How Candida Becomes A Whole
Now you may be wondering, how does Candida become a fungal infection? Pathogenic fungi such as Candida have evolved to survive in a human host through morphogenesis, meaning they can change their cell shape and size.8
Candida in particular changes from a rounded cell to an elongated hyphal cell. These elongated hyphal cells can then permeate your gut lining, leading the gut to become leaky. A leaky gut allows the yeast to escape your gut via your bloodstream and colonize other areas of your body, including your toenails and fingernails.
This is how Candida can quickly escalate from a gut issue to a whole-body problem, and why it can be so difficult to pinpoint, as it can affect everything from your brain to your skin.
Its also why I so often see Candida overgrowth in my autoimmune patients. Candida causes leaky gut, which then leads to autoimmune disease. Thats another major reason why its key to correctly identify Candida as the underlying cause of your fungal infection so that you can pursue natural nail fungus treatments before it leads to more serious health conditions.
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If you suspect your nails are infected with fungus, it is important to see a doctor. You should consult a doctor for treatment. A nail fungus can be treated with home remedies. Baking soda and vinegar can also help to eliminate the fungus. In some cases, you can even apply a diluted solution of one of these solutions. You should avoid touching the affected area as it may cause further complications.
How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus
Theres no way to guarantee you wont get toenail fungus. But you can take several steps to help prevent it:
- Avoid going barefoot in communal areas such as public showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. Most people pick up fungus in these situations. It helps to wear flip flops in these public areas.
- If you have a family member with foot fungus or nail fungus, try to use a different shower or wear flip flops in the shower to avoid coming in contact with it.
- Trauma due to accidental or aggressive clipping of the nails can turn into portals of entry for the fungus.
- Clean your nail trimmer before using it.
- Dont tear or rip your toenails on purpose.
- If you have diabetes, follow all foot care recommendations from your healthcare provider.
- Keep your feet dry. Make sure to fully dry your feet after a shower.
- Soak toenails in warm water before cutting them. Or you can cut your nails after a shower or bath.
- Trim toenails straight across .
- Wear shoes that fit correctly. They shouldnt be too loose or tight around the toes.
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How Fungal Nail Infections Start
So why did you get the fungal nail infection but your gym buddy didnt or why is only one nail currently infected but not the rest? A fungal nail infection starts when a spore comes in contact with your toenail and is able to invade the nail through an opening like if your nail is injured or damaged. After the fungus takes hold, it feeds on the keratin that your nails are composed of, causing changes to the appearance and colour of the nail. The infection can also cause a mild inflammatory response which can lift the nail and trap more fungus, spores and bacteria beneath, making effective treatment even more difficult especially if youre only using a surface-level cream or ointment.
You are more vulnerable to an infection taking hold if you have a compromised immune system, are pregnant, are older, have medical conditions like diabetes or circulatory problems or have Athletes foot. While this may explain why some people may start growing the infection faster than others, it can only take a stubbed toe or some slight damage to the nail from not being careful when trimming the nail or getting a pedicure to skyrocket your risk.
When To See A Doctor About Toenail Fungus
If you are experiencing persistent toenail fungus or pain is present, you may need to see a specialist. A dermatologist or podiatrist may be able to assess your symptoms and send a small sample of the affected toenail or flesh to a laboratory to be analyzed as there are various types of fungi and yeasts that cause onychomycosis. Knowing the specific cause of your foot fungus can help identify what route to take to treat your condition.
Nail changes can also be caused by underlying conditions, like psoriasis and diabetes, so its important to seek professional medical advice if your condition persists or worsens. Bacterial and fungal infection of skin in diabetes patients often result in hospital admissions, and in severe cases, can result in amputations. If you are at a higher risk for infection, you should skip home remedies and seek professional medical treatment.
