Doctor Prescribed Ways To Treat Nail Fungus
Fortunately, there several ways to get rid of nail fungus. Most treatments aim to eradicate the causative organism and restore the normal appearance of healthy nails. Treatment options range from self-care remedies, to medications recommended by a general practitioner, to ointments bought over-the-counter without a prescription.
Its important to note that repeat infections are common even with treatment. Whats more, remedies are not all equally effective with some even causing possible side effects.
With that in mind, here are some of the top ways to treat and get rid of nail fungus at home.
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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.
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Are There Home Remedies For A Nail Infection
Care at home includes warm soaks in warm water or a mixture of 50% warm water and 50% liquid antibacterial soap three to four times daily for about 15 minutes. This soaking should be done at the first sign of redness around the nail. Once any abscess is visible, you should see your doctor.
If an abscess has formed, the recommended treatment is to drain the patient’s abscess by doing an incision and drainage procedure.
How To Treat Fungal Nail Effectively
Owing to the high recurrence rate of fungal nail infections, pharmacy professionals should be able to advise patients on effective treatment and preventative and appropriate self-care strategies to avoid re-infection.
Fungal nail infection is a mycotic infection caused by fungal invasion of the nail structure and is one of the most common nail disorders, representing half of nail abnormalities in adults. Its prevalence in Europe is around 4.3% over all age groups and 15.5% of all nail dystrophies in children. OM is more commonly diagnosed in men and older people, affecting 2050% of people aged over 60 years. An increased incidence among older people may be attributed to multiple factors, including reduced peripheral circulation, diabetes, inactivity, relative immunosuppression, and reduced nail growth and quality. Toenails are affected more commonly than fingernails.
This article will cover the causes, types and treatment of OM, practical information to help guide patient consultations and when to refer to podiatry.
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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.
When Should Someone Seek Medical Care For A Nail Infection
Call a health care professional if the redness extends beyond the skin around the nail or to the pad of the finger. This redness shows that the infection of the nail might be forming a more serious finger infection with pus formation of the deep tissues of the fingertip, called a felon.
Contact a health care professional if an abscess is forming. The condition requires drainage by a doctor. Opening an abscess to drain the pus should not be attempted at home.
At the first sign of pus collection, seek medical attention for possible drainage. If one notices that the swelling and redness has extended down the finger or one is unable to move the joints of the affected finger, go to a hospital’s emergency department immediately. This condition may or may not be associated with symptoms and signs such as fever or chills, indicating a serious infection.
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Diagnosing And Treating Toenail Changes
If you notice changes in the appearance of your toenails, see a doctor promptly. If a fungal infection is suspected, a sample of the nail can be taken and analyzed by a lab to make a diagnosis. If the test comes back positive, an oral or topical antifungal medication may be prescribed to treat the fungus. Most antifungal medications are effective against most forms of toenail fungus, although treatment can take some time, in part because its hard to deliver any type of medication through the nail plate to the skin under the nail.
Most of the time, the treatment requires the whole nail to grow out, which can take up to a year, says Sheth. Treatment needs to be consistent and long-term if it has any chance of working.
If the test comes back negative for fungus, your doctor may begin investigating other causes for the abnormal appearance of your toenails. Sometimes symptoms involving other parts of the body help point to a diagnosis.
People with yellow nail syndrome, for example, may experience leg swelling or breathing problems. Those with alopecia could see their hair begin to fall out.
And, according to Goad, With psoriasis, patches of red, scaly skin may be seen on the knees, elbows, and face, too. Its usually not limited to just the toenails.
Additional reporting by Susan Jara
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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Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms
Symptoms are different depending on which type of fungal nail infection you have. They usually start mild and get more serious.
- At first, you may only see a white or yellow spot under your nail. Over time, this spreads and can turn your whole nail white, yellow, green, or black.
- The nail may thicken and could be hard to trim.
- It may start to curl up or down or loosen from the nail bed.
- Your nail could become brittle and crumble when you touch it.
- Your nail may become misshapen.
- You may notice a bad smell.
Itâs easy to ignore fungal nail infections at first, since you may not have any pain. But if you donât treat them, it can hurt to put any pressure on the area. If an infection gets bad enough, it could even become hard to walk.
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When To Refer To Podiatry
Before initiating topical or oral therapy, patients should ideally be referred to a podiatrist for nail trimming and debridement. This assists with removing as much fungus as possible and improves topical drug penetration. Debridement alone cannot be recommended for the treatment of OM patients using a combination of debridement and topical nail lacquer have shown a significant improvement in mycological cure compared with debridement only. Patients with nail trauma owing to footwear, dystrophic toenails affecting other toes or who describe discomfort when walking owing to thickened toenails should also be referred.
When there is treatment failure with topical, oral and combination therapies, a podiatrist may be able to carry out a chemical or surgical nail avulsion .
If there is doubt over the original diagnosis, or where no improvement has been seen with treatment, pharmacists should refer patients to a podiatrist or their GP.
Supported by RB
RB provided financial support in the production of this content.
