How to Tell if You Have a Fungal Infection in Your Toenail?

Do you have a Fungal Infection in Your Toenail?

Fungal infections of the toenail are very common. Fungal infections that affect toenails affect between 10 to 12% of Americans.

A fungal infection in the toenail is caused by microscopic organisms, known as fungi, that wedge themselves in the tiny cracks around the toenail and around the cuticle. Since your feet are typically inside shoes, which are dark and damp, fungal spores can easily become a problem. Symptoms of fungal infections of the toenail are pretty consistent across the affected population.

How to Tell if You Have a Fungal Infection in Your Toenail?The first noted symptom is typically a whitish, or yellowish, spot on the nail. This is only the beginning of the infection. The spot can be very small, and unless you pay attention to your feet, it may be easy to miss. Over time, this spot will grow and cover more and more of the toenail.  Most people do not notice any pain or discomfort. Some people do not notice it simply because their nail is covered with nail polish.

Over time, the infection will cover the entire toenail. Some people have reported a dark spot, either where the infection originally started or around the edge of the toenail. This is normally only with severe cases though. Sometimes, the infection gets bad enough that the nail actually breaks away from the nail bed.

Other Changes In The Nail

There are a lot of changes that occur in a fungal infected nail. One of these changes is that the nail will become thicker and yellow. Sometimes, the nail flakes or crumbles when the disorder is at a point considered severe.

Only a doctor can determine whether your symptoms are nail fungus or a disorder that looks like nail fungus. There, he or she will be able to take a sample of your toenail and look at it under a microscope. A second portion may be sent out to a lab for more tests. LetHow to Tell if You Have a Fungal Infection in Your Toenail? your doctor know if you spend a lot of time barefoot in wet, public areas such as pools or locker rooms.

Talking to your Doctor

After your doctor and laboratory has been able to examine your toenail, you will have a chance to discuss what treatment would be best for your specific case. The type of fungus plays a huge role in what treatment is used to best eradicate it. Realize that the infection is not going to go away immediately. Toenail fungi can be extremely hard to get rid of.

While you may feel the need to run out and get an over the counter treatment, there are a lot of disorders that can mimic nail fungus. It is important to work with your doctor to ensure that the problem you are facing is a fungal infection and to come up with the best treatment.

How Nails Become Infected

Our nails appear to be clear, hard sheathes that cover part of our finger. We know they eventually grow out over the edge of their fingers. Most people have a pinkish tinge under the nail. The nail is not pink itself, but the color of the skin and blood vessels under the nail show through. This is the appearance of a normal, healthy nail.

A nail infection discolors the nail and makes it whitish or yellowish in color. As the infection grows, the nail can become brown or black.

Nails are composed of a keratin, the same protein that comprises our hair and the outside layer of skin. Keratin is a strong protein that is fairly diverse. For our nails, it builds a lovely sheath to protect part of the nail from harm.

How Does Infection Get Into the Nail?

What Nails Are and How They Become InfectedWhat happens is that the infection gets under the nail. Just like mushrooms, a relative of fungal spores, the infection likes to invade the nail bed where it is warm, dark and damp. We are constantly in contact with these spores on a regular basis. Some of these are harmless and wash off with antibacterial soap. Others try to live in a parasitic way with our bodies. Essentially, they use us to grow and spread themselves.

Most people do not realize when or where they have come into contact with these parasitic fungal spores. Basically, the answer is everywhere. Our entire eco-system is composed of germs, viruses and spores. This is why having a healthy immune system is essential to remaining healthy.

The fungus that is known to cause nail infections is called a dermatophyte. For some people, like those who have poor circulation, diabetes, or a chronic illness, these parasitic fungi find a happy breeding ground where they can increase their population.

The most commonly affected area is the toenail, since it is typically kept in the dark and is surrounded by warm fabric. Fingernail infections do occur, but typically in those who spend their time with their hands in water or harsh chemicals.

Fungi grow very slowly, so by the time the person is affected he or she only notices the discoloration of their nails. By this time, the fungus has already established a good hold on the nail. Typically, the fungus gets underneath the nail through the tip of the toe and gains access to the nail bed. The fungus can also gain access to the nail bed by attaching itself to the soft tissue around the nail and making its way to the desired location from there.

What Can You Do to Prevent It?

There are many different ways that you can prevent nail fungus from attacking your nails. Given how difficult that it can be to get rid of an infection, it is in your best interest to avoid getting an infection.

