What To Watch For When Taking Oral Medication For Toenail Fungus Treatment
All of the pills for toenail fungus can cause liver toxicity. This is rare and is reversible after the medication is stopped. Still, liver function blood testing will be done before you start your treatment and again midway through your treatment.
Medications like Terbinafine and Itraconazole can also interact with certain drugs. Your healthcare provider will look at your medication list to make sure there arent any drug interactions.
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Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Nail Fungus
Although some people may refer to these alternative treatments as quack science, there appears to be a little more to these homemade remedies since many individuals have used them to cure their conditions. However, more research still needs to be conducted on the success rate of home remedies for nail fungus.
Some common and supposedly effective alternative treatments include:
According to Dr. Josh Axe of the Exodus Health Center, apple cidar vinegar not only helps to soothe sunburns, balance pH in the body, manage blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss, its also an ingredient that contains anti-fungal properties. As such, many sufferers of fungal nail infection have now turned to this healthy food to cure their conditions.
The acidic properties of apple cidar vinegar prevent nail fungus from spreading. At the same time, apple cidar vinegar helps to get rid of dead skin cells while killing bacteria and fungi.
Simply mix it with water in equal parts then soak the infected nails for up to 30 minutes in the solution. Repeat this process daily and pat dry the infected nails after soaking.
Another study conducted by Russian researchers showed that a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide had been instrumental in killing off fungus at the radioactive Chernobyl site.
For this remedy, one should simply apply lemon juice on the infected nail for about 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
How To Help Toenail Fungus
Once you have been diagnosed with toenail fungus under your nails, there are several strategies that can help. They can be used independently or together, depending on your circumstances.
One treatment is with anti-fungal medications. These are pills taken by mouth, sometimes for weeks or months. Some people have medical conditions or are taking other medications that make these antifungal pills risky. Others who take them sometimes experience unwanted side effects. In these cases, I recommend other strategies.
Another common treatment for toenail fungus is medicated nail polish. These arent always very effective and must be used for many months. This is because nails are naturally a tough protective barrier. Because the infection is located underneath the nail, this makes it hard for the medication to penetrate through the nail to reach the underlying infection. This is especially true in cases where at least half of the nail is infected.
Both medications and medicated polish are long-term strategies that may be risky for many people, and may not work at all. Plus, treatment with these often takes several months.
This is why I prefer using laser technology. Its safe, quick, and pain-free.
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Why Is The Treatment Necessary
Onychomycosis, leads to discoloration and deformation of the nails. Particular problems include thickening, which may cause pain and make basic nail cutting difficult. In patients with complicating factors, deformed nails can lead to surrounding tissue damage and once again promote secondary bacterial infection. Furthermore, a recent study has highlighted the psychological, social and occupational effects of the condition which appear to have been underestimated by health care professionals for treating the condition.
How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus
To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.
To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.
Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.
Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?
Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.
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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.
Signs Of A Toenail Fungal Infection
- Discolored toenails. Nails can be brown, black, white, or yellow. Usually a small area changes color at first and it slowly spreads.
- Thickened toenails. Over time, the nail becomes thick, material builds up under the nail, and the nail can develop an irregular shape, grooves, or a crumbling appearance.
- Affects one or more toenails. The fungus may spread to other toenails. The big toe is most commonly affected. The fungus can also occur in fingernails.
- Starts at the end or side of the toenail. The infection gradually spreads toward the cuticle.
- Usually painless unless there are skin changes or injury to the nail bed or if shoes press on the thick nail.
- Athletes foot. Some people will also have skin fungus on their feet, which looks like red, peeling skin between the toes.
Patients may say that they are embarrassed to go to the pool or the beach, or they avoid wearing sandals. They describe their nails as thick, crumbling, and abnormally colored. One patient described their nails as looking like an animals horn, which is pretty accurate. But they are so thrilled when they see results from treatment! Dr. Anne Jacobsen
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What Causes Toenail Fungus And How To Prevent It
Unfortunately, the warm and moist environment inside your shoe can make you vulnerable to fungal infections. When these occur on the toenail, doctors call the condition onychomycosis. Fungal skin infections commonly called athletes foot can often affect the foot as well.
One of the you get a fungal toenail infection is when fungus invades small cracks in your toenail. Some people are at greater risk for this occurring, including those with:
- circulation problems, especially related to the feet
- history of injury, surgery, or damage to the nail
- impacted immune system function
How Do I Know If I Have A Fungal Nail Infection
Because other infections can affect the nail and mimic symptoms of a fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see a doctor. Theyll take a scraping of the nail and look under a microscope for signs of fungus.
In some cases, your doctor may send the sample to a lab for analysis and identification.
Over-the-counter products arent usually recommended to treat nail infections since they dont provide reliable results. Instead, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, such as:
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Tips For Prevention Of Fungal Nails
Nail fungus causes only 50% of abnormal-appearing nails. It can be hard to tell the difference between the different causes of discolored nails . Onychomycosis is often not treated. Reasons to receive treatment include
No one knows where a specific person catches the fungus, as it is everywhere. However, since the fungus does thrive in warm moist areas , there are certain areas one should avoid or use with caution. Shower floors, locker rooms, and swimming pools are suspected of being sources of the fungus, although there are no studies proving this fact. Nail polish and acrylic nails also make the nail less “breathable” and make the nail more susceptible to fungal infection. Fungi are everywhere — in the air, the dust, and the soil. Hygienic measures such as spraying socks and footgear sound sensible, and perhaps these measures can even help a little bit. However, avoiding tight, nonbreathing shoes or steering clear of athletic facility floors may very well be the best prevention available. Daily washing of the feet and drying between the toes can help to prevent nail fungus. The fungi carried on the coats of pets, like cats and dogs, don’t often cause nail fungus. Wearing white socks does not help.
