Treatment Options For Nail Fungus
Most of my conversation is usually discussing medical therapy, so things that are available by prescription only. And those come in two main forms, which are topical antifungal medications, and then oral antifungal medications. There are other surgical or procedural options, so you can remove nails as well. And then there’s starting to be more interest in technologies like lasers for nail fungus.
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Stop This Skin Infection In Its Tracks With These Over
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Verywell Health / Sabrina Jiang
Toenail fungus is a common fungal condition that often starts after a rash on the foot spreads to the nails. When mild, it looks like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. But if left untreated, the fungus can grow severely by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.
The fungus often begins in the form of athlete’s foot between the toes or on the soles of the feet. At this stage, the fungal infection is easier to treat with over-the-counter medication. But Shari Lipner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, told Verywell Health toenail fungus can be difficult to treat because of how slow the nails grow. The more severe the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved makes it that much harder to treat the nails even with effective therapies, she says.
Diagnosing the fungal infection early is key to make treatments effective. Dr. Lipner recommends visiting a board-certified dermatologist to properly treat the infection if it grows to be too severe.
Here are a few of the best over-the-counter toenail fungus treatments on the market.
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Home Remedies For Fingernail Fungus Infection
Fingernail fungus is very itchy and irritating, and in some cases, this can lead to the feeling of pain on skin. It was also widely known as the result of sensitive and dry skin,caused by the skin water deficiency and can sometimes even cause skin redness. The situation can turn to be painful, embarrassing, and all-around nasty rapidly. Thus, you will need to take extra care while treating this problem. In fact, this infection can happen on both your toenails and fingernails and can cover around 6-8% of all adult population.
How Can It Be Treated
Treating a fungal nail can be a lengthy process it can take several months to clear. This is largely due to the time it takes for your toenail to grow.
You’ll only see a clear improvement when the damaged nail has grown out. It can take six months to a year after the treatment has finished before the nail looks normal again.
Speak to your pharmacist for advice on treating fungal nail infections. See your GP if over the counter treatment hasnt worked or if the infection is severe or has spread to other nails. Make sure you see your GP or a foot specialist if you have diabetes and develop a fungal nail infection, as people with diabetes are at an increased risk of foot problems.
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Everyday Tips To Subdue And Prevent Nail Fungus
You can take several small actions every day to help prevent the invasion of a fungal infection, and we have highlighted some that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
Natural Remedies For Fungal Nail Infections
Nail fungus remedies are sometimes used to treat fungal infections in the toenails or fingernails. Also referred to as onychomycosis, nail fungus is often difficult to treat with conventional medicine. But while natural nail fungus remedies are widely used, there is very little scientific support for their effectiveness.
To date, very few studies have tested the use of natural nail fungus remedies. Here’s a look at some natural substances often recommended in the treatment of nail fungus.
This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.
DermNet / CC BY-NC-ND
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Nail Anatomy And Onychomycosis Infection
Figure 1 shows the composition of the nail, including the nail plate , nail bed and nail matrix.
Figure 1: Nail anatomy and physiology
The nail plate and nail bed are joined by layers of hard, translucent, keratinised cells. The nail bed and nail matrix are vascular components of the nail, with nail cells located within the nail matrix where the nail plate is formed. The thickness of the nail plate determines the length of the matrix
- Apply cosmetic nail varnishes or artificial nails
- Walk without footwear in public areas
- Cut nails too short.
Dangers Of Using Bleach For Toenail Fungus
Bleach may actually cause toenail fungus to worsen and increase the likelihood of a toenail infection.
According to an article in the Asian Journal of Research in Dermatological Science, use of topical bleach can increase the risks for fungal infections because it can damage the skin and nails. This allows opportunistic fungus to come in through the damaged skin or nail and cause an infection.
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How Do You Get A Fungal Nail Infection
Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause athlete’s foot infecting the nails.
These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark and moist places like the feet.
You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:
- don’t keep your feet clean and dry
- wear shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty
- walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily, such as communal showers, locker rooms and gyms
- have damaged your nails
- have a weakened immune system
- have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis or peripheral arterial disease
Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this if you have an infection.
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How To Clean Your Foot Tools Using Hydrogen Peroxide
There is a great possibility that your foot tools could be carrying the fungi and could be the reason why your fungal infection continues to persist despite repeated treatments.
Moreover, through your foot and nail tools, the fungi could be passed on to another person using them.
If you are enjoying a hydrogen peroxide foot bath, the tools could join you. Alternatively, after you have used the tools, you can leave them in 3% hydrogen peroxide for an hour or overnight.
How Do Dermatologists Treat A Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.
To completely get rid of the infection, most people also need one or more of the following treatments:
Medicine you apply to the nail: If you have a mild infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in four to six months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months.
Probably the most difficult part of this treatment is remembering to use it as often as prescribed. Some treatments must be applied every day. Others you apply once a week. To get the best results, its essential that you apply these medicines exactly as directed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following medicines that you apply to the nail to treat nail fungus:
Side effects from these medicines are generally mild. Possible side effects include redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when you apply the medicine. In clinical trials, none of these side effects caused patients to stop using the treatment.
The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines to treat nail fungus:
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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.
Final Thoughts On How To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus Fast
How to get rid of toenail fungus fast is not an easy question to answer, as there are quite a few variables to consider such as your health and commitment to a treatment plan.