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What Else Causes Toenail Discoloration
Other microorganisms including bacteria can infect the nails. Chloronychia, or green-nail syndrome, is one notable example with these bacteria thriving in damp or wet conditions. Knowing the cause of your infection helps determine the best course of treatment. Again, its common for doctors to order lab testing. The dark discoloration can also be a secondary effect of fungal infection in which a misshapen toenail creates a space to harbor dirt and debris and spread the fungal infection to the entire toe.
Dark discoloration can also be a sign of physical trauma to the toe, either as a bruise or as dried blood thats trapped under the nail. Physical trauma that doesnt cause the blood vessels to break may result in white lines or streaks. Keep in mind, too, that the toes are an extremity that may not be as sensitive to pain as other parts of the body. Its possible, especially if you dont look at your toes on a regular basis, that toe discoloration is caused by physical trauma that the person has forgotten about or was unaware of.
The Lamisil Terbinafine Antifungal Cream Treats Fungus All Over The Body
Sarah is a freelance writer with a focus on health and wellness. She has written for publications like Women’s Health, Healthline, and Parents. She taught creative writing for five years, and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Southern Connecticut State University.
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Verywell Health / Peter Ardito
Toenail fungus is a common fungal condition that often starts after a rash on the foot spreads to the nails. When mild, it looks like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. If left untreated, the fungus can grow severely by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.
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How Did I Get Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus typically enters your body through a crack in your nail, a tiny cut in the skin of your toe, or a gap between your nail and skin. Fungi are very common in damp and moist areas like pools or showers, so you may easily get nail fungus if you dont wear shoes in such environments.
You can also contract a fungal nail infection if you perspire a lot but don’t change your socks and shoes frequently. It’s possible to get nail fungus from shared nail clippers, socks, or towels, as well.
Some things can leave you more vulnerable to infection, including foot trauma, chronic disease like diabetes, or chronic foot infections like athletes foot.
See A Dermatologist To Pinpoint The Problem
Foot fungus wont just go away on its own, Dr. Ng says. If you think you have foot or toenail fungus, see your dermatologist, she says. There are several tests that your dermatologist can perform to identify exactly whats going on.
Its important to be aware that there are other diseases which can cause nail changes, she says. For example, we do see things like squamous cell skin cancers in the nail beds and even melanomas, which have a brownish or blackish discoloration.
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Is Toenail Fungus Contagious
Yes, to some extent. Most fungal infections require the right environment to take hold and begin to spread, and there are trace amounts of fungal spores in most places. However, coming into contact with a fungal infection or handling items that have been in contact with the fungus can increase the chances of getting an infection. Likewise, its advisable that you stop wearing old shoes and wash your socks once the infection is gone to reduce your chances of getting a new infection.
Athletes Foot is any dermatophyte fungus that occurs in the skin between the toes. In some cases, a fungal infection can spread among the toes and the skin between the toes. A weakened immune system and other complicating conditions may also increase your risk of getting toenail fungus and having it spread to other nails.
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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Fungal Nail Infections Are Contagious
If you have nail fungus. you may be wondering where you contracted it. First things first youre not alone. Fungal nail infections have been shown to affect up 23% of people. The reason for such a high prevalence is the ease with which fungal nail infections can spread from one person to another under the right circumstances.
Fungal nail infections spread through fungal spores. Think of these like little dandelion seeds they can move both through the air and through direct contact when the spores are present on communal surfaces. As fungal spores are invisible to the naked eye, any shared floor or object can put you at risk though warm, moist and dark environments are where fungus thrives. If you frequent public swimming pools, gym changing rooms, public showers, and other such areas this may be your answer. If you then wear hot, enclosed shoes or sweaty socks, you may then be further fuelling the fungus and accelerating its spread.
Around your home, your showers, bathrooms, floors around the house, and swimming pool areas are where your family are most at risk of contracting your fungus. Your spouse is also at risk when sharing bed sheets, socks and shoes. As fungal spores can stay dormant but viable for up to three months in their favoured environments, your family may still remain vulnerable long after youve started covering up your feet or taking other protective measures.
