Affects Ears Fingers Nails Toes And Genitals
Fungal infections are some of the most common infections, affecting various parts of the body like, ears, fingers, nails, toes, genitals etc. Nail fungus is one such infection.
Onychomycosis is the name of the type of fungus that causes infection on nails both toenails and fingernails. This infection takes time to develop so you might not notice is initially.
Fungi are always present in your body alongside bacteria. The nail becomes infected when there is an overgrowth of fungus on or under the nail.
This infection is communicable and can spread via direct or indirect contact. For example, if you borrow an infected persons shoes or gloves, you too might catch the infection.
The fungus develops in warm, moist environment. This is why it usually affects toenails rather than fingernails as your feet are mostly covered while you wear shoes which provide the fungus an ideal environment to grow.
Causes and Risk Factors for Nail Fungus
Living or working in a hot, humid environment
Constantly covered feet
Diabetic patients, who have reduced blood circulation in their feet
Direct contact with someone who has nail fungus
Minor cuts or injuries around the nail
Using communal showers or public swimming pools
Sweating a lot, especially in your feet and on your hands
A weak immune system
Medications used to treat toenail fungus include terbinafine and itraconazole . Laser treatment is also available but it is expensive and doesnt guarantee results.
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Treatment For Fungal Infection
Once you get a fungal infection, treating it will be difficult, costly, and wont easily go away.
Once you notice an occurring fungal infection, immediately consult your doctor. A long overdue fungal infection will lead to complete nail removal.
It will take up months to a year to treat nail fungal infection. So to prevent this from happening, practice hygiene, and take precautions.
Tips On Preventing Nail Infections
- Clip a ripped hangnail with a sanitized nail trimmer.
- When washing your hands, include scrubbing the underside of your nails with water and soap.
- Regularly trim your nails and keep them short.
- When going to nail salons, make sure that grooming tools have been sterilized.
- Disinfect your grooming tools after use.
- Do not chew or bite your nails.
- Cuticles are your nails barrier from infection avoid cutting them.
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Is It Possible To Prevent The Recurrence Of Nail Fungus
Tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot or foot fungus, can cause recurrence of fungal nails. Therefore, it is important to manage this condition. One can apply over-the-counter antifungal medicines such as clotrimazole or terbinafine cream as directed to affected skin. Keeping footwear and socks clean can be helpful. You can also use portable UV light sanitizers to disinfect shoes.
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Fungal Infections Of The Skin Around The Nail
An infection of the skin around the nail is called a paronychia. These can be due to bacteria or due to fungus. Often, after a bacterial infection has caused the body’s defenses to be disrupted, the normal fungus on our skin invades the tissues. Simple treatment may cure the bacterial infection, but the fungal infection persists, as it is much more difficult to treat. Anti-fungal pills can be tried, but sometimes does not work. At time, we are forced to try another approach, surgical removal of some of the infected tissue. This procedure is called a marsupilization.
This is the case of a 39 year old veterinarian who had a chronic fungal infection for eight years. It was caused, in part, by needing to get her hands contaminated and wash them many times a day. Oral medication did not work. She had pain in her fingertip as well as the deformity of the nail margin .
|She had surgery to remove the infected skin, and the wound was left open to heal by itself . The skin healed and closed in two weeks. The image on the right is from six months later, showing that the infection did not return and the nail fold grew to almost normal.|
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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Fungus Infections Of The Fingernail
The fingertip is a highly specialized structure, with many highly-evolved features.
The illustration above shows the anatomy of the fingertip. There are also additional specialized tissues just around the nail, in order to help fight nail fungus infections. In terms of evolution, this should make sense. Originally, nails were claws, and animals would get dirt forced under and around their claws as they dug, fought, etc. The nail area developed many specialized defenses against the invasion of bacteria and fungus.
Nail bed infections usually start when there is some breakdown in the body’s defenses, such as an immune system illness, fingertip crush, nail fold laceration, etc. The fungus may get a start because of a bacterial infection.
The fungus, typically caused by a species of Trichophyton fungus, feeds on keratin, the protective outer layer of nails, hair and skin. If the fungus gets some advantage over our fingertip defenses, it may start growing on the keratin of the skin under the nail plate . There is a buildup of organic waste material and the body can react with over-production of keratin, both of which forces the nail to separate from the nail bed. This causes the typical yellow color under the nail and partial nail separation. It can also result in the thickened, distorted nail plate. Sometime the soft tissues around the nail will be just a bit red and tender.
Eventually, the entire nail separates, resulting in partially destroyed, yellow nail.
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus
The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.
Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.
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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.
Nail Salons And Hygiene
Many salons use UV lamps to dry nail polish. Prolonged exposure to UV light can cause skin cancer, but the risk depends on the frequency of your exposure. At nail salons, you are also exposed to a variety of chemicals, such as acetone in potent nail polish remover.
As with UV light, if your exposure over time is limited, your risk of developing chemical-related health problems is low. However, continual exposure to the chemicals and fumes at a nail salon can result in headaches, difficulty breathing, and rashes.