That being said, if you are diligent with an effective treatment and take steps to eradicate the source of fungus in your life while protecting your feet from any potential re-infection, you will be miles ahead of most people.
Most importantly you should take action to finally get rid of toenail fungus in as much time as needed. The more you wait the worse it will be because toenail fungus are contagious and become more and more difficult to eradicate over time.
So how to get rid of toenail fungus fast? As fast as possible?
Get started as soon as you can with one of the effective treatment options mentioned above and persist until your nails are clear and healthy again.
OTC treatment options mentioned in this article:
Visit our main website to get a broader and deeper picture about the different treatments available to get rid of toenail fungus fast.
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Potential Safe Uses For Bleach
The myth that bleach could treat toenail fungus may be less related to topical applications and more about using bleach to clean other items that could potentially infect the toenails, such as nail clippers or files.
Shoes and socks exposed to toenail fungus can be washed with bleach. Follow the bleach products directions for your washer and laundry load size. You can also use bleach-based solutions to clean areas where fungus may grow in your home, such as your shower tiles, bath mats, or floor.
Now that you know bleach isnt an effective toenail fungus treatment, lets look at some options that are.
Doctors Weigh Best Treatments
The best treatment for fungal nail infections is a prescription that your dermatologist can prescribe that you take every day for two-to-three months. The pill is not for everyone, since oral antifungals can interact with other medications and can affect the liver.
Fortunately if you dont want to or cant take a pill, there are topical solutions to treat nail fungus. Although topical medications are desirable because of the low risk of side effects and interaction with other medications, they have much longer treatment regimens. Generally, topical medications have a lower clearance rate compared to oral pills.
Newer topical antifungals including Efinaconazole and Tavaborole have better penetration of the nail plate and so they work better compared to older topical medications, says Dr. Ng. She says the topical medications work best if you only have partial nail involvement.
Lasers are approved by the FDA to temporarily increase the amount of clear nail. However, the cure rates are lower than oral medications and topical solutions.
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Which Treatment Is Right For Me
Nail fungus is usually harmless. But many people find discolored or thickened nails unpleasant to look at and want to get rid of the fungus as soon as possible. Fungal nail infections can also spread, and may infect other people. Regardless of the treatment you choose, it will take a while until the nail looks normal again. Its especially important to be patient where toenails are concerned. It can take a year for a healthy big toenail to grow back. Nail fungus can sometimes be very persistent despite treatment. It can also come back after successful treatment.
Topical treatment isnt likely to get rid of a fungal nail infection. Treatment with tablets is considerably more effective and takes less time. But some people cant take tablets because of the very rare, yet serious risks. How you feel about the pros and cons of the different treatment options is a personal matter. You can also discuss the options with your doctor.
Treating Toenail Fungus Medically
How a toenail fungal infection is treated may depend on its severity.
In white superficial onychomycosis, for example, the white patches of fungus that form on the nails can sometimes simply be filed off and an over-the-counter antifungal topical medication can be applied to the nail to kill the fungus.
For infections affecting deeper layers of the nail, over-the-counter topical medications often don’t penetrate the nail deeply enough to kill all of the fungus and prevent the infection from recurring. Repeated applications of the medication or a prescription-strength drug may be necessary.
The symptoms of more severe infections include thickened, discolored toenails that may eventually become painful. In these situations, you should see a podiatrist who can devise a treatment plan that may include these actions:
Debridement The thickened portions of the nail can be debrided, or removed, to reduce pain and allow a topical treatment to penetrate more effectively.
Topical Medication Medications that are applied like nail polish or hand cream are sometimes used to treat nail infections. However, topical medication often fails because it doesn’t move deeply enough into the nail to reach the fungus or users forget to apply it daily for almost a year, as is required.
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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.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Recent controlled trials using tea tree oil show promising opportunity for people suffering from stubborn toenail infections.
This is one of the few problems that uses 100% tea tree oil for maximum results. After several months of testing, doctors found that tea tree oil was on par with the results seen after using standard topical antifungal treatments.
Why use medical treatments with mystery ingredients when there is an all natural alternative that is just as effective?
Paint the oil on the affected nails twice a day for at least two months. The nail has to grow out for the fungus to be eradicated, so you may not see results for a several months.
You can find here more medicinal uses for tea tree oil or if you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This e-book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.
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What Is The Treatment For Fungal Nails
Oral antifungal therapy has a high cure rate, depending on the medication. It can take nine to 12 months to see if it has worked or not, because that is how long it takes for the nail to grow out. Even when therapy works, the fungus may come back. Currently, an oral antifungal therapy is considered the best treatment for toenail fungus because of higher cure rates and shorter treatment duration compared to topical therapy.
Prescription oral medications that are effective against nail fungus include the following:
There are several innovative treatments that are still being tested:
- Laser therapy or uses application of light-activated agents onto the nail followed by shining light of a proper wavelength on the nail.
- Use of electrical current to help absorption of topical antifungal medications into the nail: This is also called iontophoresis.
- Use of a special nail lacquer that changes the micro-climate of the nail to make it inhospitable for the fungus to grow: If this works, it may be an inexpensive way to treat this problem in the future.
One way to definitively get rid of toenail fungus is by surgery. Surgical treatment of onychomycosis involves nail removal. However, this often only provides temporary relief, and recurrence is common unless additional antifungal medication is simultaneously used. However, surgical removal may be warranted when the affected nail is associated with other factors such as trauma and or infection.