Epidemiology Of Toenail Fungus
The occurrence of onychomycosis has been reported 23% across Europe and 20% in East Asia. In north America the statistics are found to be 14%, with fungal infections constituting the 50% of nail related diseases. Since this infection is contagious and can be transmitted directly or by using the belongings of an infected person, this serves as the reason for such wide spread rate of this infection.
Mayo Clinic Q And A: Treatment For Toenail Fungus Isnt Always Necessary
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am in my late 50s, and a few of my toenails have turned a yellowish color and seem to have thickened. Is this something I should be concerned about? Is there anything I can do to fix this?
ANSWER: What youre likely experiencing is a fungal nail infection. Fungal nail infections are common, especially among older adults. As nail growth slows with age, its easier for fungus to establish in the nail bed. Treatments are available, although they may take some vigilance and are not always necessary.
Toenail fungus usually is caused by a microscopic organism called dermatophyte fungus. It often begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. But as the infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. These fungal infections are more likely to happen in your toenails than in your fingernails because toenails often are confined in a dark, warm, moist environment, where fungi can thrive. Toes also have less blood flow than fingers, making it harder for your bodys immune system to detect and stop the infection. But it is possible for fingernails to be affected.
The older you are, the more likely you are to get toenailfungus. Thats because as you age, your immune system changes. Inaddition, your nails become more brittle and drier over time, creating morecracks where fungus can live.
Treatment Options For Nail Fungus
Most of my conversation is usually discussing medical therapy, so things that are available by prescription only. And those come in two main forms, which are topical antifungal medications, and then oral antifungal medications. There are other surgical or procedural options, so you can remove nails as well. And then there’s starting to be more interest in technologies like lasers for nail fungus.
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How To Use Them
A person interested in trying a blend of essential oils can buy the oils online or from a health food store. Mix the oil with a carrier oil before applying the mixture to the affected nails.
Ozonized oils are oils infused with ozone gas. Examples of oils that are available in ozonized form include sunflower oil and olive oil.
According to , ozonized oils show positive effects similar to a traditional medication called terbinafine cream in treating one type of fungus. In this study, the researchers used rabbits to test the effectiveness of the treatment.
Another study carried out on 400 people tested how ozonized oils affected fungal infections. In this 2011 study , researchers used ozonized sunflower oil to treat toenail fungus.
Their results indicated that ozonized oils cured up to 90.5 percent of the total infections with only a 2.8 percent relapse rate after 1 year. The researchers concluded the ozonized sunflower oil works more effectively than ketoconazole cream, which is an antifungal medication.
Kill Fungus Within Toenails
Cut and file your toenails to make them as short and thin as possible. This may help the bleach to penetrate the nail and kill the fungus.
Pour warm water into a bucket or basin that is large enough to accommodate the affected foot.
Add 1 tbsp. of bleach to the bucket or basin of warm water 1.
Soak the affected foot in the bleach solution daily. You may have to wait several weeks to see signs of improvement.
Wash your foot with a gentle, moisturizing soap and water that does not contain bleach. This may help to get rid of any bleach residue that could dry and irritate your foot.
Dry your foot thoroughly, including the area between your toes. Damp areas encourage fungal growth.
Your doctor may be able to offer medical treatment that will provide improvement faster or more reliably than home remedies. Consider seeing your doctor for help. Discontinue bleach-solution foot soaks if your skin becomes irritated. Alternatively, you might restrict your soaks to one a day or every other week to see whether that helps. Some people also use a solution of bleach and water to kill the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
Never mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar. Doing so will produce a dangerous chlorine gas. Do not apply undiluted bleach to your toenails. It may irritate the skin on your foot.
- Cut and file your toenails to make them as short and thin as possible.
- This may help to get rid of any bleach residue that could dry and irritate your foot.
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Signs And Symptoms Of A Fungal Nail Infection
A fungal nail infection may not cause any obvious symptoms at first.
As it progresses, the infection can cause:
- discolouration of the nail it may turn white, black, yellow or green
- thickening and distortion of the nail it may become an unusual shape or texture and be difficult to trim
- pain or discomfort particularly when using or placing pressure on the affected toe or finger
- brittle or crumbly nails pieces may break off and come away completely
Sometimes the skin nearby may also become infected and be itchy and cracked or red and swollen.