  • What Nails Are and How They Become InfectedKeep your nails properly trimmed close to the edge of the finger or toe tip. The less space there is for the fungus to attach to, the less likely it will be that it makes its way to the nail bed to grow.
  • Washing your hands and feet on a regular basis and drying them completely can help prevent infection. Wearing clean socks every day and ensuring your shoes dry out completely is recommended.
  • Wearing something on your feet in public areas that are damp, like swimming pools or locker rooms is recommended.

How to Treat an Infection

There are a lot of home remedies suggested on this website and many others. Over-the-counter medications are also a good option for treatment. If you plan to treat the infection yourself, make sure to wash the area twice per day, dry it thoroughly and use the medication you chose. Right after you wash and dry your feet, you should wear sandals and expose your feet to light.

If the infection becomes severe or advanced, you should visit your doctor to determine what type of fungal infection you are dealing with and what options are best for you.

Living With a Nail Fungus Infection

How to Live with a Nail Fungus Infection

Note from the start that having a nail fungus infection does not single you out. In truth, it makes you one of 20% of people who are also affected by this disease. Even though it is visually unappealing, it is possible to live with and cure if you are willing to put in the effort to do so. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are probably already affected by nail fungus, and you are not alone. Here, we have composed some information to help you.

Living With a Nail Fungus InfectionNail fungus is considered a microorganism. Once you are exposed to it, it grows on or under your nail. It occurs in both fingernails and toenails. It does not discriminate by type of nail, race, creed, gender, or any other circumstance. It will happily grow anywhere that is accommodating to its strange taste in living environment. It prefers warm, damp, dark areas and the finger and toenails provide the perfect habitat. The biggest problem with nail fungus is that it can do a lot of harm. This is because it is not immediately noticeable. It starts as a discolored spot that is easy to overlook and easy to ignore. By the time the person realizes that it is a problem, it is already out of control and can be difficult to treat.

Typically, by the time the fungus is noticed, it has already worked its way under the nail and into the nail bed.  Once it reaches the nail bed, it is harder to get to for treatment. Your goal is to get your healthy, beautiful nails back. This means that as soon as you notice the fungal problem, you need to start treating it immediately.

Avoiding Nail Fungus Infections

The best way to avoid nail fungus infections is to not get one at all. Unless you are equipped with the right information, it can be difficult to avoid. There are a lot of precautions you can take to ensure that you do not get a nail fungus infection.

  • Living With a Nail Fungus InfectionConsider locations in your life that may carry the infection. Nail fungus prefers wet environments like public bathrooms, public pools, public showers, and places like this. When you do use these areas, make sure to wash your hands with antibacterial soap. If you must come into contact with these areas, like a public shower at the gym, wear something on your feet at all times. A great choice is flip flops or shower shoes.
  • Do not wear wet clothes. If you get wet in the rain, dry off and change clothes as soon as you get the chance. If you have been swimming, remove your bathing suit as soon as you can. If you have been working out and sweating, make sure to shower, put on dry clothes, and dry shoes and socks before leaving the gym. One of the main reasons that people contract nail fungus is that they do not change clothes, shoes and socks after a workout.
  • Keep your body healthy. Make sure to eat right and take supplements on a daily basis. If you have a disease like diabetes, make sure to keep your blood sugars under control because your body cannot fight off a fungal infection as well as someone with a healthy immune system.

How Can I Permanently Cure My Toenail Fungus

Permanently Curing Toenail Fungus

Curing Toenail Fungus is a long tedious process, yet very possible. Onychomycosis can lie dormant for a long time, even when it starts to clear up, only to return later. Because of this doctors try to stay away from the word cure. It is not something that is just cured by a pill. Many people in today’s age believe that a pill is the quick fix to curing anything.How Can I Permanently Cure My Toenail Fungus

Many factors determine how fast it takes to fix the problem. How bad has the infection gotten? The earlier you can catch it, the faster it is to cure it entirely. This infection makes its way, starting at the skin and working its way onto or under the nail. Under the nail is where you don’t want it to go. The nail acts as a personal shield that helps feed this nail fungus.

The second factor in fixing this problem is how committed you are to destroying this nail fungus. It takes time to make sure that you are keeping rough living conditions for the fungus every day so that it will die off. The best things that help with this are to clean your feet a couple times a day and every time you clean your feet change into clean socks. Wash your socks in bleach or soak them in peroxide. This will kill any spores of the fungus that may have stuck to your socks. Also follow your doctor’s instructions.

