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.
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.
When To See A Doctor Over Toenail Fungus
The cause of your toenail fungal infection might be an underlying health problem. In some cases, it might just be too severe and hence difficult to get rid of it at home, although there are no underlying problems.
You may want to see a doctor over toenail fungus for further examination, advice, diagnosis, and treatment. After all, there are many other health problems that may cause signs and symptoms similar to those of toenail fungus. Therefore, see your doctor in case the following happens:
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Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications
Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.
Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.
Oral medications can come in capsules, tablets, or liquid. Some common prescriptions are Diflucan , Lamisil , Onmel , and Sporanox .
What Can Podiatry Do For You
A podiatrist is an invaluable tool for the treatment of fungal nails. For one thing, a podiatrist will be able to examine your toe and determine if you have a fungal infection or some other problem. Your physician may even take a sample to generate a lab report that will advise on the best anti-fungal treatment to use. A podiatrist will perform a physical examination and give you a recommended treatment plan.
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Nail Fungus: Polish Cream Or Tablets
Nail fungus can be very persistent. Topical treatment with nail polish may take up to one year. Tablets for treating fungal nail infections usually have to be taken for several weeks or months. They are much more effective than topical treatments, but they have more side effects.
Brittle nails and a whitish-yellowish or brownish discoloration are typical signs of nail fungus. The nails may also become thicker and change shape. The affected part of the nail sometimes detaches from the nail bed. The treatment options for nail fungus include nail polishes and creams as well as tablets. Nail polishes and creams are available in pharmacies without a prescription.
Soak Your Feet In Hydrogen Peroxide
You have to repeat this process every day until, and even after, the problem subsides. Getting rid of nail fungus is not easy and will take a lot of patience and effort.
Why This Works
This oxidate therapy using hydrogen peroxide is highly effective when it comes to treating nail fungus. The method involves using the peroxide to soak the infected and affected nails. As the oxygen levels increase, the fungus on your nails gets destroyed.
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What Tests Might I Have For Toenail Fungus
Your provider will probably take a small sample from underneath your nail to further analyze it. Viewing the cells under a microscope can confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be sent to see if the fungus grows out in a culture. It also helps your provider identify the type of fungus.
What Other Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Fungal Nails
Here are some other conditions you may have instead of fungal nails:
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How Is Toenail Fungus Treated
Toenail fungus is notoriously tricky to treat. You may need to treat the condition for several months to get rid of the fungus. Still, toenail fungus often comes back.
A dermatologist or podiatrist can explain your treatment options. If you have a mild case that doesnt bother you, your provider may recommend no treatment.
Toenail fungus treatment options include:
- Oral antifungal medication: You take prescribed medication, such terbinafine , itraconazole and fluconazole , to treat the fungi. You will need to take this medication every day for several months . Your provider may use blood tests to check for potential medication side effects. These medications can affect the liver and interact with other medications, so oral antifungals are not for everyone.
- Topical medication: You regularly apply a medication right on the nail. The medication treats the fungi over time. Topical medications are most effective when paired with oral medications.
- Laser treatments: Your provider directs a high-tech laser beam and special lights at the toenail to treat the fungus. Lasers are FDA approved for temporary increase of clear nail in nail fungus but is not a cure. Cure rates for laser treatment are lower than oral and topical mediations so they are not typically used as first line treatments for nail fungus.
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Side Effects Of Using Hydrogen Peroxide For Nail Fungus Treatment
If you experience any of the following side effects, try using a solution weaker than 2%. You can also try diluting the solution further with water.
- Hydrogen peroxide can irritate your skin causing redness, stinging, and mild itching.
- It may also dry out your skin and cause cracked feet.
- Peroxide can cause your skin to peel.
If you ever notice discoloration on your skin, it might be nail fungus. The next time this happens, you know what to do. Have you ever dealt with nail fungus? What helped you treat it? Tell us in the comments section below.
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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.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or itâs 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 itâs 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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The Dangers Of Ignoring Toenail Fungal Infections
Even a minor discoloration can be a sign of toenail fungus and worthy of a doctor visit. Find out why and how to get help for symptoms of toenail fungus.
Cactus Creative Studio/Stocksy
With all the serious health dangers out there, like cancer and diabetes, having a yellowed nail from toenail fungus can seem pretty insignificant. Since toenail fungus usually isnt painful, many people put off seeking treatment, says Peter Joseph, DPM, a podiatrist with Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh. While many people are otherwise healthy and may just think of it as a cosmetic problem, ignoring a toenail infected with fungus could have health consequences beyond appearances. Potential complications of a toenail fungal infection:
Foot pain. Over time, a nail infected with fungus can become thick and misshapen, causing pain, Dr. Joseph says. It can even make it difficult to walk when wearing shoes, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Treating Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
If you suspect you have a toenail fungal infection, see a doctor, Joseph says. Your doctor may take a small sample from your toenail and have it analyzed to confirm the presence of a fungus. If the test comes back positive, an oral or topical antifungal medication may be prescribed to help treat the fungus. Most medications are well tolerated with few side effects, Joseph says.
