Understanding Nail Fungus (Onychomycosis)

Nail fungus is a common condition that beings as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection spreads deeper, nail fungus may cause nail discoloration, thine and crumble at the edge. It can affect several nails but normally not all of them.
If your condition is mild and not causing issues, you may not need treatment. If you nail fungus is painful and has caused thickened nails, there are self-care steps, and medications may help. Although even if treatment is successful, nail fungus can often return.
Nail fungus is also referred to as onychomycosis (oh-in-koh-my-KOH-sis) and tinea unguium. When the fungus affects the areas between your toes and your feet, its called athlete’s foot (linea pedis).

Symptoms

  • You may have nail fungus if one or more of your nails exhibit the following signs:
  • Thickened
  • Dull, with no shine
  • Distorted shape
  • Dark color, caused by debris accumulating under your nail
  • Brittle, crumbly or ragged nails
  • Infected nails may also separate from the nail bed; this condition is called onycholysis. You may feel pain in your toes or fingertips, and there could be a slightly foul order.

When should you see a doctor?
You may want to see a physician if self-care steps have not assistance, You should also see your doctor if you have diabetes and think you are developing nail fungus.

What are the Causes of Nail fungus
Dermatophyte fungi primarily cause nail fungal infection. Test and mold also can responsible for nail fungal infections.
What are fungi?
Fungi are microscopic organisms that do not need sunlight to survive. Some fungi have beneficial uses. However, others cause infection and illnesses. Fungi:

  1. Live in moist, warm environments, including showers and swimming pools.
  2. Can cause problems if your nails are often exposed to warm and moist conditions
  3. Can invade your skin through cuts and opening so small that you can see them enter your skin through a small separation between the nail and the nail bed.

Toenail vs. Fingernail Fungi – Nail fungus occurs more often in toenails than in fingernails for a few reasons including:
Toenail are often in the dark, warm most environments, inside your shower where fungi can thrive.
Toes normally will have less blood flow than your fingers, so it makes it harder for you body’s immune system to detect and stop infection.

Risk Factors of Developing Nail fungus are:

  • Being older, so you will have less blood flow, more years of exposure to fungi and slower growing nails
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Having a minor nail or skin injury or skin condition, such as psoriasis
  • Being Male, with a family history or nail fungal infections.
  • Working in most or humid environments or jobs where your hand is often wet such as housekeeping or bar-tending.
  • Having diabetes, with blood circulation problems, causing a weaker immune system or in children, down syndrome.
  • Having athletes foot
  • Living with someone who has nail fungus.
  • Wearing shoes and socks that prevent ventilation with absorbing precipitation
  • Walking barefoot in damp communal areas, such as gyms, showers pools, and gyms

Complications with Nail fungus
In severe cases of nail fungus, there can be pain and cause permanent damage to your nails. You may have other serious infections that spread beyond your feet If you have suppressed immune systems due to diabetes, medication or other conditions.
If you have diabetes, you may have reduced blood circulation and nerve supply to your feet; You are also more risk of a developing a bacterial skin infection (cellulitis). So any relatively small injury to your feet, including a nail fungal infection can trigger a more serious complication. You should see your doctor if you have diabetes and think you are developing nail fungus.

Test and Diagnosis
Your doctor will likely examine your nails initially. He or she may also scrape some debris from underneath the nail and send it to a lab to determine the type of fungus causing the infection.
Other conditions such as psoriasis can mimic a fungal infection o the nail. Microorganisms such set and bacteria also can infect nails. If you know the cause of the infection, this will help determine the best type of treatment option.

Treatments and drugs

If you are doing self-care and over the counter, nonprescription products have not improved, your doctor may recommend a combination fo prescription medications and other treatments. However even if you find improvement from your sign and symptoms, repeat infections tend to occur.
medications

  • Oral antifungal drugs. Your doctor may designate an oral antifungal drug. Studies indicate the most effective treatments are itraconazole (Sporanox) and terbinafine(Lamisil) this medication help a new nail grow fee of induction, slowly replacing the infected parts.
  • Typically you will take this type of drugs six to 23 weeks. However, you likely will not see results of treatment until the nail grows back completely. It may take up to four months or longer to eliminate an infection.
  • Treatment success rate with these types of the drug appears to be lower for auld over the ages 65. Moreover, treatment progress seems to improve when you combine oral and topical antifungal therapies.
  • Oral antifungal drugs may trigger side effects ranging from skin rashes to liver damage. You may require blood test sometimes to evaluate on how you are doing with these types of medications. Doctors may not recommend them for people taking other-other medication .or with liver disease, or congestive heart failure

Medicated Nail Polish
Your physician may prescribe an antifungal nail polish referred to as ciclopirox (Penlac), You polish it on your infected nails and encompassing skin once a day. After seven days, you wipe the layers clean with alcohol and start fresh applications. You may need o use this type of nail polish daily for a year.
Medical nail care. You doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream, which you rub into your infected nails after shocking. These cream wok better if you thin the nails. This helps the medicine get through the hard nail surface into the underlying fungus.

To thin the nails, you can apply an over-the-counter (nonprescription) lotion contain urea. Alternatively, your doctor may thin the surface of the nail by debriding with a file or another thinning tool.

Surgical Procures and Therapy
Nail removal. If you nail infection is so severe or is causing extreme pain, then your doctor may advise removing your nail. A new nail usually grows in its place. However, it will come in slowly and may take as long as a year to grow back fully. Sometimes surgery is used in conjunction with ciclopirox to treat the nail bed.
Laser and light-based therapies. More research is needed, but this method, alone or with medication may help your nails improve. One study tested the effectiveness of carbonite laser theory combined with antifungal nail cream. Most of the 24 people within the study benefited from the treatment.
Laser and light- base therapies are not available everywhere, are expensive, and often are not covered by insurance.

Prevention

  • Wash your hand and feet frequently and keep your nails dry and short. Use soap and water to wash your hand and fit, rinse and dry thoroughly, including between the toes. You should trim your nails straight across and file down thickened areas.
  • You should wear socks that absorb sweat. Fabrics are that are effective a wicking away moisture include nylon, a polypropylene as well as wool. You should change your socks often, specifically when you have sweaty feet.
  • Chose a shoe that reduces humidity. It helps to occasion take off your shoes or wear open-toe footwear.
  • Get rid of old shoes If possible avoid wearing old shoes in which can hold fungi and cause infection. Use disinfectant and antifungal powders
  • Use anti-fungal powders and sprays. Sprinkle inside your shoes and on your feet.
  • DO not use nail polish on artificial nails although it nay be tempting to hide nail fungal infection under a coat of polish; it can trap undesired moisture and infection, making it worst
  • Clean your hands after touching an infected nail; the fungus can spread from nail to nail.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from overexposure to water. Between using the gloves, turn the gloves inside out to dry.
  • Do not pick at the skin or trim the around your nail. This will give germ additional access to the skin and nails/
  • Do not walk barefoot in public areas, wear shoes and sandals around shower, pools and locker rooms.
  • Choose a good nail salon. Make sure they use sterilized instruments for your manicure and pedicure or bring your equipment.