A lot of people end up hurting themselves, mostly due to giving up on treatment part of the way through. Just missing one day of treatment can set you back by about 2 weeks. Curing toenail fungus takes a lot of time and effort. You must hit on all the problems or you can easily let the fungus continue to thrive.

Oral Prescription Medication

How Can I Permanently Cure My Toenail FungusYou can ask your doctor about adding Tea Tree Oil, a natural topical antifungal, to your daily regimen alongside the oral medication your doctor gives you. This can help fight the fungal infection from both the inside and outside. This can help double your chances to effectively kill off the infection. Along with this you still have to help maintain a healthy environment for you and not the fungus.

You and the time you put into fighting off this infection, are the deciding factor if you get rid of this disease.

Allowing your feet to stay dry and aired out, washing your feet, and changing your socks throughout the day will keep the environment on your side instead of the fungus. Remember, losing one day of treatment can set you back up to 14 days. Following all these steps can help permanently end your toenail fungus problems.

Easy to Use Nail Fungus Home Remedies

Nail Fungus Home Remedies

Having a nail fungus infection on your fingernails or toenails can be embarrassing; some sufferers have even referred to it as humiliating. There are many ways to treat nail fungus infections, and here we will share some of them with you.Easy to Use Nail Fungus Home Remedies

How Does A Nail Become Infected?

Toenails can become infected extremely easily. This is because they are constantly coming into contact with microorganisms that naturally make contact with skin. They are then able to attach to the nail sheath and eventually work their way underneath the nail and into the nail bed. The reason toenails are so prone to becoming infected by fungal spores is because they provide the perfect breeding ground, especially when it comes to someone who wears shoes and socks for the majority of the day. People who wear the same pair of shoes every day are more susceptible to developing a fungal infection than those who alternate pairs of shoes every day and allow their shoes to dry out completely before wearing them again.

It is very important to trim your toenails. Trim toenails close to the skin. Accidental chips in the nail can become an easy entry point for fungal infections.

Wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe. Wearing shoes that are too tight can cause toenail fungus because there is no air circulation inside your shoes. Also, if your shoes rub, they could easily leave an opening for a fungal infection to invade your nails or the surrounding tissue.

Typical Symptoms of Nail Fungus Infections

  • Discoloration of the toenail, could be white or yellow
  • Nail becomes thick or disfigured
  • A stinging feeling or pain from around the nail
  • Brown or black spots on the nail
  • Pieces of the nail crumble, break off, flake off easily
  • Oozing pus from around the nail
  • A nail falling off completely

Recommended Home Remedies for Nail Fungus Infections

The sooner you catch a nail fungus infection, the easier it is to treat. If the nail fungus is already established, it will take longer for the fungus to respond to treatment, and the longer it is allowed to go, the more likely it is for you to need prescription treatment.

Here is a list of recommended treatments to use at home in treating nail fungus caught in the early stages:

  • Easy to Use Nail Fungus Home RemediesClearFungus – This is one of the leading natural remedies used for curing toenail fungal infections. Considered a natural product that offers antifungal properties, it is not considered a home remedy. The natural ingredients in it are formulated to kill toenail fungus and help create healthy nail growth.
  • VapoRub – Although it is not clear why this product is effective, it is great at stopping the growth and spread of fungal infections. The treatment does not kill the fungus, but it does prevent it from spreading and allows a healthy nail to grow until the infection has been completely trimmed away. There have not been any clinical trials completed on this product.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide, Listerine and Rubbing Alcohol – Either combined or separately, all of these chemicals have shown major strides in the ability to treat nail fungus. They all provide antiseptic properties. Soak your nails and surrounding areas in your choice of these solutions. They can be combined or used separately for 20 minutes twice per day.
  • Tea Tree Oil – This oil is considered a very powerful antiseptic and antifungal essential oil. Wash and dry your feet before using this product. Rub the oil on the affected area and surrounding skin twice per day after washing.
  • Vinegar – Mix vinegar with equal parts water. Soak your toes in the solution for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash thoroughly and dry completely.

These remedies are great to use if the infection is caught in its early stages. If you follow instructions, you may be able to clear the infection up yourself. If the symptoms are bad, or you catch the infection later in the cycle, speak to your doctor before using a home remedy.