Complications: What If The Infection Is Left Untreated
If the nail fungus spreads deeper into the nail bed, it will cause the nail to thicken and turn green, yellow, brown, or black. As the infection progresses, the infected nail becomes brittle and pieces of it will start to break off from the toe or finger completely. Should the condition be left untreated, it can spread to other nails or cause skin around the infected nail to become inflamed. In more advanced stages, a foul smell may develop and white or yellow patches may be seen on the exposed nail bed. Over time, severe fungal nail infections can cause permanent damage to the nail root or nail bed.
It can be quite embarrassing to have this condition since this is an infection thats hard to hide. People with Onychomycosis may also find it difficult or painful to wear shoes, walk, or stand for long periods of time if their toenails have been infected severely.
What Oral Medications Are Available
To treat fungal nail infections from inside the body, you can take tablets that inhibit the growth of fungi or kill them. They are all prescription-only. Terbinafine and itraconazole are typically used for this purpose.
- Terbinafine is preferred if the nail fungus is caused by a skin fungus . This is usually the case.
- Itraconazole is generally used if the nail infection is caused by yeast or mold.
Itraconazole and terbinafine tablets can both be taken either continuously or with breaks between treatments. But they are used differently:
Signs And Symptoms Of Foot Fungus
Itchy skin is an early sign of foot fungus, or scaly, peeling skin, or tiny blisters on the skin that will pop at times, says Sundling. The skin tends to break out in the shape of a moccasin, or the area of the foot that a moccasin would cover. You dont see foot fungus on the top of the foot very often. Its common to get a fungal infection between the toes as well, she adds.
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Remedies To Fight Toenail Fungus At Home
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is perhaps one of the most common nail disorders. It is a fungal infection that penetrates through chinks in your toenail, cuts in the surrounding skin, or the separation between the nail and the toe, and affects the material below the toenail.
The fungus tends to thrive in certain conditions, such as abnormal body pH, a weakened immune system, continuous exposure to a moist environment including sweaty shoes and socks, poor hygiene, and diabetes.
As embarrassing as this condition may be, simply camouflaging your unsightly toenail, such as painting your nails, without tending to it properly would do you more harm than good. If the infection goes untreated long enough, it could spread to the adjoining skin, to the other toenails, and even perhaps to your fingernails.
Best Soak: Purely Northwest Tea Tree Oil Foot & Body Soak
Relaxes muscles with Epsom and sea salts
Essential oils may be potential allergens
If youre looking for an all-natural route to treat toenail fungus, then this foot soak could be for you. Not only is a foot soak a relaxing way to end your day, but the ingredients used in Purely Northwests soak include Epsom salt, sea salt, tea tree oil, and other oils. These ingredients soothe the skin while addressing foot and toenail fungus.
The combined ingredients work to dry out the fungus to prevent it from spreading. Benefits of the soak also include healing cracked feet and soothing aches.
This US-made product has no dyes or synthetic fragrances, making it a great all-natural solution. But results, depending on severity, might take longer to show when using the soak over prescription or over-the-counter treatments.
Active Ingredients: Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt, MSM, and Therapeutic-grade essential oils | Dose: Add 1.5 tablespoons of foot soak mix for every gallon of water. Mix with hands until the salt dissolved. Add additional salts for a more stronger or aromatic foot bath. Soak your feet for About 15-20 minutes. | Uses: Treats fungus all over feet eliminates food odor and aches
Great for athletes and gym goers
Cleanses and deodorizes
Also treats acne, candida, and rashes
Fragrant oils may be overwhelming
Tea tree and lavender sooth skin
Money back guarantee
Results can take several weeks
Only for toe and fingernail fungus
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How Do I Get Rid Of My Nail Fungus
Nail fungus is a fungal infection of the nails that can cause brittle and thickened nails. The first sign of nail fungus is that the surface where the nail is cut becomes fringed. The nail bends and the sides begin to penetrate the toe. It is usually a thread fungus, but yeast and mold can also be behind it. According to Netdoktor, it can also be confused with so-called psoriasis nails.
