Treatment Options For Fungal Nail
Treatment options, some of which can be prescribed by your GP and the others found at your local pharmacy, include:
Antifungal nail creams or paints
These are applied directly to the nail over several months and are most effective when used at the early stages of the infection. They aren’t generally considered to be as effective as tablets because it can be difficult for the product to reach the deep layers of the nail. Some people choose them over tablets because side effects are less common. These are available over the counter.
A paste is applied to soften the infected area. This is then covered with a plaster for 24 hours. The next day, the paste is washed off and the softened nail gently scraped away.
This process has to be repeated every day for two to three weeks. When no more of the infected nail can be removed, an antifungal paint is applied to prevent re-infection as the nail grows over the next few months. These kits are available from your pharmacist.
These are only available on prescription and need to be taken for several months, before the infection has completely cleared up. Some tablets are unsuitable for people taking certain medicines, and some people may experience side effects. Always see your doctor or pharmacist for advice about medicines.
Treating Fungal Nail With Scholl
Mild fungal nail infection can be treated with Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment. The product comes with hygienic disposable single use files that are used to remove the top layer of the nail. This helps ensure that the advanced formula penetrates the nail and targets the fungi on the infected nail bed, stopping it from spreading.
Fungal nail treatment can take a number of months to work. This is because toenail needs time to grow back, and toenails grow only 1-2mm per month. Youll only see a visible improvement in the infection when the damaged nail has completely grown out.
Ensure you start treating the infection as early as possible, ideally as soon as you see the signs. With Scholls Fungal nail treatment, effective treatment can mean a visible improvement in weeks.
Risk Factors Associated With Toenail Fungus
Certain health conditions and lifestyle factors can make you increasingly vulnerable to developing nail fungus:
Health: You have a greater chance of contracting a fungal nail infection if you suffer from one or more of the following issues:
- Other fungal skin infections, such as athletes foot or ringworm
- Increasingly brittle, crumbly, or ragged nail
- Nail that appears warped or distorted in shape
- Nail that appears dull without any luster
- Dark color, caused by the accumulation of debris under your nail
- Slightly foul odor in the affected area
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Wear Flip Flops Shoes And Socks
To prevent you from getting nail fungus when going in humid and damp areas like a public bathroom, gym, and spa, you need to wear sandals or flip-flops. Also, wear a pair of reasonably fit shoes, not too big and not too small. Plus, change your socks every day and put an antifungal powder inside your shoes and socks to keep them dry. Finally, keep it in mind to choose breathable footwear, donât wear any wet shoes or socks, and avoid going barefoot in public areas.
Facts About Fungal Nail Infection
The infection can affect any part of your nail, including your nail plate, bed and root.
Changing rooms, public showers and unsterilized equipment in nail salons all put you at increased risk of fungal nail infection.
Remember to wash your hands! Contact with a person suffering from fungal nail infection can be enough to develop the condition.
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Fungal Nail Infection Treatment
See your doctor if you think you have nail fungus. It can be tough to get rid of, and youâre more likely to have success with a prescription. Treatments include:
- Oral antifungals. The doctor may give you a pill to kill fungus in your whole body. This is usually the best way to get rid of a nail infection. Treatment may last 2 months for an infection in your fingernails, or 3 months if itâs in your toenails.
- Topical antifungals. You rub or brush these medicines onto your nails. They may work for a mild infection, but they canât get deep enough into the nail to cure a more serious one. You might use a topical treatment in combination with a pill.
- Surgery. If other treatments donât work, the doctor may need to remove your nail entirely and let a healthy one grow back in its place. The new nail could also get infected.
- Laser or photodynamic therapy. Doctors are studying newer treatments that use special light to try to kill the fungus.
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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Can A Nail Fungal Infection Be Prevented Or Avoided
Avoid situations that expose you to a fungus. This includes walking barefoot in locker rooms and having wet hands and feet often. This might be a problem for people who work in restaurants or house cleaning. People in a family can get nail fungal infections at the same time. This happens when their immune systems arent able to fight off the infection. Or it could be the infection is spread when using the same towels. It is important to routinely clean your shower, tub, and bathroom to lower risk of fungal infection.
Treating Toenail Fungus Medically
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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.
What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Nail Fungus
With treatment, many people can get rid of nail fungus. Even when the fungus clears, your nail may look unhealthy until the infected nail grows out. A fingernail grows out in 4 to 6 months and a toenail in 12 to 18 months.
To clear the fungus, its important to:
Use the treatment exactly as prescribed
Apply the medicine for as long as prescribed
Keep all follow-up appointments with your dermatologist
Nail fungus can be stubborn. If you had a severe infection, its possible to clear the infection. A healthy looking nail, however, may be unrealistic, but you can expect the nail to look better and feel more comfortable.
Even with clearing, nail fungus can return. Youll find steps to reduce your risk in Tips: 12 ways to prevent another nail infection.
ReferenceGold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.
