Possible Causes Of Yellow Nails
If your nails have been damaged by dyes or harsh products, new nail growth should be a healthy, clear color. If your nails continue to be yellow, there may be something else going on in your body. Sometimes having yellow nails can be an indication of something more serious. Vitamin or mineral deficiencies can cause nails to appear yellow, and introducing a multivitamin supplement to your regiment may stop the problem.
In some cases, nails that remain yellow despite repeated treatment can be a symptom of thyroid conditions, psoriasis, or diabetes. In rare situations, yellow nails can indicate the presence of skin cancer. A condition called yellow nail syndrome is indicated by continually yellow nails and respiratory or lymphatic problems.
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:
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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Keep Clippers To Yourself
If you have been using a certain pair of clippers on your toes, you will very much want to disinfect or replace those as well. How best to do this?
- Let the clippers soak in boiling water for a few minutes.
- After removing them , scrub with dish soap and an old toothbrush to clean off any remaining dead skin cells or residues.
- Rise, then wipe down the clippers with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol.
- Completely dry the clippers with a paper towel to avoid rusting.
You can also use Barbicide if you happen to have it around.
Now that you have a clean pair of toenail clippers, make sure to use them only on your toenails. They should be the larger kind designed for toenails, too. Sharing clippers runs another risk of fungal infection, and using the same pair of clippers on your fingernails and toenails can run the risk of transferring an infection from your feet to your hands, or vice versa.
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Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Nail Fungus
Although some people may refer to these alternative treatments as quack science, there appears to be a little more to these homemade remedies since many individuals have used them to cure their conditions. However, more research still needs to be conducted on the success rate of home remedies for nail fungus.
Some common and supposedly effective alternative treatments include:
According to Dr. Josh Axe of the Exodus Health Center, apple cidar vinegar not only helps to soothe sunburns, balance pH in the body, manage blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss, its also an ingredient that contains anti-fungal properties. As such, many sufferers of fungal nail infection have now turned to this healthy food to cure their conditions.
The acidic properties of apple cidar vinegar prevent nail fungus from spreading. At the same time, apple cidar vinegar helps to get rid of dead skin cells while killing bacteria and fungi.
Simply mix it with water in equal parts then soak the infected nails for up to 30 minutes in the solution. Repeat this process daily and pat dry the infected nails after soaking.
Another study conducted by Russian researchers showed that a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide had been instrumental in killing off fungus at the radioactive Chernobyl site.
For this remedy, one should simply apply lemon juice on the infected nail for about 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
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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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.
What Other Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Fungal Nails
Here are some other conditions you may have instead of fungal nails:
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Dangers Of Traditional Treatment Options
Fungal nail infection is treatable with oral anti-fungal drugs, topical medications, surgery, or laser treatments. The problem with these modern treatments, however, is that they can sometimes cause complications. Depending on the chosen treatment, some of the possible side effects that may occur include skin rashes, blisters, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, respiratory problems, abnormal nail growth, or liver damage.
Due to the many risks associated with modern treatments for fungal nail infection, many people are now opting for alternative remedies that are relatively safer. As an added bonus, its also possible to treat fungal nail infection using just a few basic ingredients one already has available at home.
How To Prevent Toenail Fungus
Its not always possible to prevent toenail fungus, but often it is. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and its better to prevent nail fungus than to have to try to treat it. Well tell you what you can do, but well also tell you what to do if all your efforts at toenail fungus prevention dont work and you end up with an infection anyway.
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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.
Dont Use Nail Polish On Infected Nails
Youve probably heard all the benefits of how to prevent toenail fungus but did you know that keeping proper hygiene is also important? This article will provide you with some basic information on keeping your nails healthy.
The roots of the nails get into the crevices and the infection may start there and spread out from there. Prevention is better than cure, so try to keep your nails clean and free of debris. Never polish your nails if they are wet because this will increase the chances of bacteria growing and making an infection worse.
Watch your water consumption. If your body cant properly absorb water through your skin then the water will end up trapped under the nail where it cannot be eliminated.
When you see a toenail that looks discolored, you should immediately visit your doctor to inquire about how to prevent toenail fungus. Your doctor will check the problem, scrape the nail and allow it to dry for 24 hours. Once the nail is dried it will return to its natural color.
