Fungal infections are very-very unfortunate and unfortunately, they can affect any part of the body. Toenail fungus has become very common these days. Now if you know, fungi are normally present in and on our body. Even bacteria! That’s something very normal. However, due to some reasons, the fungi can begin to grow abnormally. This can cause severe fungal infections in or on any part of the body. You will be shocked if you found out how common fungal infections are. Toenail fungus is common because our toenails can have dirt in them. When the dirt accumulates, it creates a moist environment for the fungi to grow, and this gives a rise to the fungal infection.
Before moving on to how fungus affects our bodies, let us understand what a toenail fungus exactly is.
What is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail Fungus is a type of fungal infection. The fungi that cause toenail infections are known as dermatophytes. When the number of fungi multiplies in your toenail, your nail becomes infected. These fungi feed on protein on the nail and keep growing. When that happens, the toenail becomes yellowish brown and it can even pain at times. Usually, people who always wear shoes and socks are at the risk of getting a toenail fungus, because fungi can grow in dark and moist environment.
How does it affect the body?
Toenail fungus can be hard to treat since it is very difficult to get the medicine into your nail. Also, a lot of antifungal medicines have side-effects. Toenail fungus definitely harms the body, but the antifungal medicines destroy the entire immune system. These medicines have to be taken for a really long time because toenail fungus takes a long time to be cured. And, there is a huge risk of your liver getting damaged because antifungal medicines are really strong ones. For many people, the first round of medication doesn’t work. You can’t consider it cured until a new nail that is infection-free is grown. Even after it is cured, fungi can always return.
Since toenail fungus isn’t painful, one may keep ignoring it for a long time. A few people don’t even realize that they have toenail fungus, they just consider it as a simple cosmetic problem and leave it untreated. If you do that, the fungus can slowly enter other parts of your body and even your blood.
Your body can be affected in numerous ways by the fungus, like:
Foot pain: If left untreated, toenail fungus can make your nail very brittle and painful. It might get so painful that you may face difficulty in walking and wearing shoes.
Other Organs: When other organs of the body start getting affected by the fungus, you can consider the situation becoming worse day-by-day. At times, the fungi can even reach the genitals – this is very common in both men and women.
Cellulitis: In severe cases, when the fungi spread to the skin and cause it to crack. When that happens, bacteria can enter your skin. This can cause cellulitis, which produces swollen, red and tender skin. This condition is very dangerous and can only be treated with strong antibiotics. In some extremely severe cases, the infection can enter the bloodstream and become deadly.
Loss of nails: In a condition called onycholysis, the nail gets separated from the nail bed. In such cases, most of the doctors advise the patients to get their lose nails removed. Even after the nail is removed, you can never be sure if it will grow back again. In many cases, the nails don’t grow back.
Side-effects: The medicines that are prescribed to you can actually cause a lot of harm to your body. Upper abdominal pain, nausea, itching, loss of appetite, discolouration of urine, stools and eyes are some of the examples of side-effects caused by antifungal medicines.
Besides, there are some complications of having a toenail fungus: the infection can come back anytime, you could lose the infected nail forever, your nail might become discoloured, your infection could enter the bloodstream and cause other diseases too.
That’s not it…
Toenail fungus can harm one’s confidence to go out. It usually happens when one often wears socks, however, once you have fungus, you’ll realize that you will often wear socks again because the nail might just look too ugly! One can become too conscious about how the toenail looks! If you’re a woman, you might have more cosmetic concerns and you might be tempted to colour them with nail polish, however, you shouldn’t as your nails can’t breathe because of nail polish.
Also, don’t forget that it is a very long process. Curing toenail fungus is not at all easy! It takes months or even years. It takes a lot of patience to wait for the fungus to go away and this can cause depression too. You must remember that you can try a lot of home remedies with the prescribed medication. Remember to stay calm and take your medicines regularly. So if you’re reading this, please take proper care of your toenails and prevent the situation from worsening. Always, wash your feet and keep them dry and clean. Avoid wearing tight and covering footwear like shoes, choose your footwear wisely. Let your nails breathe.
Some people say that toenail fungus can destroy the entire immune system because of the medicines people eat to cure it. However, if you consult your doctor in time and don’t let the situation become worse, you can save yourself from physical, mental, and emotional stress.