What About Bleach Baths
Bleach baths are an approach dermatologists may recommend for treating skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and recurrent Staphylococcus infections on the skin. These involve mixing a very small amount of bleach in bath water typically a half cup of bleach to a full-sized bathtub of water.
While its true that bleach baths may temporarily kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses, the effects arent long-lasting and arent likely to treat an existing toenail fungal infection.
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About Fungal Nail Infection
Many people develop a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. It’s not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and difficult to treat.
The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted.
Toenails are more frequently affected than the fingernails.
The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.
Soak In Listerine And White Vinegar
The combination of Listerines antifungal ingredients and vinegars acidity makes an inhospitable environment for fungi. This treatment is effective for green nails which may have whats called atypical organisms, says Dr. Goldenberg. If you have true toenail fungus, its less likely to work, though.
How to use it: Combine the two in equal portions and soak your toes in the solution, ideally for 45 to 60 minutes daily.
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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 The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus is common, its usually not harmful. Symptoms mostly affect the look of your toenail.
Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread.
Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesnt always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns. Discuss the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus with your provider to determine whats best for you.
Practicing good hygiene and foot care reduces the chance toenail fungus will come back. If you have diabetes, getting regular foot exams may help you address foot problems before they get serious.
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How To Treat Toenail Fungus
Despite what you may hear, covering your infection with nail polish or artificial nails will not get rid of toenail fungus, says the AAD.
There are a few different ways to get rid of toenail fungus, whether youre looking for home remedies or stronger prescribed treatments. Just know this, per Dr. Goldenberg: Treating toenail fungus is extremely difficult.
But the earlier you treat the nail infection, the more likely you are to cure it, explains, Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York Citybased board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Treatment can take several months, even up to a year, as you need to wait for healthy nail to grow out, which is a slow process, he says.
If you prefer to go the natural route first, these are the home remedies worth tryingplus, stronger prescription options to ask about if the infection persists. It usually takes three months of treatment to cure a toenail fungal infection.
How Do I Know If I Have A Fungal Nail Infection
Because other infections can affect the nail and mimic symptoms of a fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see a doctor. Theyll take a scraping of the nail and look under a microscope for signs of fungus.
In some cases, your doctor may send the sample to a lab for analysis and identification.
Over-the-counter products arent usually recommended to treat nail infections since they dont provide reliable results. Instead, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, such as:
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Treating Nail Fungus With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a light blue chemical that is an essential part of every household and is increasingly becoming a go-to solution for all sorts of problems.
It started as a mere house cleaning supply but is now being used for extensive purposes, including hair-bleaching, drain unclogging, teeth whitening, and nail and foot treatment.
According to Cleveland Clinic, nail fungus accounts for 50% of all nail issues and affects 1 in every ten people. Therefore, there is a high chance that you are scouring through this guide in search of a nail fungus solution.
Whats alarming is that toenail fungus is contagious, which means there is a high likelihood of you affecting a family member or friend. Therefore, we recommend that you jump right onto the hydrogen peroxide treatments to avoid any more troubles.
When To Refer To Podiatry
Before initiating topical or oral therapy, patients should ideally be referred to a podiatrist for nail trimming and debridement. This assists with removing as much fungus as possible and improves topical drug penetration. Debridement alone cannot be recommended for the treatment of OM patients using a combination of debridement and topical nail lacquer have shown a significant improvement in mycological cure compared with debridement only. Patients with nail trauma owing to footwear, dystrophic toenails affecting other toes or who describe discomfort when walking owing to thickened toenails should also be referred.
When there is treatment failure with topical, oral and combination therapies, a podiatrist may be able to carry out a chemical or surgical nail avulsion .
If there is doubt over the original diagnosis, or where no improvement has been seen with treatment, pharmacists should refer patients to a podiatrist or their GP.
Supported by RB
RB provided financial support in the production of this content.
The authors were paid by The Pharmaceutical Journal to write this article and full editorial control was maintained by the journal at all times.
