Causes and Solutions: Toenail Fungus
Fungal infections can happen to anyone and anywhere. Some people have fungal infections in their hair, organs or even toenails.
The most common fungal infection is seen in the toenails. A fungus is very common and everyone has it in their bodies, but when a fungus multiples and fungi begin to thrive, you may have a serious toenail infection.
Although it may appear to be ugly, it is harmless till it spreads to your bloodstream.
Most people treat toenail fungus because it looks bad and can be painful sometimes. It may even be a danger to your health if it reaches the bloodstream.
What is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail Fungus is also known as Onychomycosis. It is a fungal infection that can affect your toenails or fingernails.
Is Toenail Fungus Treatable?
Yes, Toenail Fungal Infections are highly treatable. However, they may return with time if the infection is not treated well.
There are many over-the-counter gels or topical creams that may treat swelling and soreness; however, they don’t cure the condition. It is important you detect the early signs of toenail fungus: discoloured toenail, pain or swelling in the nailbed.
Your doctor may prescribe some anti-fungal oral and topical medicines that can treat the infection. If the nail isn’t healing, the toenail may be removed as well.
Who is at risk of Toenail Fungus?
Toenail Fungus can affect anyone as it is a very common problem. As fungi already exist in everyone, there are a few causes that can cause them to thrive.
Hence, the people who are at more risk of Toenail Fungus Infection could be someone who has…
- A poor blood circulation
- Reached the age of 55 or 60 and beyond
- Has a nail injury
- A habit of wearing closed shoes
- Moist toenail or fingers
Such cases could worsen the symptoms and one should be more careful in such cases.
What are the different kinds of Toenail Fungus?
- 1. Yeast Infection
Candida albicans can infect children mostly with a weakened immune system. They can be infected in nails, mouth, hair or torso.
This infection is relatively rare in adults and can only happen because of genetic disorders or a weak immune system.
- 2. White Islands
The white spots are formed on toenails and fingernails. In this case, the fungi spreads in the toenails and thrives in the nailbed. This is the most common type of toenail fungus.
- 3. Distal Toenail Infection
In this type of fungus infection, the nail shifts from the nailbed and that allows the fungi to enter the skin tissue. This is usually caused by wearing tight or closed shoes.
- 4. Proximal Toenail Infection
This is only seen in people with a weak immune system. The fungus directly enters the nailbed and starts multiplying because the immunity doesn’t attack it well.
What kinds of Fungus can cause it?
There are usually three types of Fungus that can cause a toenail fungus infection. They are
- Yeast: A yeast infection is usually white.
- Mold: A mold can cause the nail to grow brownish.
- Dermatophyte: This infection makes the nail look yellowish.
How can one get rid of Toenail Fungus?
Toenail Fungus can be treated in multiple ways.
- 1. Over the Counter Treatments
Over the counter gets, creams, soaks, sprays, and oral medicines can work best when your toenail fungus is mild and has just begun.
You may use products containing Undecylenic Acid, Tolnaftate, Clotrimazole, Terbinafine, or Tea Tree Oil.
- 2. Essential Oils
Milder Toenail Fungus can be treated with the application of diluted essential oils. Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lavender, Cinnamon , Lemon or Lemon Grass Essential Oils can be used for topical treatment of Toenail Fungus.
- 3. Home Remedies
Some home remedies can be very effective in controlling the infection. These remedies can prevent the fungi from entering the tissue and spreading to the bloodstream.
Garlic, onion, ginger and lemon are the most common ingredients used in the treatment of toenail fungus.
- 4. Diet & Exercise
Toenail Fungus has a lot to do with your immune system or your body’s natural defense mechanism.
If you eat healthy foods and exercise well, there are chances your immunity raises and fights the fungi.
Science explains how our body’s soldiers (immunity) can destroy the thriving fungi within days if we have the right amount of them.
- 5. Nail Hygiene
Maintaining hygiene is very important. As fungi can grow and multiply easily in moist and humid environments, you have to take care your toenails excessively.
Trimming and shaping the toenails can reduce chances of fungi entering your skin and prevents spread of infection.
Should one surgically remove the Toenail affected by Fungus Infection?
Not everyone needs a surgical removal of the toenail fungus. Doctors try saving the nails as surgical removal of nails could be painful sometimes and it takes a long time for the nail to grow again.
However, when the infection is recurring or a severe one, there is risk of fungi entering other organs or damaging the entire foot. So it is essential for the nail to be removed.
The entire nail is not necessarily removed in all cases. The doctor may remove only the debridement (the affected part of the nail) when the fungus infection can be cut off.
And, in worst cases, the doctor may need to remove the entire nail (avulsion) to prevent its spread.
Studies to support how treatable Toenail Fungus is.
In a recent study conducted by NCBI, it has been proven how topical treatments are ineffective in most cases with severe infections.
Thu study however supports topical nail polishes: “Nail fungus can be treated topically (from the outside) with over-the-counter colorless nail polishes. They generally contain the ingredients amorolfine or ciclopirox.”
The treatment for a toenail fungus infection is highly possible with the correct combination of an oral antifungal drug and a topical nail polish containing the right drug for the right person.
The medicines should not be orally consumed for more than 6 weeks or there may be chances of damaging ones liver.
However common toenail fungus infection must be, it is very difficult to examine and diagnose it in the earlier stages.
Hence, most doctors advice you to check your toenail colour, thickness and texture every now and then. Trimming and soaking nails should be a part of everyone’s routine.
Although it is completely treatable, infections may reoccur and that’s why you need home remedies.
Following home remedies and taking care of your nails can save you from hassles. Afterall, that’s what pedicures are for!
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