The authors were paid by The Pharmaceutical Journal to write this article and full editorial control was maintained by the journal at all times.
What Is A Toenail Fungus Infection
A fungal infection is caused by an overgrowth of many different types of fungi . In warm and moist environments, the fungi can thrive and quickly overpopulate.
A toenail fungus infection might cause:
- Discoloration of the nail
- Warped nails
- Brittle and easily cracked nails
- The nail can separate from the nail bed, leaving space underneath the nail.
- There might also be an odor to the nails
The fungus is contagious and may spread to the skin between the toes and other parts of the foot. This is commonly known as athleteâs foot.
Fungal infections can also happen in your groin area and on your scalp.
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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.
When Should I Call The Doctor
In rare cases, toenail fungus can cause an infection called cellulitis. Without prompt treatment, cellulitis may pose a serious danger to your health.
You should seek treatment guidance from a trusted healthcare provider if you have:
- Circulation problems.
- Redness, pain or pus near the toenail.
- Weakened immune system.
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Always Talk To Your Healthcare Team
Both conditions can be treated by removing the nail. While this sounds awful, it is actually a relatively painless procedure.2,3
Always consult your healthcare team about the best treatment for your needs. Since these conditions can happen simultaneously, and your team should help you decide the best way to treat your condition and help you learn how to prevent another outbreak.
When Should You See Your Doctor
A black toenail doesnt necessarily require a doctors visit the need for medical treatment depends on the initial cause. Knowing the cause can help you make this decision. On the flipside, if you dont know the cause, its a good idea to see your doctor just in case your black toenail is a sign of a serious medical condition.
Not all cases of toenail fungus require a doctors visit. However, if you also have diabetes, you should see your doctor for treatment.
A dermatologist can also help diagnose and treat black toenail. Youll need to see a dermatologist if you suspect melanoma. However, if your black toenail is caused by another underlying health issue, such as diabetes, then youll also need to see your primary doctor to treat the cause.
Any black toenail that doesnt go away should be looked at by a doctor. If youre concerned about your black toenail and dont already have a dermatologist, you can view doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
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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.
Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus
You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.
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Fungal Nail Infection Treatments
Early treatment of fungal nail infections may prevent damage to or loss of the nail and treatment at any stage may reduce discomfort and improve the nails appearance. However, fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat, and can recur following successful treatment.
Also, because nails grow slowly, it can take up to a year for the appearance of the nail to return to normal, even if treatment is successful. To check if your fungal infection has been successfully treated, your doctor may make a small scratch on the normal-looking new nail growing from the nail bed. As your nail grows, the appearance of the new nail growing behind the scratch is monitored. If the nail behind the scratch remains normal-looking, the infection has been treated and no further treatment is needed the abnormal nail in front of the scratch just needs to grow out.
Fingernail infections can generally be cured more quickly and effectively than toenail infections.
Tips For Prevention Of Fungal Nails
Nail fungus causes only 50% of abnormal-appearing nails. It can be hard to tell the difference between the different causes of discolored nails . Onychomycosis is often not treated. Reasons to receive treatment include
No one knows where a specific person catches the fungus, as it is everywhere. However, since the fungus does thrive in warm moist areas , there are certain areas one should avoid or use with caution. Shower floors, locker rooms, and swimming pools are suspected of being sources of the fungus, although there are no studies proving this fact. Nail polish and acrylic nails also make the nail less “breathable” and make the nail more susceptible to fungal infection. Fungi are everywhere — in the air, the dust, and the soil. Hygienic measures such as spraying socks and footgear sound sensible, and perhaps these measures can even help a little bit. However, avoiding tight, nonbreathing shoes or steering clear of athletic facility floors may very well be the best prevention available. Daily washing of the feet and drying between the toes can help to prevent nail fungus. The fungi carried on the coats of pets, like cats and dogs, don’t often cause nail fungus. Wearing white socks does not help.
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Treatment Options For Nail Fungus Toenail Fungus Treatment System
The Crystal Flush Toenail Fungus Treatment System is a complete solution for your toenail fungus problem. Crystal Flush Nail Fungus are scientifically formulated toenail fungus treatment. Crystal Flush has been clinically tested, showing that it produces amazing results that other treatments cannot match. Crystal Flush combines six powerful ingredients such as Dead Sea salt, mineral salts, tea tree oil, and lavender oil. Crystal flush also contains Vitamins A & E which promotes healthy nail growth while preventing recurrence of more fungus and infection. Crystal Flushs unique Crystal Formulation penetrates deep within your nail and nail bed to combat the fungus from the root. Crystal Flush also contains essential oils such as lavender, tea tree, and lemongrass. These essential oils have their own unique healing qualities and also assist in soothing any inflammation or pain on your toe caused by fungal infections.
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Who Gets Toenail Fungus
Men are more likely to get it than women. The older you are, the better your chances are, too. People who have diabetes, athlete’s foot, or a weak immune system, who smoke, or whose family members have it are also at a higher risk. If you spend a lot of time in the water or you’ve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.
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