What Is Black Toenail Fungus
If you have a dark, thick toenail, it could be toenail fungus, which is usually caused by a type of fungus called dermatophytes. It affects the toenail and the area beneath the nail and causes color changes, thickening, and abnormally shaped nails.
Its fairly common, with at least 12% of American adults diagnosed with it, according to Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. Older adults and people with diabetes, circulation problems, or a weakened immune system are more likely to have toenail fungus.
This infection doesnt usually go away on its own, and it can take a year or more to treat it with prescription medications. These are applied to the nail or taken in pill form.
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Causes Of Toenail Fungus
- Onychomycosis stems from a number of fungal pathogens, primarily a certain group of fungi known as dermatophytes. Other relatively less common carriers of this infection are yeast and mold.
- Your susceptibility to this type of infection increases with age as older people tend to have increasingly brittle and dry nails that may allow the fungus to slip in through the cracks.
- Direct skin-to-skin contact with people grappling with fungal infections like athletes foot or ringworm on their hands can transmit the fungus onto you, paving the way for a toenail infection.
- A warm, moist environment such as a pool deck or a locker room provide the ideal breeding grounds for these infection-causing fungi. Therefore, people who walk barefoot in such areas tend to pick up this infection quite easily.
- Another common way of catching a fungal nail infection is by sharing an infected nail clipper or towel.
- Moreover, people who are prone to having moisture-ridden nails or often wear sweaty socks and shoes are increasingly predisposed to getting a fungal nail infection all by themselves.
Take Care Of Your Toes
Use soap and water to wash your feet, and dry well, including between toes. Trim your toenails — straight across — to keep them shorter than the end of your toe. Make sure the tools you use are clean, too. Wash clippers and files with soap and water, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. You might be tempted to cover up discolored nails with polish, but don’t. Your nail bed can’t “breathe,” which keeps fungus from going away.
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Conditions That May Look Like Toenail Fungus
Several health conditions can affect the appearance of your toenails and may be mistaken for toenail fungus.
Psoriasis Psoriasis can cause red, scaly patches on the skin. More than half of people with skin psoriasis also have it on their nails. Toenails and fingernails affected by psoriasis may be thick, discolored, crumbly, or loose. Some people will have nail changes with psoriasis, and if it affects the matrix , then these changes are permanent, says Sheth.
Skin Cancer A discolored spot underneath a toenail may be a sign of melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. Melanoma under a toenail usually looks like a brown or black streak or may appear similar to a bruise. Although this isnt common, its also not rare, says Sheth. Her advice: Its always good to check it out.
Darier Disease This genetic disorder typically causes yellowish, wartlike blemishes on the body. However, some people with Darier disease also have fingernail or toenail irregularities, such as nails that are marked with red and white streaks, according to Genetics Home Reference. Sheth notes, however, that shes never had a biopsy come back with a diagnosis of Darier disease.
What Is The Anatomy Of The Nail
To have a better understanding of how fungal nail infection affects the nail, a general knowledge of the anatomy of the nail is helpful . The nail, or nail unit, consists of the following parts:
- The nail matrix is where nail cells multiply and keratinize before being incorporated into the fingernail or toenail. Most of the matrix is not visible. The matrix starts under the skin 5 mm below the nail fold and covers the area called the lunula, or half moon .
- The cuticle is a fold of modified skin where the finger or toe meets the nail. The cuticle protects the matrix from infection.
- The nail plate is the nail itself.
- The nail bed is the soft tissue underneath the nail, anchoring the nail plate. The nail plate protects the nail bed.
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What Is Black Fungus Under Toenail
Patients routinely ask us, what is black fungus under the toenail?
- Black fungus under the toenail is caused by a toenail fungus-infected toenail detaching from the skin.
- This can usually result from the rupture of the small blood vessels called capillaries.
- When the capillaries rupture, they will create bleeding between the toenail and the skin.
- This small amount of blood flow between the nail and the underlying skin will eventually turn black and form a scab.
- This prevents the toenail from re-attaching to the skin.
- This essentially results in a dead toenail.
- Watch the video below to see how to fix black fungus under the toenails.
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.
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Does Toenail Fungus Turn Black After Death
Toenail fungus does usually turns black after the death of the nail.
If there is not enough blood flow, the toenail will usually start to rise and turn black.
This can usually create a foul toenail odor and cause the toenail to decay. This can contribute to foot odor.
A dead toenail will eventually be overrun with bacteria and toenail fungus.
The recommended treatment is to come to see a great toenail fungus podiatrist such as us if you are in Michigan!
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.
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Distal And Lateral Subungual Onychomycosis:
Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis are seen in majority of cases and is almost always due to dermatophyte infection. It affects the hyponychium, often at the lateral edges initially, and spreads proximally along the nail bed resulting in subungual hyperkeratosis and onycholysis although the nail plate is not initially affected. Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis may be confined to one side of the nail or spread sideways to involve the whole of the nail bed, and progresses relentlessly until it reaches the posterior nail fold. Eventually the nail plate becomes friable and may break up, often due to trauma, although nail destruction may be related to invasion of the plate by dermatophytes that have keratolytic properties. Examination of the surrounding skin will nearly always reveal evidence of tinea pedis. Toenail infection is an almost inevitable precursor of fingernail dermatophytosis, which has a similar clinical appearance although nail thickening is not as common.
Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections
Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.
Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.
Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:
- washing your hands after touching infected nails
- drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
- getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
- avoiding being barefoot in public places
- reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish
Products to help you avoid nail fungus
If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:
About Fungal Nail Infection
Many people develop a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. It’s not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and difficult to treat.
The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted.
Toenails are more frequently affected than the fingernails.
The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.