urea. This is an over the counter medication that will not irritate the skin.
Are there over-the-counter treatments effective against toenail fungus?
The definition of an OTC treatment is one that can be obtained at the local pharmacy and with no medical prescription. These are generally safer and easier to use than other options.
While many of the toenail medications that are OTC have been made available, not all of them have been tested and many are not properly approved by the USFDA, especially for the treatment of onychomycosis. Most of the OTC medications you will find are geared toward treating a fungal condition of the skin rather than the nail. Undecylenic acid and/or propylene glycol are some of the more common ingredients you will find. While these agents are very good at treating fungal nail growth, they will not be able to reach deep into the nail and treat these conditions from within as needed.
Tips for prevention of fungal nails
Only about half of the abnormal nails will need to be treated for fungal infection. It can be difficult without a medical professional to tell which is which, sometimes even doctors are unsure. Toenail fungus treatment failures and recurrences are not uncommon.
Reasons to receive professional treatment for fungus in toenails include:
previous leg infection
discomfort from your nails
The most important thing to do will be to prevent toenail fungus issues. Here is what to keep in mind:
Keep your toenails short
Wear dry socks
Keep feet clean
Alternate your exercise shoes.
Treat the athlete’s foot when it occurs.
It is important to note that the content in this post should never be used as advice diagnosis or treatment for toenail fungus or any fungal nail infections issues. As with any health concern you should always contact your doctor for advice diagnosis or treatment. This information should never be treated as medical advice. All rights reserved.