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How Nail Fungus Occur With Artificial Acrylic Nails
Artificial acrylic nails are attached to the natural nails by gluing them with nail glue. There are some possible circumstances wherein nail fungus may grow in between the natural and artificial nails, causing the natural nails to change color, thicken, or rip.
- Nail fungus may occur in between the natural nail and the artificial one if these artificial nails are left on for more than three months. These nails are more prone to nail fungus when left on in humid, moist environment.
- Nail fungus may also grow because you re-glue an artificial nail that is detached from the natural one without firstly cleaning the gap. Causal fungus that is trapped between in the nail glue will grow and multiply, causing damages to your natural nails that may result in darkened or pitted natural nails.
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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What Are Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Do you need to treat your nail fungus? Maybe it doesnât hurt, and the yellow, thick nails donât bother you.
But nail fungus doesnât go away by itself. And if you donât treat it, thereâs a chance it could get worse. It could spread to other nails or through your body. It could cause pain when you walk.
There are a number of ways to take care of it, including:
Nonprescription options. You can buy antifungal creams, gels, and nail polish at the store and online without a prescription. You might want to try one of them first if the infection doesnât look bad. Some people also swear by home remedies like menthol rub, tea tree oil, mouthwash, or snakeroot extract â but studies show mixed results.
Prescription polish and creams. Your foot doctor will likely trim your nail and file away its dead layers. They may also take a piece of your nail and send it to the lab to make sure itÃ¢s really a fungus and to find out what type it is.
The doctor might suggest an antifungal drug that you paint on your nails. This may work on its own, or they may suggest you take it with antifungal pills.
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.
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What Causes A Fungal Nail Infection
Fungal nail infection is caused by three main classes of organisms: fungi that infect hair, skin, and nails and feed on nail tissue , yeasts, and non-dermatophyte molds. All three classes cause the very similar early and chronic symptoms or appearances, so the visual appearance of the infection may not reveal which class is responsible for the infection. Dermatophytes are, by far, the most common causes of fungal nail infection worldwide. Yeasts cause 8% of infections, and non-dermatophyte molds cause 2% of fungal nail infections.
- The dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum is the most common fungus causing distal lateral subungual onychomycosis and proximal subungual onychomycosis .
- The dermatophyte Trichophyton mentagrophytes commonly causes white superficial onychomycosis , and more rarely, WSO can be caused by species of non-dermatophyte molds.
- The yeast Candida albicans is the most common cause of chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis of the nail.
There Is A Wide Range Of Options With Varying Success Rates
Other than keeping your toenails trimmed and perhaps painted, you may not pay much attention to them unless a problem develops. Healthy toenails are pink, shiny and smooth, but a fungal infection can cause them to become discolored, thick, brittle and even painful.
Toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is a common but challenging condition toenail fungus treatments include a wide range of options with varying success rates.
Causes of toenail fungus
Fungal nail infections are usually caused by fungi called dermatophytes that infect the skin beneath the nail yeast is another common culprit. Toenails are especially vulnerable to infection when your bare feet contact damp surfaces such as showers, swimming pools and locker rooms. If you have athletes foot, the infection can spread to the nails.
Wearing closed shoes such as athletic shoes for extended periods also can contribute to infection if your shoes and/or socks are damp from perspiration or heat. Moreover, if your shoes fit snugly enough to put pressure on your toes, they can damage the nail bed, making it more susceptible to infection.
People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or circulatory problems, also may be more prone to toenail infections.
Symptoms of toenail fungus
Toenail fungus symptoms can develop slowly over time and may go unnoticed at first. Symptoms can include:
Toenail fungus treatments
When to see a doctor for toenail fungus
Preventing toenail fungus
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Home Remedies For Fingernail Fungus Infection Best Natural Treatments:
Fingernail fungus could be downright terrifying so that people not only have to see but also experience the awful symptoms, causing uncomfort to patients. Scientifically called tinea unguium oronychomycosis, fingernail fungus is a relatively popular as far as nail infection that many people are concerning about. Some of the trigger factors that lead to fingernail fungus are included but not limited to former nail injuries, abundant perspiration, genetics, and several health diseases and problems I personally had my friend and family member who used to suffer from fingernail fungus simply because they did not wear gloves while using harsh cleaning products. Trust me, it was really terrible. The situation can turn to be painful, embarrassing, and all-around nasty rapidly. Thus, you will need to take extra care while treating this problem. I know that this is a very popular issue for individuals, so I have decided to collect information and combine the best home remedies for fingernail fungus infection in an only list that can definitely help you save a lot of money and efforts spending on a laser therapy to deal with fingernail fungus. Women should not forget that acrylic nail is also well-known to cause high risks of developing fingernail fungus. Just with a simple google image search, you will find out several pictures that will surely make you re-think about whether or not you should use artificial nails.
Staying One Step Ahead Of Toenail Fungus
An established fungal infection is hard to eradicate, but you can stop its spread and improve your toenail’s appearance.
Toenail fungus isn’t a pressing health problem. Yet a fungal infection can ruin the appearance of your nails and cause pain as it lifts the nail away from the nail bed. And fungal infections are notoriously difficult to get rid of. “You may want to consider fungal toenail a condition to be managed rather than cured,” says Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
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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: