Editorial Note On The Review Process
F1000 Faculty Reviews are commissioned from members of the prestigiousF1000 Faculty and are edited as a service to readers. In order to make these reviews as comprehensive and accessible as possible, the referees provide input before publication and only the final, revised version is published. The referees who approved the final version are listed with their names and affiliations but without their reports on earlier versions .
The referees who approved this article are:
Evan Rieder, The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
No competing interests were disclosed.
Chris G. Adigun, Dermatology & Laser Center of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
No competing interests were disclosed.
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.
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Best Ways To Treat A Nail Fungus
Nail fungus can cause thick, discolored nails, and, for some patients, it can even be painful. An Internet search will bring up plenty of ways to treat the condition, but which ones are best? Dermatologist Dr. Christopher Hull discusses what nail fungus actually is, why its so hard to get rid of, and which treatments work best.
Who Is Most Likely To Develop Fungal Infections
Men are at a higher risk of developing fungal infections as compared to women. The reason is their poorer immunity as compared to women as the only fighting factor that prevents fungus from occurring in the immune system and women are said to have a stronger immune system than men.
Older people have more chances of developing finger and toenail infections. This is due to their poor circulation system as our antibodies are present in blood so a poorer circulation speed will result in the rate at which antibodies reach the target site to be slowed down. Besides that, our nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.
People suffering from diabetes develop foot infections more often. Because the healing power of people suffering from diabetes is affected drastically due to their abnormal blood sugar level. Risen sugar levels result in poor immunity thus more prone to bacterial infections.
Moreover, if you regularly wear artificial nails or apply nail polish that is shared with several people or have a nail injury the chances of bacteria attacking and causing an infection are more likely. Also, swimming in public swimming pools, visiting swampy, high moisture places and wearing closed shoes such as boots and tennis shoes and gloves will cause fingernails and toenails to develop a fungal infection.
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Toenail Fungus Treatment Options
Toenail fungus treatment can vary based on the infections severity. If caught early enough, oral or topical medication may be effective. However, these medications may need to be taken or applied for at least three months.
If medication is not effective, and for more severe cases, temporary or permanent removal of the toenail may be necessary. One of the easiest and safest ways to remove the infection is with a toenail fungus laser treatment. During this painless procedure, the laser targets the fungus under the nail bed. It quickly alleviates the associated pain, prevents the spread of the infection to other areas, and restores healthy nail growth. Some clients require only one treatment to completely remove the fungus, while others may need multiple treatments.
A benefit of the laser fungus removal treatment method is that there is no downtime. It may take a few months for the nail to return to its healthy, normal state, but you can resume normal activities right after the appointment.
To learn more about laser fungus removal and to determine if this treatment is right for you or your family, contact the professionals at Arizona Foot Doctors.
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No need to hide your toes while waiting for your treatment to kick in! New high-tech nail polishes let you add gloss to your tootsies as you quash fungal spores, thanks to their tea tree oil-infused formula. University of California scientists say when used for 16 weeks, this natural antifungal ingredient stamps out nail fungus as well as an Rx! One to try: Dr.s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Womans World.
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What Is A Fungal Infection
Fungus, plural fungi is a class of organisms with over 144,000 known species. Fungus holds great importance for the environment and medical sector. Fungi are considered as one of the most widely distributed organisms worldwide Some are found free-living in soil or water others from parasitic or symbiotic relationships with plants or animals. Some common examples of fungi include Mushroom, mildews and mold. However, not all types of fungi are harmful but some can cause severe suffering for human beings and other living organisms.
Fungal infections are common all over the world and it only occurs when an invading fungus captures over the human body and the immune system of human is too weak to combat. Fungi are populated in our environment and are found flying freely in the atmosphere, they also divide and reproduce in the tiny spores that are present in the air. These fungi that are not visible to eh naked eye can enter into the human body through our respiratory system and can land inside to form a parasitic relationship within our lungs, throat, liver or any other hospitable part of the body causing a severe infection. In some cases, fungi also attack the intestines or the genital area of the human body causing severe hazard to health however, almost all the infection caused by fungus are curable with proper care and treatment.
What Is The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus is common, its usually not harmful. Symptoms mostly affect the look of your toenail.
Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread.
Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesnt always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns. Discuss the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus with your provider to determine whats best for you.
Practicing good hygiene and foot care reduces the chance toenail fungus will come back. If you have diabetes, getting regular foot exams may help you address foot problems before they get serious.
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Pills For Toenail Fungus Treatment
Oral medications, or those that come in pill form, generally work more quickly than topical medications for toenail fungus treatment. They have higher cure rates and the overall treatment time may be shorter than topical options. Pills to treat toenail fungus, however, will require a prescription. It is also important to note that improvement will continue AFTER oral therapy is stopped, and it may take 9 to 12 months for you to see full results.
The top treatments for toenail fungus are:
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Fluoric Acid A Homeopathic Remedy For Rapidly Growing And Damaged Nails
Homeopathic Fluoric acid provides positive results in cases where the nails are growing very quickly and are crippled. People have fingernails with longitudinal stripes. Nail changes can be related to pain between the toes. A homeopathic remedy Flouring acid may also be prescribed for nail infections with corns that are painful to touch.
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.
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What Is A Fungal Nail Infection
Fungal nail infections are a common problem that can affect any nail, but most often affects the toenails.
They’re caused by the growth of fungal spores that make their way between the toenail and the skin underneath the nail bed. The spores feed off the skin or the keratin in the nail.
The type of fungi responsible for athletes foot, another common foot condition that affects the skin mainly between the toes, can cause the infection to spread to the nails.
More rarely, fungal nail infections can be caused by other types of fungi, usually yeasts, which tend to attack nails that are already damaged because they are easier for the fungi to invade.
How To Treat Fungal Nail Effectively
Owing to the high recurrence rate of fungal nail infections, pharmacy professionals should be able to advise patients on effective treatment and preventative and appropriate self-care strategies to avoid re-infection.
Fungal nail infection is a mycotic infection caused by fungal invasion of the nail structure and is one of the most common nail disorders, representing half of nail abnormalities in adults. Its prevalence in Europe is around 4.3% over all age groups and 15.5% of all nail dystrophies in children. OM is more commonly diagnosed in men and older people, affecting 2050% of people aged over 60 years. An increased incidence among older people may be attributed to multiple factors, including reduced peripheral circulation, diabetes, inactivity, relative immunosuppression, and reduced nail growth and quality. Toenails are affected more commonly than fingernails.
This article will cover the causes, types and treatment of OM, practical information to help guide patient consultations and when to refer to podiatry.
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Side Effects Of Toenail Fungus Medication
One of the many benefits of using a homeopathic remedy is that there are little to no adverse side effects. Topical treatments often prescribed to treat toenail fungus can potentially burn or blister the skin. Oral medications for treating onychomycosis can cause liver or gastrointestinal damage. Be sure to read your medications list of potential side effects. Consult your pharmacist, physician, or specialist if you are concerned about side effects of prescription drugs.
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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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.
Bufo Rana Homeopathic Remedy For An Infection That Makes Nails Blue
Homeopathic Bufo Rana is a highly effective remedy for the cure of fungal infections of toenails that appear bluish or blackish in color. Bufo Rana can be recommended to patients with swollen skin around the nails. Toenail disorders are associated with a deep, nagging pain that ascends all the way to the armpits.
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Treating Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment may not be necessary in mild cases of fungal nail infection. For more severe or troublesome cases, antifungal medication may be recommended.
A fungal nail infection is unlikely to get better without treatment, but if you’re not bothered by it you might decide it’s not worth treating because treatment can take a long time, may cause side effects, and isn’t always effective.
Whether or not you decide to have treatment, you should still follow the self-help advice below to help stop the condition getting worse or spreading to others.
Pathophysiology Of Toenail Fungus
The pathophysiology of a disease refers to the study of changes caused by it to the suffering organ or organism. In the case of toenail and fingernail fungal infections, the pathophysiology of the nail is altered such that it is not able to provide its normal function. The nail becomes distorted, weak and the whole morphology may appear different. The function of the nail is to protect by providing a hard covering to the nail bed. In this case, the affected nail part or even the whole nail fails to do so. This results in weakening of the nail and often times the nail even gets separated from the nail bed.
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What Are The Most Effective Treatments For Toenail Fungus
The experts at Easton Dermatology Associates offer treatment customized to your exact situation, whether youve just noticed an irregularity with your toenail or youve been battling fungus for a while. Treatment options include:
- Prescription oral antifungal medications
- Topical nail cream
- Special antifungal nail polish that allows your nails to breathe
No matter what treatment you adopt, patience is key. It can take several months to clear up toenail fungus because even nails that grow at an average rate dont grow rapidly. We treat your fungus until its a thing of the past, and we also advise you on how to prevent a recurrence.
Its much easier to solve the problem when youre in the early stages of infection, before it becomes too advanced.
Do at either of our locations in Easton or Salisbury, Maryland, so we can start helping you eliminate embarrassing and persistent nail fungus problems ASAP. When next summer rolls around, you can be back in those oh-so-chic sandals!
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