What Are The Symptoms Of A Fungal Infection
Fungal infection symptoms depend on where the infection is. For example:
- A vaginal yeast infection usually causes itching and foul discharge from the vagina.
- A fungal infection on the skin may cause redness, itching, flaking, and swelling.
- A fungal infection in the lungs may cause coughing, fever, chest pain, and muscle aches.
Top 5 Signs Your Toenail Fungus May Have Escalated To An Infection
A little case of toenail fungus is practically a rite of passage you quickly learn not to go barefoot in a locker room or shared shower area again and to always pack clean socks. But what happens when your toenail problem goes beyond a suspect smell and yellowed appearance?
At Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center, with locations in Wheat Ridge, Granby, Evergreen, and Arvada, Colorado, our team of podiatrists and foot and ankle surgeons provide care for fungal toenail infections and much more. They believe in educating patients about skin and nail care so you can help avoid common problems and keep your feet healthy and strong.
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A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.
They may suggest:
- antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
- nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off
The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.
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What Causes Toenail Fungus
It is very unlikely that a few exposures to an unclean environment will cause a fungal infection. Walking barefoot once or twice in a public shower will not generally spread the infection. Similarly, it is also unlikely that a single visit to a pedicurist will cause the infection. Lengthy exposure to a contaminated environment is often required in order to contract the fungal infection although individuals may be more susceptible to fungal infections than others.
Fungal Nail Infection Complications
It can take a year or more for your nails to look like they did before the infection. And you may continue to have problems:
- The fungus can come back.
- Your nails may be permanently discolored or misshapen.
- The infection may spread to other parts of your body.
Itâs especially important to take care of a fungal nail infection if you have diabetes. Youâre at greater risk of getting a serious skin infection.
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How Is Onychomycosis Treated
Treatment of onychomycosis includes chemical or surgical removal of the infected nail, systemic or topical drugs, pulse therapy, or a combination thereof. is a summary of oral and topical therapy regimens as can be seen, the course of treatment for fingernail infections is shorter than for toenail infections. The treatment of onychomycosis has improved considerably over the past several decades, following the introduction of the oral antifungals terbinafine and itraconazole. However, these drugs may have side effects such as liver damage or drug interactions, which are particularly relevant in the elderly population . Further, nail infections caused by non-dermatophyte organisms, such as Fusarium, are especially difficult to treat .
Safe And Effective Topical Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Topical treatments can be effective for toenail fungus.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Foot Soak
- Listerine Foot Soak
Some people go to the doctor for toenail fungus.
If you choose to do so, they will more than likely prescribe prescription drugs.
These drugs are supposed to get rid of toenail fungus.
We do not recommend these drugs because the risk is much greater than the reward.
These drugs work by distributing antifungal chemicals throughout the bloodstream.
Then the body absorbs the antifungals in the pill by digesting it.
You process these antifungal pills in the liver.
Since the antifungal agents must pass through the liver before they get to the toes, these medications can cause liver damage.
Your doctor will inform you that you will require blood tests before and during the course of medication.
This precaution is taken to avoid damage to the liver.
With all the precautionary measures taken, some people still experience liver failure.
The other common side effects are constant headaches, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of taste.
The risks involved in prescription fungal drugs are not worth it in our opinion.
We will stick to safe topical treatments and Mycosyn Pro.
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> > > Best Toe Fungus Treatment Available
If you suspect your nails are infected with fungus, it is important to see a doctor. You should consult a doctor for treatment. A nail fungus can be treated with home remedies. Baking soda and vinegar can also help to eliminate the fungus. In some cases, you can even apply a diluted solution of one of these solutions. You should avoid touching the affected area as it may cause further complications.
There Is A Wide Range Of Options With Varying Success Rates
Other than keeping your toenails trimmed and perhaps painted, you may not pay much attention to them unless a problem develops. Healthy toenails are pink, shiny and smooth, but a fungal infection can cause them to become discolored, thick, brittle and even painful.
Toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is a common but challenging condition toenail fungus treatments include a wide range of options with varying success rates.
Causes of toenail fungus
Fungal nail infections are usually caused by fungi called dermatophytes that infect the skin beneath the nail yeast is another common culprit. Toenails are especially vulnerable to infection when your bare feet contact damp surfaces such as showers, swimming pools and locker rooms. If you have athletes foot, the infection can spread to the nails.
Wearing closed shoes such as athletic shoes for extended periods also can contribute to infection if your shoes and/or socks are damp from perspiration or heat. Moreover, if your shoes fit snugly enough to put pressure on your toes, they can damage the nail bed, making it more susceptible to infection.
People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or circulatory problems, also may be more prone to toenail infections.