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How Do I Know If I Have Toenail Fungus
A toenail fungal infection has a slow, eroding effect on your toenail but usually takes a while to develop and spread so you might not notice it at first.
Here are some of the toenail symptoms you may encounter:
- Change in color often the toenail turns yellow, brown, white, or eve green
- Nails become thicksometimes so thick you cant get a toenail clipper to work
- Toenail shape becomes curved, twisted, or ingrown on the sides
- Initially, a white dot may show itself which then slowly grows larger
- Toenails become brittle and break easily, sometimes they seem to crumble or get chalky
- Toenails become flaky and break off
- Sometimes the toenail has a âcottage-cheeseâ type substance especially under the hard-outer shell
- Toenails may loosen and separate off the nail bed occasionally they may even fall of entirely
- You get pain around the toenail as the hard, curved nail digs down into the sides
- There is a bad-cheese smell coming from your toenails
- Eventually, the fungus spreads to your other toes and even out onto the skin on your feet
If left untreated, you can develop a secondary bacterial infection and even get ulcerations, which are extremely dangerous if you are diabetic or have poor circulation. For some people, toenail fungus has even ultimately led to the surgical amputation of toes or even leg amputations.
Best Ointment: Fungi Nail Anti
Infused with five oils for skin healing
Easy-to-use brush applicator
Only for mild infections
Doesn’t heal the nail plate
Fungi Nail Antifungal Ointment uses an innovative design to address multiple forms of fungal infections one can find on their feet. Its wide-tip applicator applies the appointment on larger areas of the feet, such as the soles and in-between toes. Then the smaller applicator works to get around the nail cuticles and underneath the nail.
Once applied, the maximum-strength ointment kills the fungus with the active ingredients of zinc undecylenate and undecylenic acid to help treat toenail fungus. The ointment also soothes itching and burning that can come with an infection, all while healing the skin. For best results, apply twice a day to clean, dry feet.
The ointment also soothes itching and burning that can come with an infection, all while healing the skin. For best results, apply twice a day to clean, dry feet.
Active Ingredients: Zinc undecylenate 20% and Undecylenic acid 5% | Dose: Tube and brush applicator delivers the appropriate amount. Apply thin layer on affected area twice daily or as directed by a doctor. | Uses: Treats and prevents fungal infections fights athletes foot and ringworm
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Other Oral Medications That Are Available To Treat Toenail Fungus
Oral fluconazole for toenail fungus treatment
Oral fluconazole is another pill sometimes used to treat toenail fungus. But its not a great alternative to terbinafine and itraconazole. Its not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this use, and it doesnt work as well in head-to-head comparisons. Not only that, it needs to be taken once a week for at least 3 to 6 months.
Noxafil for toenail fungus treatment
A new medication used in the treatment of toenail fungus is posaconazole , a liquid taken by mouth. Noxafil appears to be an effective option, but the cost makes it difficult for anyone to afford.
Does Vicks Vaporub Cure Toenail Fungus
Vicks VapoRub is a topical ointment. Although designed for cough suppression, its active ingredients may help treat toenail fungus. A 2011 study found that Vicks VapoRub had a positive clinical effect in the treatment of toenail fungus.
similarly, What does Terry nails mean?
Fingernails: Possible problems
Terrys nails can sometimes be attributed to aging. In other cases, Terrys nails can be a sign of a serious underlying condition, such as liver disease, congestive heart failure, kidney failure or diabetes.
in the same way, What really kills toenail fungus? Hydrogen peroxide can kill fungus that grows on toenails. You can directly wipe hydrogen peroxide on your infected toes or toenails with a clean cloth or cotton swab. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used in a foot soak.
likewise Will nail fungus grow out?
With treatment, many people can get rid of nail fungus. Even when the fungus clears, your nail may look unhealthy until the infected nail grows out. A fingernail grows out in 4 to 6 months and a toenail in 12 to 18 months.
Can I get a pedicure with toenail fungus?
2. If you suspect you have toenail fungus: if your toenails are thick, yellow, raised, or otherwise not normal looking, you likely have toenail fungus. You absolutely MUST avoid pedicures if you have a skin or nail fungal infection.
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