What Does Fungal Nail Look Like
Usually, it first appears on the edge of your nail, under the tip, as a white or yellow streak. This streak gradually spreads down the side of your nail to the base.;
Eventually, your nail becomes brittle, discoloured, thickened and distorted. It can become so thick that it hurts when pressed against the side of a shoe.;
The nail may end up crumbling and splitting, and separating from the skin. It often turns yellow or brown.;
The surrounding skin may also become infected and may itch, crack, form a blister, or appear white especially between the toes. Its important to act quickly if you notice any of these symptoms. If you don’t treat the infection, there’s a chance it will worsen and spread to other nails.
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.
How Do I Get Rid Of My Toenail
This article should have answered most of your questions regarding toenail fungal infections . It will also help you understand your condition better and make it easier to talk to your doctor.
Youll likely start with your family doctor, or a general practitioner. However, you might be referred to a specialist in foot care or skincare . These are some tips to help you prepare for your appointment.
- Note down all symptoms that are not related to your nail condition. This may influence your doctors treatment options.
- Note down important personal information. Certain conditions like diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and psoriasis may make you more susceptible to infection, or can even prevent you from receiving treatment.
- Take a list of all the medications, vitamins, creams, and supplements that you are currently taking or have used previously. Be as detailed as possible.
- If possible, bring a friend or family member along. It can sometimes be difficult to absorb all of the information given to you at an appointment. You might forget something or someone who is there to help you.
- Write down any questions you want to ask your doctor.
You can rest assured that your doctor will be able find the right treatment plan for you if you have made an appointment to discuss a possible TFI.
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When To See A Doctor
In most cases, toenail fungus is considered a cosmetic problem. Still, it may cause serious complications for some people.
If you have diabetes, toenail fungus may lead to foot ulcers or other foot problems. According to a 2012 study, chronic toenail fungus is a significant risk factor for bacterial cellulitis of the leg.
If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you shouldnt use home remedies for toenail fungus. Contact your doctor for the appropriate course of action.
Why Is It That I Keep Getting Fungal Infections While Others Dont Seem To Have Them
While there are many reasons for this, it is most likely that you are more vulnerable to fungal infections. You may also be more susceptible to fungal infections due to your genetic susceptibility, weaker immune system, or being exposed to public places like gyms and swimming pools. Athletes often come in contact with conditions that make fungal infections more likely. Patients with diabetes, psoriasis or weak immune systems are more susceptible to nail infections.
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Are You Suffering From A Toenail Infection
TFI is more than a cosmetic issue. It can also be contagious and cause discomfort, pain, mobility problems, and other serious complications.
Toenail fungus can be diagnosed by looking at the appearance of your nails. These are some simple questions that can help you determine if you need to see a doctor.
- Are your nails looking brittle?
- Is the nail shape changing?
- Are the edges of the nails crumbling?
- Is there any debris under the nail?
- Is the nail loose or lifting?
- Is the nail getting thicker?
- Are you noticing white streaks or yellow streaks in your skin?
- Do your nails lack shine and are they dull?
If you answered yes to any of these questions and notice changes in the appearance of your nails for more than two weeks, you should consult your doctor for a diagnosis and guidance on the best treatment.
Toenail fungus infections can become more difficult to treat if not treated quickly. Toenail fungus infections may spread to other skin conditions if left untreated. They can also cause permanent damage to the nails and possibly lead to paronychia, a skin condition that affects the area around the nails.
To Treat My Toenail And Nail Fungus Who Should I Go To
Your podiatrist, dermatologist, and family physician are the best medical professionals to give you the diagnosis, counseling, and treatment that you need. They are also current on the latest onychomycosis research. Your access depends on how severe your condition is.
You may be referred by healthcare services to a dermatologist who specializes on conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. Your podiatrist is trained to treat conditions that affect the feet.
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Nail During Treatment For Fungal Nail Infection
The fungi that are killed with treatment remain in the nail until the nail grows out. Fresh, healthy nail growing from the base of the nail is a sign that treatment is working. After you finish a course of treatment, it will take several months for the old infected part of the nail to grow out and be clipped off. The non-infected fresh new nail continues growing forward. When it reaches the end of the finger or toe, the nail will often look normal again.
Fingernails grow faster than toenails, so it may appear they are quicker to get back to normal. It may take up to a year after starting treatment before toenails look completely normal again and six months for fingernails to look completely normal.
Consult a doctor if there does not seem to be any healthy new nail beginning to grow after a few weeks of treatment. However, the infection can still respond to treatment even after you finish a course of medication. This is because the antifungal medication stays in the nail for about nine months after you stop taking medication.
Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails
Fungal infection of the nails sometimes makes the condition sound contagious or related to poor hygiene. In fact, up to 10% of all adults in Western countries have fungal infection of the nails. This percentage increases to 20% of adults who are age 60 or older. Toenail fungus is much more common than fingernail fungus.
In reality, abnormal-looking nails may be caused by a number of conditions including, but not limited to, fungal infection. There are many other reasons why your nails may look different.
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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.
Tea Tree Oil
If It Isnt Painful Can I Ignore Nail Fungus
You should see a doctor if you suspect you may have a nail infection. While serious complications from nail fungus infections can be rare, they should be treated immediately to prevent permanent damage to the nails and spread to other toenails. It is best to treat an infection as soon as possible to avoid complications that can make it more difficult to treat.
