Health

How do I get rid of fungus in my toenails?

    When we talk about hands, the fingernails are the one we often focus on. This is because it is easily seen in our normal daily life such as when we eat or do work. This might be in contrast with toenails as it is often hidden under the shoes we wear and because it is located far below than where our eyes normally look at. Thus, toenails issues often go unnoticed unless there are already symptoms. We will be discussing fungus in the toenails in this DoctorOnCall’s article.

     Onychomycosis also refers to fungal nail infections. While this condition can affect both fingernail and toenails, it tends to affect toenails more in most cases. It is a common condition affecting those aged 65 and above. It also is common in athletes and conditions affecting the immune system such as immunocompromise like HIV disease or diabetics. There are certain conditions that may make a person at risk for developing onychomycosis such as those who wear occlusive footwear for a long time, deformed nail or nail disease, obesity and using communal bathing or changing facilities. This nail disease rarely affects children.

  The main cause for the toenail fungal infection is the invasion of microscopic organisms such as fungal spores, years and mould that survive in warm and damp environments. Small cuts in the nail or the skin around the nail may have allowed these creatures to invade the nail. These organisms make nail tissues as their food while tunnelling into the skin under the nail.

   Most people with onychomycosis do not have symptoms and often so are considered not serious. Despite this, some may experience discomfort or pain. Some may be disturbed by the appearance of the nails. The colour of the nail may be different to a normal nail which is pink or slightly red. The discolouration will be in the colour of white, yellow, grey or green. The discolouration often starts with the spot at the tip of the nail but it will then spread to the extent of covering the nail. Nail may split and crumble. Nail may be seen to lift up due to the thicken nails. Surfaces of the nail may feel soft and dry. People with fungal toenail infections often have fungal skin infection on the foot, typically between the toes such as tinea pedis or ringworm on the foot.

    Due to the fact that there are many other conditions that can look similar to toenail fungal infection, it is best to get checked by a doctor. This is because age alone can cause thickening and yellowing of the nail. Skin conditions such as psoriasis may cause flaky skin which may resemble onychomycosis. Injuries and chemicals in nail polish may cause discolouration of the nail. Thus, getting checked by a doctor can avoid further problems with the toenails.

    Beside physical examination, doctors often use dermoscopy to get a closer look of the toenails. At times, they may also take samples of the affected nail to be checked under the microscope. Samples may also be sent to the lab for culture. This can identify the organism causing the toenail issues.

    Those who are affected by toenail fungus infection would want to know how to get rid of this issue.  To treat the symptoms, a wide range of treatments are available. Over-the-counter products such as antifungal can be helpful. However, it may not be the most effective treatment as it only helps to improve the appearance of the nail. Treatment can be difficult as it often takes a long time before It is able to cure. Most treatments are considered to be successful when the infection is treated early. This is especially true with prescription of topical antifungal treatment.

    The best treatment prescription of antifungal oral medication. Some cases may need complete removal of the nail. It may take several months to a year before the infection subside. This is where most people may actually want to give up on treating the condition and they may start to forget taking medication or completely ignore the medication guides from their doctor. Such a condition is almost entirely true in those with recurrent fungal nail infection such as diabetes as the infection can return even after treatment.

  The best way to avoid toenail fungal infection is to take preventative measures. This includes keeping the feet dry and cool, avoid using occlusive footwear at most times, throw away infected footwear and socks, avoid trimming nails short as this may raise risk for trauma and avoid poor hygiene when doing cosmetic nails. For those with medical conditions such as diabetes, they need to ensure that their diabetes is controlled well.

  Toenail fungal infection is more difficult to be cured when compared to infection to the fingernail. It is considered as cured when there is growth of the non-infected nails. Although treatments are considered as successful, a new nail may take up to a year before it grows a clear nail.

Also read – Dengue Prevention.

 

You may also like...