Symptoms of toenail fungus
Toenail fungus symptoms can develop slowly over time and may go unnoticed at first. Symptoms can include:
Toenail fungus treatments
When to see a doctor for toenail fungus
Preventing toenail fungus
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Precautionary Measures For Toenail Fungus
- Wear shoes that fit correctly. They should not be too loose or tight around the toes.
- Clean your nail trimmer before using it.
- If you have diabetes, follow all foot care recommendations from your healthcare provider.
- Avoid going barefoot in communal areas such as hotel rooms, showers, public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. Most people pick up fungus in these situations. It helps to wear flip-flops in these public areas.
- If you have a family member with foot fungus or nail fungus, try to use a different shower or wear flip flops in the shower.
- Do not rush when clipping your nails.
- Do not tear or rip your toenails on purpose.
- Keep your feet dry. Make sure to fully dry your feet after a shower
- Soak feet in warm water before trimming toenails
- Trim toenails straight across
- If you get manicures at nail salons, visit only the ones that disinfect tools after each client.
Is Onychomycosis Still A Problem
The great majority of superficial fungal infections are caused by dermatophytes, which belong to one of three genera , with T. rubrum being the most prominent cause of nail infection . summarizes the prevalence of various superficial fungal infections in different geographic areas . Among superficial fungal infections, by far the most difficult to cure is toenail onychomycosis . The prevalence of onychomycosis has been reported to be as high as 23% across Europe and 20% in East Asia . In North America, the incidence of onychomycosis is up to 14% , with fungal infection responsible for 50% of all nail disease . With millions of dollars being spent annually on oral and topical prescriptions, laser treatments, over-the-counter products, and home remedies, it is obvious that people are still bothered by their fungal toenail infections and are determined to get rid of them. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. To successfully cure toenail onychomycosis requires long treatment duration that may extend to a full year. Even then, complete cure, defined as clinical cure plus mycological cure , is often unattainable.
Distal subungual onychomycosis of the great toenail.
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Prevention Of Fungal Skin Infections
You can reduce your risk of getting a fungal skin infection by taking some simple precautions.
- Dry your skin well after washing especially in skin folds.
- Wash socks, clothes and bed linen regularly to remove any fungi.
- Dont walk barefoot in communal areas such as showers, saunas and swimming pools.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes made of cotton or a breathable material thats designed to keep moisture away from your skin.
- Dont share towels, hairbrushes or combs.
- Alternate your shoes every two or three days to give them time to dry out.
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control.
- If someone in your family has scalp ringworm, wash bedding, hats, combs and hair accessories in bleach diluted with water.
- If you suspect that your pet has ringworm, take them to the vet.
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Why Don’t Topical Antifungals Work Better
Unfortunately, currently available topical agents, such as amorolfine 5% and ciclopirox 8%, have low efficacy , . This low efficacy can mainly be attributed to the inability of the drug to penetrate through the nail plate to the nail bed where the infection resides . Thickened nails, extensive involvement of the entire nail, lateral disease, and yellow spikes contribute to a poor response to topical treatment . shows an example of distal subungual onychomycosis, trimmed to demonstrate nail thickening.
Further complicating the scenario is the fact that certain antifungals will bind to the nail plate and thus may not be available at the site of infection, which is the nail bed. For example, terbinafine has been shown to accumulate rapidly in the nail, reaching a maximum of 0.39 mg/g and persisting up to 2 months following the end of treatment . In this regard, Ryder et al. developed an in vitro nail model that showed that the cidal action of terbinafine, when tested against an established dermatophyte infection in the presence of human nail, was in fact less effective than in conventional microdilution assays where no nail powder is present .
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Early Treatment Is Key To Preventing Severe Onychomycosis
Nail fungal infections are best treated in its earliest stages. Once you spot any of the mentioned early signs and symptoms, seek the advice of your health professional. Usually, for early onychomycosis, treatment may simply be in the form of topical anti-fungal solutions. EmoniNail is a perfect example of a topical treatment that contains safe and effective ingredients, such as undecylenic acid and tea tree oil, that will likely kill fungi and improve the nails overall health.
Treating onychomycosis in recent times has advanced and the availability of surgical treatments, laser therapies, and other oral anti-fungal medications are now out in the market. Although not necessary in early onychomycosis, they also prove to be successful in eliminating fungal nail infections. These types of treatments are best recommended under the supervision of your doctor. Visit your physicians to know what treatment works best for you.
Mayo Clinic Q And A: Treatment For Toenail Fungus Isnt Always Necessary
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am in my late 50s, and a few of my toenails have turned a yellowish color and seem to have thickened. Is this something I should be concerned about? Is there anything I can do to fix this?