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Who Should Follow An Anti
This diet can be followed by anyone who has a toenail fungus infection. Only people with chronic vitamin or mineral deficiencies should refrain from going on a strict diet.
They should consult their doctor before eliminating a few foods from their diet. The following people should not follow a strict Anti-Fungal Diet.
- Mineral Deficiency
It is always advised that you consult a doctor before making major changes in your diet.
Nail Removal Home Remedies And Laser Treatment
In the most serious instances of toenail fungus infection, the toenail may be removed surgically or dissolved with acid. This can be done to just a portion of the nail in the hope that the remaining nail will grow back healthy. In cases where the entire toenail has to be removed, artificial nails and products using light-cured resins to form a temporary covering can be used to protect the underlying tissue until the nail grows back.
If you prefer to go the home-remedy route, such as applying tea tree oil or Vicks VapoRub to your nails, keep in mind that the effectiveness of these products for treating toenail fungus hasn’t been well studied, and they are not recommended by podiatrists.
Finally, the Food and Drug Administration has approved several laser devices for temporary increase in clear nails in patients with onychomycosis. But while laser treatments are vigorously marketed, clinical trials of lasers have reported mixed results, and the treatments may not be covered by health insurance. If you wish to try laser treatment of toenail fungus, speak to your doctor about what to expect from the treatment, and call your insurance carrier to find out whether the treatment will be covered.
Additional reporting by Susan Jara.
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What Is An Anti
An anti-fungal diet is a diet that helps you fight fungi by improving your bodys immunity. The diet excludes the foods that help the fungi to grow.
It promotes the consumption of certain oils and ingredients that can improve the activity of good gut bacteria. Thus, the body begins flushing out fungi.
An anti-fungal dietalso requires you to ensure that your meals are nutrient-dense and you consume vitamins or minerals supplements if needed.
What Is The Treatment For Fungal Nails
Oral antifungal therapy has a high cure rate, depending on the medication. It can take nine to 12 months to see if it has worked or not, because that is how long it takes for the nail to grow out. Even when therapy works, the fungus may come back. Currently, an oral antifungal therapy is considered the best treatment for toenail fungus because of higher cure rates and shorter treatment duration compared to topical therapy.
Prescription oral medications that are effective against nail fungus include the following:
There are several innovative treatments that are still being tested:
- Laser therapy or uses application of light-activated agents onto the nail followed by shining light of a proper wavelength on the nail.
- Use of electrical current to help absorption of topical antifungal medications into the nail: This is also called iontophoresis.
- Use of a special nail lacquer that changes the micro-climate of the nail to make it inhospitable for the fungus to grow: If this works, it may be an inexpensive way to treat this problem in the future.
One way to definitively get rid of toenail fungus is by surgery. Surgical treatment of onychomycosis involves nail removal. However, this often only provides temporary relief, and recurrence is common unless additional antifungal medication is simultaneously used. However, surgical removal may be warranted when the affected nail is associated with other factors such as trauma and or infection.
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Side Effects Of Toenail Fungus Medication
One of the many benefits of using a homeopathic remedy is that there are little to no adverse side effects. Topical treatments often prescribed to treat toenail fungus can potentially burn or blister the skin. Oral medications for treating onychomycosis can cause liver or gastrointestinal damage. Be sure to read your medications list of potential side effects. Consult your pharmacist, physician, or specialist if you are concerned about side effects of prescription drugs.;
Why Does It Develop
A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so this type of environment can cause them to naturally overpopulate. The same fungi that cause jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm can cause nail infections.
Fungi that are already present in or on your body can cause nail infections. If you have come in contact with someone else who has a fungal infection, you may have contracted it as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails, likely because your toes are usually confined to shoes, where theyre in a warm, moist environment.
If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person to person if theyre not sanitized.
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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.
Softening And Scraping Away The Nail
As it can take a long time for antifungal;medication to work, some people may prefer to use a treatment that involves softening and removing infected parts of;nail over a few weeks.
Treatment kits are available;from pharmacies that;contain a 40% urea paste, plasters;and a scraping device. The paste softens the infected parts of the nail, allowing them to be scraped away so they can be gradually replaced with healthy nail.
To use the treatment:
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How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose A Fungal Nail Infection
Fungal nail infection can be identified by its appearance. However, other conditions and infections can cause problems in the nails that look like fungal nail infection. Fungal nail infection must be confirmed by laboratory tests before beginning treatment, because treatment is long, expensive, and does have some risks.
What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Toenail Fungus
If you have toenail fungus, you may find it helpful to ask your provider:
- What type of infection do I have?
- Do you recommend I treat it? Why or why not?
- How long will I need treatment?
- What steps can I take to stop it from coming back?
- Should I be aware of any potentially serious complications or treatment side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Toenail fungus is an incredibly common infection that can be difficult to treat. The condition usually isnt painful, but it may make you feel self-conscious about how your foot looks. If it bothers you, talk to your provider about your treatment options. A trained specialist can provide guidance on whats most likely to address your concerns while protecting your overall health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
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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.
What About The Cost Of Oral Medications For Fungal Nails
A further consideration is cost. Because newer oral antifungal agents are very expensive, some insurance companies balk at paying for what they consider a “cosmetic issue,” unless nail fungus causes pain or other functional symptoms. Terbinafine and fluconazole are now available as generic drugs and are quite inexpensive.
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