What You Should Know About Toenail Fungus

Important Information on Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungal infections are very common and affect about twelve percent of the American population. To understand toenail fungus, you must understand fungus in general.

Fungus likes to live in dark, damp environments that are humid. This is why most people who suffer from nail fungus infections suffer from toenail fungus. The shoe is the perfect place for nail fungus to grow. Fungus can live next to the nail for a long time. It can even burrow under the nail. There are a great number of factors that determine where the fungus actually starts. Two of these factors are how fast the infection is progressing and how severe the infection is.

Fungal Infection Symptoms

What You Should Know About Toenail FungusDoctors believe that the beginning of the disorder starts next to the nail and works its way under the nail slowly. The early symptoms of a fungal infection are a yellowish or whitish spot on the nail. Pain is typically not associated with the first stage, and most people do not notice the problem until it has progressed much further.

As the infection becomes worse, the fungal infection becomes more noticeable. These changes may appear slowly. The nail may become dull, yellowed, and lose its shape. The nail begins to become thick, yellow and ridged. This is the trademark appearance of a nail that is suffering from a fungal infection. Over time, the person who is affected will feel some discomfort from the infection. This is typically caused by the nail separating from the nail bed.

If the infection is allowed to go this far and the nail separates itself from the nail bed, there is a risk of an even greater infection. This is because the nail bed is made of sensitive tissue. If there is any pus present, or if there is a foul odor when you remove your sock,  you need to see a doctor immediately.

There is a myth that toenail fungus only likes dirty areas. This is not true. A fungus is happy to breed wherever the environment is damp, dark, and warm. All it takes is one spore coming into contact with this area for it to become a breeding ground, no matter how clean of a person you are. While everyone comes into contact with this fungus on a daily basis, an infection only occurs if you give the spores an environment that they like to live in.

Types of Fungus

The medical community likes to refer to this type of fungus as a dermatophyte. There are other microorganisms that can infect the nail, such as yeast and mold, but dermatophytes are typically the most common infection.

Here is a list of things that make a person more susceptible to developing a fungal infectionWhat You Should Know About Toenail Fungus

  • A weakened immune system
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Trauma to the toenail
  • Low skin pH
  • Poor hygiene
  • Previous nail fungus infection

It is very unlikely that a nail fungus infection can become life threatening or debilitating. However the infection can cause pain and discomfort and seriously impact the person’s self-esteem. Treating toenail fungus can be difficult, which is why doing your best to prevent nail fungus is the best treatment there is. If you are concerned that you have a fungal infection or any other type of infection in your toenail, consult your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine the best course of action for your particular type of infection and your medical history.

Useful Information for Nail Fungus Treatments

What to Look for in Nail Fungus Treatments

Nail fungus, known medically as Onychomycosis, is not an easy condition to treat. Primarily cosmetic in nature, this disorder typically affects the toenails.

People at Risk for Contracting Nail FungusSome Useful Information When Looking for Nail Fungus Treatments

  • The older population
  • Males
  • People with diabetes
  • People who have had trauma to their nails
  • People with hyperhidrosis
  • People who suffer from peripheral vascular disease
  • People who have athlete’s foot
  • People with immunodeficiency
  • People who practice poor hygiene
  • People who spend a lot of time in water

There are a large number of fungus species that can affect the nail. It is also very common to find more than one type of infection inside one nail. The visible symptoms of the fungus make the nail appear thick and discolored. The appearance of the nail may be distorted.

Curing nail fungus has been historically problematic. There have recently been new options for curing nail fungus. Visiting your doctor will determine what type of infection you have and will confirm whether or not it is a nail fungus. Discovering what type of fungus you are affected by can help determine the best treatment. It is also very simple. Your doctor will be able to take scrapings or a clipping of your nail and examine it under a microscope. It may also be sent to the lab for a culture.

Once you know what type of infection you have, your treatment can begin. A common option for many patients is oral prescription medication. There are two older and proven medications available, griseofulvin and fluconazole. Unfortunately, these medications aren’t very effective in treating all forms of nail fungus.

Nail Fungus Medications

Some Useful Information When Looking for Nail Fungus TreatmentsTwo newer medications that are available are terbinafine and itraconazole. These have been proven more effective against nail fungus than the previous medications.

For those who do not wish to take a prescription medication, there are other alternatives.

Topical medications are available to cure nail fungus. Your doctor can also prescribe a nail varnish that contains 8% ciclopirox solution. This is painted on your nail and the skin near it every day for a period of 12 months.

It is important to remember that no matter what method you choose to treat your nail fungus, the infection is not considered gone until your nail has grown out completely. It can take over a year to replace a disfigured toenail.