Risk Factors For Nail Fungal Infections
Toenail fungal infections are more common than fingernail fungal infections. And, while anyone is a potential candidate for toenail fungus, its most common in older adults. As we age, blood flow is reduced, which slows nail growth. This could result in dry and brittle nails that crack, creating an entry point for fungi.
You may also be more prone to onychomycosis if you:
- Have a history of athletes foot
- Sweat profusely, creating a breeding ground for fungus
- Walk barefoot in warm, damp areas that others use, such as gym showers and swimming pools where fungi can live
- Have nail or skin injuries or conditions that cause changes that allow the fungus to enter the nail bed
- Have diabetes or circulation problems that impact your immune response and nail health
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How To Use Baking Soda For Toenail Fungus
Most people will tell you that toenail fungus shouldn’t be ignored. The condition is primarily esthetic, but if left untreated, it can lead to some nasty complications.
Things get even more complicated when you realize that fungus has high adaptability. It thrives in a humid environment, and given that our feet are often sweaty, you can easily see why some people deal with this condition for months and months.
But, this is just the beginning of our troubles. It is tough to treat the condition, which is why some people opt for alternative treatments, such as using baking soda for toenail fungus.
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.
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Toenail Fungus Prescription Medication Treatments
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 antifungal medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus. Some topical treatments require you to file down the surface of the nail to help the treatment get through to the nail bed. If your healthcare provider prescribes a topical medication, follow the instructions carefully for application and removal.
When To See Your Doctor About Nail Infections
A mild case of onychomycosis may not be bothersome or require treatment. But as the condition worsens, you may experience:
- Thickened nails
- Discoloration, often yellow-brown or whitish coloring
- Change in nail texture, such as brittle or crumbling nails
- Change in the shape of your nailbed
- Odor ranging from mild to foul
If you notice any of these symptoms, you can try remedies such as:
- Over-the-counter products: Several antifungals are available without a prescription. File your nails then soak them in warm water. Dry the nail thoroughly before applying the medicated creams or ointments.
- Nail grooming: Keeping your nails trimmed can reduce pain and pressure from debris and nail buildup.
If the condition worsens, reach out to your primary care doctor or a dermatologist. To diagnose nail fungus, your doctor likely will take a sample of debris, nail or surrounding skin and send it to a laboratory.
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How To Get Rid Of Toe Fungus
This article was co-authored by . Dr. Mark Co is a Podiatrist who runs his own private practice in San Francisco, California. Dr. Co specializes in treatments for bunions, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, warts, plantar fasciitis and other causes of foot pain. He also offers custom orthotics for the treatment and prevention of foot and ankle issues. Dr. Co completed a Master of Business Administration at New York University and an MA in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Co also completed his DPM at the California School of Podiatric Medicine and a residency and internship at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Santa Clara, California. Dr. Co was awarded San Francisco’s “Top 3 Podiatrists” in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Dr. Co is also a member of the CPMA .There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 96% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,505,070 times.
What You Need To Know About Onychomycosis
Onychomycosis is the scientific name for nail fungus. The condition can be caused by a number of things, such as an injury to the nail. A weakened immune system makes it difficult to fight off the fungi. Diabetes also increases the risk of fungal nail infections. These treatments are often painful and require several months of treatment. Usually, the best option for treating nail fungus is to consult a doctor and seek treatment.
One of the first things to do is visit your primary care physician, who can prescribe a prescription for an anti-fungal medication. The medication can be applied to the affected area and is designed to work on the infected area. However, it is recommended that people with a serious infection consult a medical practitioner before starting the treatment. Topical medications require daily application and can affect other medical conditions. The best treatment is a combination of oral and topical medications.
If you have a fungal infection, you must avoid wearing shoes or socks. While you should not walk while wearing shoes, you should avoid using artificial nails. If your toe is impacted, it is important to have your nail trimmed straight across. If possible, wear comfortable socks and change your shoes in public places. A doctor will often send the clippings to a lab for identification. Changing your socks and wearing sneakers is also recommended.
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