Dont wait to get rid of a toenail fungus. Keep your nails free of excess debris and bacteria. If you do this you will be able to protect them and keep your nails healthy.
Nail polish that contains chemicals is something you shouldnt use because they irritate the skin around the nails. If you notice that your nails are peeling, cut them off if they are cracked or bleeding. If your toenails have a bad odor, cut them off if they are black, blue or yellow. This is caused by fungal growth.
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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.
Change Your Socks Often
Preventing nail fungus can be difficult but with a little effort, you can keep it from reoccurring. There are many things you can do to help. Find out some simple tips that will help prevent your toenail fungus from coming back.
Change Your Socks Often. Do you wear the same pair of socks every day? Thats like putting on your shower shoes in the wrong pair. Make sure to rotate your socks regularly so that you dont share the fungi spores. If you have very thick socks, this can be especially hard to do.
Trim Your Nails Regularly. Nail fungus is hard to fight off once it sets in. Try to cut your nails a few times a week. Every two weeks would be better. This will cut down on the spread of fungus and allow for good circulation of blood.
Avoid Tight Socks. There is one very obvious reason to avoid wearing tight socks. You are increasing the likelihood of getting a toe nail fungus. Tight socks have a lot of seams that allow the feet to breathe easier.
Buy Different Shoes For Different Activities. Even though running is supposed to be good for the feet, dont wear flip flops on the beach. Dont wear tennis shoes to the grocery store. You may be walking around all day in the same pair of shoes.
Use Shoes With Wicking Material. You should consider using waterproof shoes if you live in a hot climate. If you do decide to use these, make sure to use fabric that wicks away moisture. You can wear insoles under your shoes that wick away moisture as well.
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How To Prevent Nail Fungus From Returning After Treatment
Once you have successfully treated your nail fungus, it is important to take steps to prevent nail fungus from returning. To do this, you should take the normal steps of maintaining good personal hygiene. Do not stay barefoot in public places, making sure to wear flip-flops at pools, locker rooms, and public showers. Also remember to properly dry your feet after washing them, so you are not walking around or going to bed with wet feet. However, these are steps that each individual should be taking. If you have already gotten nail fungus, this means that you have had exposure to it and are prone to getting nail fungus. So, there are certain steps you should take to prevent nail fungus from returning after your treatment.
Immediately after treatment, you should disinfect everything in your home that the fungus may have come into contact with. This means washing your shoes and socks, bedsheets, and towels. You should also throw away any nail tools or nail polish that you previously used. If you had fungus on your fingernails, you should disinfect your phone and computer too.
If you have yet to treat your nail fungus, do not delay any longer and with one of our doctors at one of our over 120 locations.
Why Toenail Fungus Is So Stubborn
A fungal infection in your toenails is typically caused by a tiny organism called dermatophyte fungus. This type of fungus thrives in warm, moist environments think public swimming pools or locker rooms where it can be easily transferred between people.
Once you pick up the infection, it can spread fairly quickly, largely because you keep your feet inside shoes, creating the perfect environment for fungal growth.
Making matters worse, your toenails are fairly thick and made up of many layers, which means the fungus can set up shop deep within these layers, making it more difficult to target. In moderate-to-severe cases, the fungus can even get into the matrix of your nail, which means any new toenail growth is already infected.
Rounding out the list of hurdles is the fact that your toes dont benefit from great circulation, so your immune system is less likely to detect and fight off the foreign invaders.
What all of this amounts to is that many people think that a toe fungal infection is coming back when it never really went away in the first place.
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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.
Dont Go Barefoot In Public Areas
Since toenail fungus is so contagious and thrives in moist, warm places, don’t go barefoot in public places like pools, showers, and locker rooms. These areas are full of microscopic fungal organisms that can take root in your nails and cause you a summer of trouble.
When in public areas, protect your nail health by wearing sandals, flip-flops, or shower shoes to minimize your exposure.
For more information on preventing stubborn toenail fungus or to treat an existing infection,contact Dr. Hopkins and the team at South Sound Foot & Ankle!
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