At the first glance, toenail fungus does not seem to be a serious disease, but it as soon as it develops, symptoms can drive anyone mad. Find out what causes the malaise, how to treat and prevent it.
What is toenail fungus?
This is an infective diseases triggered by fungus (microscopic bacteria). It is transmitted via contact with affected objects or surfaces by getting into human body through wounds or cracks in nails. Why it often reveals on toes? This area provides perfect conditions for fungus – constant warmth and humidity. The problem itself initially manifests into change of nail color (it turns yellow) and thickening of nail bed. Pains may also be experienced.
Curiously, different species of fungi affect different nail parts. But when disease is left untreated, it is likely to spread over skin and other toenails.
Defining fungus is an easy thing. Check for the following telltale signs:
- Nails become yellow.
- They get thicker, but break often.
- A white dot that gets bigger may appear under the nail.
- Toenails may also change their shape.
- If fungus is severe, it may break nail apart from the inside.
- Dryness and reddening of skin around affected area.
- Athlete’s foot – damage of zones between skin and a toenail.
- Loss of nail gloss.
If discoloration takes place, the disease may not be treated. But when accompanied by pains and infection outbreak, it should be examined by a doctor.
What are the roots of toenail fungus?
The infection is caused by dermatophyte fungus and other kinds of mold. To catch it, you don’t have to be in direct contact with infected people – it is transmitted by little spores through air and water. People often get contaminated when:
- Visiting public swimming pools, sauna or bath-houses and walking without slippers;
- Wearing uncomfortable shoes that prevent natural aeration of feet;
- Walking barefoot on the street, beach, and public places (for instance, hospitals or check-in in airports).
What triggers infection outbreak?
Children and elderly people are prone to the disease because of weaker immune system. Another thing that contributes to fungus is wearing of shoes produced from artificial materials: they prevent natural aeration and promote more perspiration and wetting.
How to cure toenail fungus?
Ways to get rid of toenail fungus
Noticed symptoms of disease? You can either try to treat with over-the-counter medicine, or consult with a doctor. The second option is preferable – you will get high-quality help and learn how to defeat the malaise quickly and safely.
As a rule, doctors prescribe the following medications:
- Oral antifungal drugs. They kills microbes and fungus and decrease the speed of their reproduction, promoting faster nail growth. Such cure is taken 2-3 months, or even more until infestation is eliminated completely).
- Antifungal nail polish that contains ciclopirox. It is supposed to be applied on affected nail and skin every day. Each layer is wiped away weekly. It prevents affected area from infection down the road, and increases visual aesthetics of it. This type of treatment may require a year!
- Antifungal cream is often used as an alternative: it reaches deep nail and skin layers, killing fungus and slowing down nail damage.
- Coconut oil is a good home-made remedy. It should be rubbed into nail surface every day (if is it not covered with polish).
Nail removal is a drastic measure required in cases of severe infection and pains. However, sometimes it helps to stop the disease and get rid of fungus entirely.