ANSWER: What youre likely experiencing is a fungal nail infection. Fungal nail infections are common, especially among older adults. As nail growth slows with age, its easier for fungus to establish in the nail bed. Treatments are available, although they may take some vigilance and are not always necessary.
Toenail fungus usually is caused by a microscopic organism called dermatophyte fungus. It often begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. But as the infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. These fungal infections are more likely to happen in your toenails than in your fingernails because toenails often are confined in a dark, warm, moist environment, where fungi can thrive. Toes also have less blood flow than fingers, making it harder for your bodys immune system to detect and stop the infection. But it is possible for fingernails to be affected.
The older you are, the more likely you are to get toenailfungus. Thats because as you age, your immune system changes. Inaddition, your nails become more brittle and drier over time, creating morecracks where fungus can live.
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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.
What If I Decided Not To Have Any Form Of Treatment
Onychomycosis is not life threatening and many have lived with the condition for years however, it can make someone more susceptible to secondary bacterial infection, particularly of the lower legs in those with poor circulation. Likewise, it may impose psychological stress because of the social stigma it carries and impact on daily life. Onychomycosis may also adversely affect ones occupation as it may affect the ability to perform certain tasks.
In a quality of life assessment of people affected by onychomycosis, the constant reoccurrence as well as the number of nails affected was shown to negatively affect quality of life. Moreover, 64 – 74% of those surveyed, admitted to embarrassment and lower self-image/self-esteem.
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How Feet Get Infected And Die
Bacteria is everywhere, and any break in the skin is an opportunity for an infection. Some infections are mild, but others are stronger and tough for your body to beat. Once the bacteria has settled into your tissues, it multiplies and spreads, slowly taking over that area. If left unchecked, an infection can overwhelm and kill tissues, leading to gangrene.
Gangrene is when a section of living tissue dies. Its a severe complication of an infection, though injuries or conditions that severely restrict blood flow can cause it too. Without enough oxygen or nutrients, that part of the body will slowly die. A fracture, a blood clot, a dislocationanything that damages blood flow, or can become infected, could potentially lead to dead tissue.
Its most common in the extremities like your feet, too, since circulation is already weaker there, limiting the nutrients and oxygen reaching your tissues, as well as your immune system. Conditions that impair your circulation or immune systemlike diabetes or peripheral arterial diseasehave an even higher risk for gangrene complications.
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How Can I Tell If I Have Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus usually starts subtly, so you might not notice anything different with your nail immediately. After a while, though, you see some noticeable differences that indicate a fungal condition. Nails become:
Because a nail infected with a fungus is compromised, it can also break or split easily. As the condition progresses, itchiness and pain can occur, and the nail becomes separated from the nail bed.
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Is Toenail Fungus Really Such A Problem
If youre thinking you can just live with it, we dont advise letting toenail fungus go untreated. Its an insidious problem, and without treatment, you have to deal with the discomfort of the nail as well as feeling self-conscious about its unsightliness.
If you let a nail fungus infection go for too long, several problems emerge. The infected nail can become misshapen and increasingly separated from your nail bed. Itching and pain are unpleasant side effects if theyre too severe, you can have trouble wearing shoes or walking.
You need to be especially attentive to treating toenail fungus if your immune system is compromised. If youre living with diabetes, its critical not to ignore the fungus. Even a mild infection like this can snowball into something more serious, like cellulitis, a severe bacterial skin infection.
Another problem is that untreated fungus eventually can spread to either neighboring toenails or to the skin of your foot, causing athletes foot. Possibly the worst outcome of untreated nail fungus is needing to have your nail surgically removed.
Medical Complications From Untreated Fungal Toenail Infection
Without proper treatment to stop your toenail fungal infection from getting worse, or spreading, complications will eventually develop. Fungal infections of your toenail can spread to the surrounding skin and when your skin becomes cracked, bacteria can enter and cause an abscess.
An abscess on the toe is a tender mass generally surrounded by a colored area from pink to deep red. They are often easy to feel by touching. Inside they are full of pus, bacteria and debris.
Untreated toenail fungal infections can lead to cellulitis and should be treated immediately with antibiotics. Untreated skin infections of the toe may lead to severe cellulitis and if the infection enters the bloodstream it can become septicemia, also known as bacteremia or blood poisoning. Once the infection enters the bloodstream the bacteria and their toxins are carried through the bloodstream to your entire body. If the bacteria levels become high enough, septicemia can quickly become life threatening.
A good reason to seek treatment if you suspect you have a toenail fungal infection is because of the similarity of symptoms for differing diagnosis of more serious toenail conditions. You may have a toenail fungus, but you could also be experiencing similar symptoms of a toenail viral infection , complications from toenail trauma, a pre-malignant lesion or, more seriously, melanoma of the nail bed.
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