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Are There Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus
The Internet is filled with anecdotal information on how to cure toenail fungus using home remedies. Vinegar is a commonly recommended home remedy. Some people apply various oils such as tea tree oil, coconut oil, essential oils, and oil of cedar leaf to their nails as well. The effectiveness of these home remedies is highly doubtful. Application of household bleach and hydrogen peroxide is also not recommended due to lack of evidence that these treatments work. These agents can also cause unwanted skin irritation. Thickened nails that have been affected by fungus can be difficult to trim. Using topical urea cream will soften the nail and make it easier to trim. These creams do not require a prescription.
Why Trust Verywell Health
As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.
Additional reporting for this story by Jennifer Nied
For over 10 years, Jennifer Nied has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and pored over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews.
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Pack The Area With Dental Floss Or Cotton
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, placing cotton under your nail may increase pain and allow harmful bacteria to thrive. Soaking the cotton or floss in alcohol before application may help reduce this risk.
Whats Going On With Your Nail
You dont spend a whole lot of time examining your nails but you have to admit that somethings up.
Its looking a little bit yellow and, if youre completely honest with yourself, it smells a bit funky.
Looks like you could have a fungal nail infection, but what does that actually mean?
Lets take a look at that nail fungus and what you can do to treat it.
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How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus
To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.
To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.
Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.
Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?
Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.
How Is The Diagnosis Of Onychomycosis Confirmed
Clippings should be taken from crumbling tissue at the end of the infected nail. The discoloured surface of the nails can be scraped off. The debris can be scooped out from under the nail. The clippings and scrapings are sent to a mycology laboratory for microscopy and culture.
Previous treatment can reduce the chance of growing the fungus successfully in a culture, so it is best to take the clippings before any treatment is commenced:
- To confirm the diagnosis antifungal treatment will not be successful if there is another explanation for the nail condition
- To identify the responsible organism. Moulds and yeasts may require different treatment from dermatophyte fungi
- Treatment may be required for a prolonged period and is expensive. Partially treated infection may be impossible to prove for many months as antifungal drugs can be detected even a year later.
A nail biopsy may also reveal characteristic histopathological features of onychomycosis.
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Why Are There Only Limited Types Of Medications For Fungal Infections
Fungi and humans share the same ancestry which is the domain Eukarya. The domain Eukarya are composed of organisms whose cells have a true nucleus and membrane-bound organelles.
Medical practitioners have difficulty in making new anti-fungal drugs because these drugs usually work by targeting fungal cells and killing them.
Unfortunately, humans and fungi share the same ancestral domain and the difference in cellular compositions does not have much variation. This similarity causes anti-fungal drugs to target both fungal and human cells which may cause harm to our body.
Only the most selective fungus-specific drugs are released in the market and thus the choices become limited.
Wear Comfortable Shoes And Socks
Shoes and socks that are too tight can crowd your toes. This is considered to be a leading cause of ingrown toenails. To help prevent an ingrown toenail from developing or worsening, wear shoes and socks or hosiery that fit but still leave ample space in the toe bed. During the healing process, avoid shoes or wear sandals as much as possible to limit pressure on your toenails.
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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.
Complications Regarding Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungal infections are typically painless or at least start off that way. But without proper self-care and treatment, the condition can spiral into a more severe case of nail fungus, which can be painful and may cause irretrievable damage to your nails.
Moreover, the toenail infection can sprout other serious infections that can spread beyond your feet, particularly if you have a suppressed immune system due to certain medications, diabetes, or other conditions.
Because people with diabetes are already predisposed to reduced blood circulation and nerve supply in their feet, their odds for catching toenail infections as well as bacterial skin infection are quite high.
Thus, it is imperative for people with diabetes to seek professional medical help for any seemingly minor foot injury including a nail fungal infection to avoid any future complications.
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How To Treat Fungal Nail Infections
Known as onychomycosis, the growth of fungi on the nails is a condition that causes nails to go yellow or white and look generally unpleasant. This occurs most commonly on toenails, although fungus may also appear on the fingernails. It should be noted that treatment for fungal infections takes time and should be supervised by a doctor. In this OneHowTo article, we will explain more about how to treat fungal nail infections.
First of all, it is important to note that if you believe that you have fungus growing on your toenails, you should visit a dermatologist or specialist doctor so that they can examine you and determine the appropriate diagnosis. The symptoms of a fungal nail infection are as follows:
- Yellowish stains on the borders or appearance of yellow lines during the first days.
- Fragile nails, prone to breaking.
- In advanced phases, strange smell and decomposition of the nail.
- Engrossment of the nail.
You will normally receive a prescription for a topical treatment combined with an oral antifungal treatment. The latter is used to totally cure the infection and make the nail go back to its original state as soon as possible.
The topical treatments tend to be a type of nail polish which should be applied on the infected nails regularly and consistently during the recommended timeframe so that the nail regenerates and the fungal infection disappears. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to recommend the most appropriate treatment.