Risk Factors Associated With Toenail Fungus
Certain health conditions and lifestyle factors can make you increasingly vulnerable to developing nail fungus:
Health: You have a greater chance of contracting a fungal nail infection if you suffer from one or more of the following issues:
- Other fungal skin infections, such as athletes foot or ringworm
- Increasingly brittle, crumbly, or ragged nail
- Nail that appears warped or distorted in shape
- Nail that appears dull without any luster
- Dark color, caused by the accumulation of debris under your nail
- Slightly foul odor in the affected area
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Is It Nail Fungus Or Something Else
While a trained professional is the best source of diagnosing conditions, you can get a general idea of what type of situation you have based on the symptoms. Start by looking at your nails and nail bed.
If its a fungal infection, you might see yellow streaks. You might notice pieces of skin and fragments of the nail under the nail. The nail may be discolored and might . The nail itself might be brittle, broken, or thickened.
Several common nail conditions are commonly mistaken for nail fungus, however.
Because other problems share characteristics with fungal infections, your best bet is to consult a doctor to make sure it IS a toenail fungus infection and not something more serious.
The following are nail conditions that have similar symptoms to nail fungus.
What Is A Fungal Infection
Fungus, plural fungi is a class of organisms with over 144,000 known species. Fungus holds great importance for the environment and medical sector. Fungi are considered as one of the most widely distributed organisms worldwide Some are found free-living in soil or water others from parasitic or symbiotic relationships with plants or animals. Some common examples of fungi include Mushroom, mildews and mold. However, not all types of fungi are harmful but some can cause severe suffering for human beings and other living organisms.
Fungal infections are common all over the world and it only occurs when an invading fungus captures over the human body and the immune system of human is too weak to combat. Fungi are populated in our environment and are found flying freely in the atmosphere, they also divide and reproduce in the tiny spores that are present in the air. These fungi that are not visible to eh naked eye can enter into the human body through our respiratory system and can land inside to form a parasitic relationship within our lungs, throat, liver or any other hospitable part of the body causing a severe infection. In some cases, fungi also attack the intestines or the genital area of the human body causing severe hazard to health however, almost all the infection caused by fungus are curable with proper care and treatment.
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Toenail Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors
Toenail fungus is a fungal infection in the toenail. It happens when a fungus anything from mold to yeast to other types of fungus gets in the nail bed from a cut or break in the nail or repetitive trauma to the nail, and penetrates the nail itself, says Dr. Sundling. The nail then continues to grow with the fungus. Once a nail plate is infected with fungus, it will never not be infected, and you must wait to see how it grows out and whether the new nail growing behind it is healthy. The new nail rarely grows in healthy without treatment, says Sundling.
Toenail fungus is very common 14 percent of people have it in North America, according to an article published in the journal PLoS Pathogens and its more common the older you get, adds Sundling. Wearing shoes that are too small can damage the nail and make it more vulnerable to fungus, as can having a fungal infection on the skin of the foot and not treating it, which could expose the nail to fungus. You may be more at risk to toenail fungus if you have diabetes, or a weaker immune system.
What The Experts Say
The most common presentation of toenail fungus is a white/yellow discoloration of the nail that is thick and filled with yellow/white keratin debris. The more severe the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved makes it that much harder to treat the nails even with effective therapies.” Orit Markowitz, MD, founder and CEO of OptiSkin treatment center in New York City.
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Home Remedies For Nail Fungus
Treating nail fungus doesnt have to mean relying on a doctors prescription. Instead, patients can take control of their health with these easy home remedies for toenail fungus.
This pantry staple can help cure nail fungus and is also a wonderful home remedy for foot rot when applied topically or taken internally.
Apple Cider Vinegar Antifungal Recipe
- 1 part apple cider vinegar
- 1 part Epsom salts
Laser Procedure For Toenail Fungus Under The Nails
Using a laser directly on the toenails helps to reach those areas underneath and inside the nail. This is because the type of light used can penetrate through the tough layers of the nails. Laser procedures are very convenient because they can be completed in under 10 minutes per foot.
