What Causes Nail Fungus
Tiny, microscopic organisms called fungi cause a fungal nail infection.Many people pick up the fungi when they have skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a fungal infection like athletes foot or ringworm on their hands.Another common way to get a fungal nail infection is by walking barefoot in a warm, moist area like a pool deck or locker room. These fungi thrive in warm, moist areas.You can also get a fungal nail infection by sharing an infected nail clipper or towel. But you dont have to catch it from someone. You can get it if your nails are frequently moist or you often wear sweaty socks and shoes.The fungi usually infect a nail by getting into a:
- Small cut in the skin surrounding your nail
- Crack in your nail
The area under a nail gives fungi a warm, moist place to grow. The infection can then spread to other nails and even your skin.
ReferencesGupta A and Brintnell W. Onychomycosis: A complex disease? Poster presented at: 69th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology 2011 Feb 4-8 New Orleans.Gold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.Verma S and Heffernan MP. Onychomycosis. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: 1817-20.
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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Nail Fungus Treatment Options
Its important to seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist soon after discovering signs of fungus. If you dont, the condition could spread, becoming less manageable and possibly painful.
Treatment may start with trimming off the part of the nail thats infected and sending it for culture or histologic examination to confirm the infection. Topical medication can be used to treat mild infections. These medications, which keep the fungus at bay until a healthier nail grows in, include Amorolfine, Ciclopirox, Efinaconazole, and Tavaborole. Fingernails grow out completely in about five months, and toenails can take up to 18 months. These topicals, while very safe, have a lower efficacy than oral medication.
More serious cases may require the use of antifungal pills. These medications, such as Fluconazole, Griseofulvin, Itraconazole, and Terbinafine, are rarely associated with side effects. A typical treatment course could be from one to three months.
Your dermatologist may also recommend using both pills and topical treatments.
The good news is that most people can clear a nail fungus with simple, safe treatments. Make an appointment with one of our dermatologists to learn more about nail fungus treatment options.
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What Treatments Do You Recommend
Since its clear that leaving toenail fungus untreated can be very dangerous, its a verygood idea to know what kind of treatment you can use. So if you believe you have contracted nail fungus we recommending treating it as soon as possible. You can start by using our top recommendations Funginix and Purely Northwest Toenail Fungus System.
The Most Effective Natural Treatments For Nail Fungus
Nail fungus is a widespread condition that can be difficult and expensive to cure. Many people turn to over-the-counter treatments that come in the form of soaps, soaks, solutions, and creams to try to improve the symptoms that occur along with fungal infections. If you catch your infection relatively early, or you have a mild case, you may be able to get good results using over the counter products. We have compiled a list of the best over-the-counter and natural products that can be applied directly to the nail and surrounding skin to help treat cases of nail fungus.
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Apple Cider Vinegar For Tinea Manuum Infections
Raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar can also be used as a natural hand fungus treatment or for ringworm on your palm.
The benefits of apple cider vinegar for fungal infections come from the high levels of acetic acid. The acidic content of apple cider vinegar helps to reduce itching and also destroy germs, fungi, and bacteria on the skin.
For example, the journal Microbiology Research reported that acetic acid can inhibit the growth of various fungi. Acetic acid does this by lowering the pH levels of the skin to a level where fungi cannot multiply. This can help to treat outbreaks of hand fungus without the side effects caused by some pharmaceutical drugs.14
How to use apple cider vinegar as a hand fungus home remedy:
It is very easy and cheap to use apple cider vinegar to get rid of a fungus hand rash that itches and has crusted over. This is what you should do:
You can also use ACV for treating different kinds of yeast infections. It can also be diluted with water to make a natural cleansing toner for your face or help get rid of acne outbreaks naturally.
Are Fungal Infections Dangerous
For a majority of the fungi we treat at the dermatologist office, the answer is no.
Nail fungus is risky if you have certain comorbidities such as diabetes, swollen legs, nerve problems , or if veins have been removed in a coronary bypass surgery. Each of these conditions tend to increase the risk for infection the legs. Fungal toenails magnify the risk of a potentially significant infection when these other conditions are present.
Otherwise, nail fungus is cosmetic we can treat it, but there are no serious risks if we dont.
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Know It May Have To Be Permanent
At this point, if he or she has not discussed this with you earlier, the doctor may recommend that you have the nail permanently prevented from growing back. This is only done in severe cases of fungus or other disorders where the problem would simply keep occurring if the nail grew back.
To do this, the doctor must destroy the nail matrix, which is the part of the toe that produces keratin, the element that toenails are made of.
The matrix can be dissolved chemically, which is the most common. This is called chemical cauterization, and involves the application of a chemical called phenol. Occasionally, some patients report their nails growing back, but generally this method is effective.
If this does not work, your doctor will perform a surgical matrixectomy. A flap of skin is surgically created at the base of the nail, where the matrix is located. After retracting the flap, the matrix is surgically removed.
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What Should You Expect During Treatment
Treatment varies based on the exact type of fungal infection. For skin infections, a topical cream can begin to relieve the itch in a few days.
It will typically take 14 to 28 days to get rid of the fungus, depending on the area of skin that is affected. The thicker the skin the longer that you need to apply the medication.
Its important to remember that the anti-fungal medications we have just prevent the fungus from growing, and the skin has to slough off the fungus to get rid of it. Sometimes adding a topical Urea cream can be helpful to turn the skin cell over more quickly.