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What Causes Fungal Nails And What Are Some Of The Risk Factors
In normal, healthy people, fungal infections of the nails are most commonly caused by fungus that is caught from moist, wet areas. Communal showers, such as those at a gym or swimming pools, are common sources. Going to nail salons that use inadequate sanitization of instruments in addition to living with family members who have fungal nails are also risk factors. Athletes have been proven to be more susceptible to nail fungus. This is presumed to be due to the wearing of tight-fitting, sweaty shoes associated with repetitive trauma to the toenails. Having athlete’s foot makes it more likely that the fungus will infect your toenails. Repetitive trauma also weakens the nail, which makes the nail more susceptible to fungal infection.
Elderly people and people with certain underlying disease states are also at higher risk. Anything that impairs your immune system can make you prone to getting infected with the fungus. These include conditions such as AIDS, diabetes, cancer, psoriasis, or taking any immunosuppressive medications like steroids.
What Worked For You
This content is accurate and true to the best of the authors knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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Home Remedies For Nail Fungus: Summary
Follow the directions on the bottle.
When to Call a Doctor
If home remedies aren’t working, it may be time for a second opinion. If you notice your nail turning brown or black and you are experiencing more pain, you should call your doctor. As mentioned previously, people with diabetes are particularly at risk and should get any infection checked out immediately.
How Fungi Infect The Nail
Onchomycosis, or toenail fungal infection, is an invasion by a microscopic organism that thrives in warm, damp environments. Fungal spores are in the air, and they will grow if they land on a receptive surface like your toenail. They feed off the nail tissues, burrowing into the skin under the nail. Over time the nail thickens and may lift off the nail bed as fungal debris accumulates. Once your nail is raised off the nail bed, it won’t reattach, and a new nail won’t grow from that part of the nail bed. However, your nail will continue to grow from the root at the base.
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How To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus
By Joan Clark
A lot of people take their feet for granted and tend to neglect them. Foot health is a part of overall health, however. Cracked, yellowing, or discolored toenails do more than just affect your ability to wear flip flops it may be the result of a nail fungus. Onychomycosis more commonly referred to as toenail fungus can cause nails to thicken, yellow, and crack, as well as cause pain, swelling, and inflammation of the toe.
And while fungal toenail infection may not be life-threatening, youll still realize the importance of your feet. You might feel self-conscious about the appearance of your toes, or you might have a symptom of a larger problem .
Whatever the case, youre better off avoiding a fungus infection. Or, if you already have one, here are a few ways for how to get rid of toenail fungus.
- Closed-toe shoes
While fingernail infections can occur, toenail fungus infections are much more widespread, because of the conditions of the hands versus the feet.
A particular fungus known as dermatophyte yeast causes fungal infections. The fungi typically live and thrive in warm, moist environments such as pools and showers because shoes recreate these conditions, toenails are at a much higher risk for developing fungus.
Best Medicated Nail Polish: Arishine Toenail Fungus Treatment
Treats discoloration, brittleness, and cracked nails
Easy, on-the-go treatment
Only works on nail plates
Treatment process can be slow
The Arishine Toenail Treatment has the design and convenience of a pencil. Perfect for storing in a bag or pocket while at work, the repair pencil allows you to use a paintable nail polish on your infected toenail three times a day with ease to treat a nail fungal issue.
The Arishine treatment uses two percent deacetylated chitin, three percent O-hydroxybenzoic acid, and Angelica dahurica as active ingredients to get rid of fungus and heal the damage. This solution can help treat discoloration, brittleness, split, rough, and cracked nails. Ultimately, this medicated nail polish can lead to stronger and healthier nails.
Arishine is made of natural ingredients and does not conduct animal testing. Treatment requires three applications a day and should be used for four to 12 weeks, although improvement may be visible in as few as two weeks. Arishine offers customers a satisfaction guarantee.
Active Ingredients: Deacetylated chitin , O-hydroxybenzoic acid , and Angelica dahurica | Dose: Applicator automatically delivers correct amount with two to three clicks. Apply around nail on cuticles and under nail bed. | Uses: Treats fungus infection on and around nails helps heal discolored, brittle nails
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Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications
Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.
Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.