Nail Fungus Treatments

There are some that elect for surgery for treatment of nail fungus. This is a more drastic treatment for nail fungus and should be considered an option only in severe cases or in cases where the nail is disfigured. If there are any other options available to you, you should consider them first.

Alternative treatments are available as well. Tea Tree Oil has been proven to be effective in treating various types of nail fungus. The Mayo Clinic has published at least one report in regards to Tea Tree Oil, and it is considered viable in the medical world.

Home RemediesSome Useful Information When Looking for Nail Fungus Treatments

Many other home remedies have been suggested by various individuals. Most of them are considered viable as well. Just because they have not been proven by medical science, does not mean that they are not effective.

These remedies include:

A 20 – 30 minute soak in vinegar, lemon juice, Listerine, or a solution of bleach

Nutritional supplements such as acidophilus

Applying baking soda, garlic, olive oil, or Vicks VapoRub

Modern medicine has created a wide variety of fungal treatments. Consulting your doctor and researching treatments on your own are great steps in the right direction. Armed with the correct information your doctor can create an effective plan to treat your nail fungus problem.

The Most Effective Nail Fungus Treatments

Treatments for Nail Fungus Infections

When you are trying to get rid of nail fungus, choose a treatment that is right for you. There are a lot of options, even if this is a long-term or severe infection. Regardless of this, there is a way to treat and completely get rid of any infection. No matter what treatment you choose, it requires patience, as it can take several months to see full results from the treatment you choose.

Important Points you Should Know about Treating Nail Fungus Infections

  • What Are the Most Effective Treatments for Nail Fungus Infections?Getting rid of a fungal infection that affects the finger- or toenail can be a long process. It doesn’t matter which treatment you choose, it will take at least a few months.
  • Nail fungus that affects fingernails is usually easier to get rid of. This is because your hands have access to fresh air more than your feet, which are constricted in shoes.
  • Some prescription medications for nail fungus can cause liver damage. During treatment with prescription medications, your doctor may order periodic liver function tests to ensure that your liver is healthy enough to undergo treatment.
  • The most common method of treating nail fungus is through oral medications. This may be used in combination with treatments applied directly to the nail. A less severe form of nail fungus may be treated with a paint-on nail varnish or product containing tea tree oil.
  • For severe infections, or those that reoccur, your doctor may recommend removing all or part of the nail. This is not typically done unless other treatments have repeatedly failed.
  • Most cases of nail fungus, as long as they are mild cases, are typically left alone to go away on their own.

There are many things you can do to prevent a nail fungus from coming back. If you are interested in this information, read “Preventing Nail Fungus Infections”

Current Treatments Available for Nail Fungus Infections

What Are the Most Effective Treatments for Nail Fungus Infections?With all of the treatments on the market today, how do you find the best one available? Here we have composed a list of treatments that are available. We have divided it into three different categories which will make the decision easier for you.

Before you make up your mind set on any specific treatment, you should talk to your doctor about the best course of action. You can also use up-to-date medical research to determine which treatment option is best for you before you talk to your doctor.

Shown Effective and Safer Than Most Methods

Itraconazole (Sporanox)

An oral medication that provides anti-fungal properties. It is effective in treating infections that are caused by a fungus.

Terbinafine Pills (Lamisil)

An anti-fungal medication that is taken orally. It is effective in treating fungal infections in the nail.

Treatments Considered Effective but Possibly Harmful

Fluconazole Pills (Diflucan)

An anti-fungal medication that is taken orally. While it is considered effective in treating fungal infections of the nail, it is not commonly prescribed for this treatment.

Ciclopirox Lacquer (Penlac Nail Lacquer)

This is a great choice if you are trying to avoid taking oral medications to treat a nail fungus infection. It is typically more effective in treating infections that are mild in nature. This treatment goes on like a nail polish and is applied to the affected area.

Treatments That Need More Research

Griseofulvin Pills (Grifulvin V)

What Are the Most Effective Treatments for Nail Fungus Infections?This is considered an antibiotic. While it can be used for treatment of nail fungus, it is not as effective as other options.

Ketoconazole Pills (Nizoral)

While this medication is considered an antifungal, it is rarely used. This is because it can cause severe liver damage.

Terbinafine Cream or Spray

This medication comes as a cream or spray. It is effective in treating fungal infections but it takes quite a long time for it to work. This cream is commonly known as Lamisil.`

Removing Part of Your Nail

Typically, this is the treatment for a severe nail infection. It can also be used if someone experiences recurring infections. Before this is considered, doctors will try several different treatments as it can take quite a while for the nail to grow back.