For nail fungus, patients will notice a gradual cleaning of the nail as the nail grows out over the period of a year. A rim of a normal nail will start to emerge as it grows out from the skin. The new, healthy nail will replace the old, infected nail. However, its important to realize that even if you kill the fungus, the nail does not always return to its normal appearance.
It can take up to six months for a fingernail and up to a year for a toenail to shed the fungus. So, pulse-dosing the oral anti-fungal medication can be helpful to reduce the exposure to the medication. We often recommend that after taking the oral medication daily for the first month, patients take it daily for one week each month over the next year.
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See A Dermatologist To Pinpoint The Problem
Foot fungus wont just go away on its own, Dr. Ng says. If you think you have foot or toenail fungus, see your dermatologist, she says. There are several tests that your dermatologist can perform to identify exactly whats going on.
Its important to be aware that there are other diseases which can cause nail changes, she says. For example, we do see things like squamous cell skin cancers in the nail beds and even melanomas, which have a brownish or blackish discoloration.
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of An Injured Nail
A fine red to reddish-brown vertical line under your nail may be caused by an injury with bleeding under the nail. This is known as a splinter hemorrhage. Some medicines and medical conditions can also cause reddish lines to appear on the nails, so see a board-certified dermatologist if you notice a new red line.
Minor nail injuries commonly result in small white spots. They typically disappear on their own as the nail grows out and do not require treatment. You should, however, see your dermatologist if you see many white spots and do not remember injuring your nail, or if the white spots do not grow out. This could mean you have an infection or another medical condition.
The Podiatrists Take On Home Remedies
While home remedies are unlikely to cause any harm in themselves, Dr. Hinkes urges caution when relying on them when looking for how to get rid of toenail fungus. âResorting to folk remedies can be dangerous because it could keep the patient from getting a legitimate diagnosis and treatment,â he says. âNow in some people, this could be a critical thing, because it can be contagiousyou can pass it to other people and you can pass it to other parts of your body. So itâs really not something you want to fool with.â Dr. Hinkesâ advice is clear: Visit a foot care specialist. This could be a podiatrist, but foot care nurses also offer an excellent and affordable service as an alternative. And if neither of those is available, try a dermatologist. Left untreated, this condition wonât go away on its own and can cause serious pain, deformity, and even lead to further complications. Podiatrists recommend seeking expert helpyouâre better safe than sorry. If youâre desperate, though, try these DIY foot and toenail fungus treatments.
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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 its 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 its 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.
Fungus Into The Bloodstream
This only happens in a serious stage of toenail fungus, people with very weak immune system and people with HIV/AIDS and Diabetes are known to face this danger. When the fungus enters the deeper skin, causing cellulitis thats when the disesase will enter the bloodstream. If you believe you are experiencing a fungal blood infect, i highly suggest you contact your doctor immediately.
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What Are The Signs Of Nail Fungus
With both toenail fungus and fingernail fungus, the infection begins as a pale yellow or white spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. You may notice additional symptoms as the condition progresses such as:
- Thicker than usual nails
- Spreading discoloration at the top of nails
- Ragged nail edges from crumbling
- Distorted nail shape
- Slight odor from the affected nail
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.
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Best Nail Fungus Dermatologist In Nj: Treatments We Offer
As nail fungal infections can be difficult to treat, over-the-counter products often fail to solve the issue. Thus, its wise to seek professional treatment from Kessel Dermatology, the best nail fungus dermatologist in NJ. Our specialists can recommend the right nail fungus treatment for you, taking into account the severity of the infection and the type of fungus that is causing it.
After carefully evaluating the condition of your nails using cutting-edge technology, we may prescribe one or more of the following treatment methods for nail fungus:
- Topical anti-fungal creams, which are rubbed into the affected nail to eradicate fungus
- Oral anti-fungal medications, which work to eliminate infection and promote normal nail regrowth
- Medicated nail lacquers, which are applied to the infected nail and surrounding skin to help get rid of fungus
- Laser therapy, which kills fungus and fosters healthy nail growth
Depending on your unique situation, we may suggest a single treatment or a combination of methods to address your nail fungus.
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How To Treat Severe Nail Fungal Infection
Some people opt not to do anything about their nail fungal infection because they are not bothered by it at all, or at least they have adapted to live with the condition. However, it is recommended that the infection is treated immediately because it might get worse.
For severe nail fungal infection cases, treatment is necessary. In such cases, the infection may even spread to other parts of the body and will compromise the overall health of the patient.
Doctors are likely to prescribe oral fungicidal medicines to treat severe nail fungal infections depending on the patients condition, medical history, other ailments, and restrictions. While oral treatments are generally considered effective, but they are slow in delivering results and they come with side effects. Therefore, doctors take into consideration their patients individual health records in prescribing oral fungicidal medications.
Its not the most common solution, but surgery is also sometimes recommended for extreme cases of onychomycosis. A part of the nail or the entire nail can be removed in the surgery, which can be done in a clinic or in the doctors office. By removing the nail, the fungi infection is also removed, allowing a new and healthy nail to grow back. It takes time for the new one to grow fully, though, and the fungi may even return during the recuperation period.
Are Oral Medications For Nail Fungus Toxic
The newer drugs are unlikely to cause any liver problems in patients without known liver disease. Blood tests are not needed for once-weekly treatment with fluconazole however, people taking longer courses often have their liver function tested before starting the medicine and then retested during the course of treatment. It is important to notify the doctor of all side effects while on the medication. You should tell your doctor of all current medications to prevent potential serious drug interactions.