The PinPointe foot laser is FDA-approved for the temporary increase of clear nail in patients with onychomycosis.
This machine can be used on almost all patients because it has virtually no side effects. In one study, over 83% of people who received three sessions with a laser and improved their foot hygiene had no fungi after 18-months.
Some people start to see visible improvement after just one visit, although you may need to return a small number of times for follow-up.
The laser works by targeting the fungi without hurting your skin and nails. Its designed to be at the right level to penetrate your nail and damage the infecting fungi, while not being too high to cause burning or pain for your feet. Most people dont feel anything, or they just feel a warming sensation.
At the time of the procedure, the toenail will usually not become instantly clearit takes time to grow out. As long as your infection is treated and you dont get re-infected, you should see new healthy, clear nail as it grows out within 12-18 months.
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How To Stop The Reoccurrence Of Toenail Fungus
Below are some pointers thatll help you avoid the resurge of toenail fungus in the near future.
- Never leave your toes wet in any circumstances. Dry them immediately.
- Dont forget to carry flip-flops or shower sandals every time you visit public showers, spas, gyms, locker rooms, and changing rooms near swimming pools.
- Avoid wearing sweaty socks and dirty shoes.
- Dont share your personal belongings with anyone as its a highly contagious disease.
- Give your toenails some extra TLC by trimming and filing them often.
- Carry only good-quality shoes that are comfortable and have a breathing room.
- Always use sanitized nail styling equipment and instruct the same to the salon team as well.
- Keep your shoes under direct sunlight regularly for a couple of hours to kill infection-causing microbes.
- Clean your toes with anti-fungal soap and pat dry daily.
Toenail fungal infection is a bothersome condition that needs to be addressed immediately as it not only ruins nails appearance but is freaking painful. Dont fret you can easily manage this issue with betadine.
How Is Toenail Fungus Treated
Toenail fungus is notoriously tricky to treat. You may need to treat the condition for several months to get rid of the fungus. Still, toenail fungus often comes back.
A dermatologist or podiatrist can explain your treatment options. If you have a mild case that doesnt bother you, your provider may recommend no treatment.
Toenail fungus treatment options include:
- Oral antifungal medication: You take prescribed medication, such terbinafine , itraconazole and fluconazole , to treat the fungi. You will need to take this medication every day for several months . Your provider may use blood tests to check for potential medication side effects. These medications can affect the liver and interact with other medications, so oral antifungals are not for everyone.
- Topical medication: You regularly apply a medication right on the nail. The medication treats the fungi over time. Topical medications are most effective when paired with oral medications.
- Laser treatments: Your provider directs a high-tech laser beam and special lights at the toenail to treat the fungus. Lasers are FDA approved for temporary increase of clear nail in nail fungus but is not a cure. Cure rates for laser treatment are lower than oral and topical mediations so they are not typically used as first line treatments for nail fungus.
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Combination Of Vinegar And Hydrogen Peroxide For Nail Fungus
Apart from using hydrogen peroxide for nail fungus treatment, you can also use essential oils one of which is the coconut oil. Coconut oil is a carrier oil with myriads of benefits. It has abundant antioxidant and antifungal properties. Coconut oil relieves the pain associated with nail fungus, destroys the fungus, and a new healthy nail will replace the infected one. This oil can be used both topically and internally without any side effects. When using coconut oil for treating nail fungus, especially internal usage, it is imperative to get one that is organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed, as well as 100% pure.
Treating nail fungus with coconut oil
how to use baking soda to kill nail fungus
How Do Dermatologists Treat A Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.
To completely get rid of the infection, most people also need one or more of the following treatments:
Medicine you apply to the nail: If you have a mild infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in four to six months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months.
Probably the most difficult part of this treatment is remembering to use it as often as prescribed. Some treatments must be applied every day. Others you apply once a week. To get the best results, its essential that you apply these medicines exactly as directed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following medicines that you apply to the nail to treat nail fungus:
Side effects from these medicines are generally mild. Possible side effects include redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when you apply the medicine. In clinical trials, none of these side effects caused patients to stop using the treatment.
The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines to treat nail fungus:
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