Prescription Drugs and Curing Toenail Fungus

Using Drugs to Cure Toenail Fungus

Prescription Drugs and Curing Toenail FungusWith advancements in modern medicine, curing toenail fungus has become become a regular occurrence. Toenail fungal infections can spread really easily, both from nail to nail and from person to person. This is why treating it as early as possible is a great concern.

What Does a Toenail Infection Look Like?

The most common, and first symptom is a discolored nail. The color of the nail is typically white or yellowish. After the infection reaches the nail bed, it can easily turn dark yellow and develop brown spots. The nail becomes thick and brittle as the fungus reaches further into the nail or into the nail bed. This is because the fungus’s sole goal is to spread as fast as possible to keep itself alive.

A nail fungus infection begins when people are exposed to the spores of the fungus. This is easier than you may think. All it takes is being barefoot, especially in areas that are dirty or used by a lot of barefoot people. This can happen fairly easily if your shoes are dirty or damaged, especially if you have sweaty feet or live in a humid area.

Nails can easily become discolored if you have any damage to the nail, especially if it rubs on a shoe or if you have a skin condition. Always see your doctor whenever you have any discoloration of your nail. This lets you work with your doctor to come up with the best possible treatment for you and your specific needs, given your prior health history.

Topical Medications

A frequently prescribed medication for a toenail fungus infection is Penlac, also known as ciclopirox. This approach uses paint-on nail polish that has to be applied to the nail once or twice daily. Over time, it kills the fungal infection. Typically, it takes a few months to completely kill off the infection.

Side Effects

This medication has been known to cause irritation and itching in the skin surrounding the nail.

Oral Anti-fungal Medications

Prescription Drugs and Curing Toenail FungusThere are many commonly prescribed oral medications for getting rid of toenail fungus. These medications are Lamisil, Sporanox, and Itraconazole. These drugs typically take at least 12 weeks to completely kill a fungal infection. After this, it can take up to 9 months to regrow a healthy toenail.

All of the oral medications that can be prescribed pose risks of side effects. If at any time during your treatment you have abdominal pain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, yellowing of the skin or eyes,  dark urine, or anything else that is unlike your typical function, stop taking the medication and call your doctor immediately.

These prescriptions are not advised for people who have a history of liver or heart problems. Let your doctor know if you have a history, or if you have a family history of these problems.

Modern medicine has made it easier to cure toenail fungus and has provided a great deal of anti-fungal medications. Treating this disorder is of really high concern, especially since it can spread so easily.

Nail Fungus Treatment Questions

Nail Fungus Treatments

Nail fungus is a problem that affects people on a global scale. A lot of people don’t understand how nail fungus is contracted and how to prevent themselves from getting nail fungus infections.

There are eight main questions below, answered so that you can better understand what nail fungus infections are and what causes them.

What Is a Nail Fungus Infection?

A nail fungus infection is characterized by dermaphytes. Dermaphytes are microscopic organisms and a form of fungus. They do not require light to grow. They are spores that cause this type of infection, which cause the nails to be thick and yellow.

Why Is the Nail Such a Perfect Place for Fungal Organisms to Live?

Fungus prefers areas where it is dark, damp, and warm. Socks and shoes provide the perfect place for these organisms to live because they fit these criteria.

Is Everyone at Risk for Developing Nail Fungus?

Questions About Nail Fungus TreatmentsYes, everyone can develop nail fungus. The older you are, the more likely it is for you to suffer from nail fungus infections.

Is It Contagious?

Nail fungus infections are contagious. It is more likely for a person to contract a nail fungus infection if they have damaged nails or skin. A great place for it to be contracted is a public area such as pools, locker rooms, and other public areas that are damp, warm and people are barefoot regularly.

Are Fingernails or Toenails Affected More Often?

While fingernails can contract nail fungus, toenails are more likely to contract the infection. This is because it is more likely for toenails to develop the infection. This is because they are enclosed in shoes and socks, and shoes are a dark, damp environment.

Are Fungal Infections Dangerous?

Nail fungus infections are not dangerous by themselves. However, the infection can become very serious if it is not treated. The disease itself can be dangerous if the patient has other medical problems that make nail fungus infections easier to develop.

Can I Still Wear Nail Polish?

No, it is recommended, while you are undergoing treatment for nail fungus, not to use nail polish of any kind. Your nails need to breathe and nail polish creates a barrier between your nail and the air around it. It also seals in humidity which makes the nail fungus more likely to spread.

Will Nail Fungus Go Away By Itself?

Nail fungus will not go away on its own. However, the sooner you are able to determine the infection is present, the easier it is for you to get treatment. The longer the fungal infection is allowed to go, the more likely it is that the infection will get worse and the less likely you will be able to use over the counter treatments to get rid of it.