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Fungal Nail - Causes of fungal Infection

In a fungal nail, a fungus grows in and around the fingernail or toenail. This common condition is mainly caused by a patient getting a fungal infection on the feet (for example by walking barefoot in a swimming pool) and the infection then spreads to the nail of the finger / fingers or toe / toes. The patient first has a white or yellow spot under the tip of the fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection worsens, nail discoloration and nail thickening is possible and other nail abnormalities develop. The treatment of fungal nail infection consists of both self-care steps and medication. ZetaClear Nail Fungus Topical Treatment The nail infection often returns despite a successful treatment.

Epidemiology of nail fungus

3-8 out of 100 people are ever affected by fungal infection on the nails. People over 60 are affected, but young people who share communal showers often get onychomycosis. Finally, fungal infections on the nail are more common to toenails than fingernails. Fungi thrive better in dark, warm and humid places.

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Causes of fungal nail infection

Common fungal infections include athlete's foot, lung fungus and ringworm on the skin of the body ( tinea corporis ) or head ( tinea capitis ). Fungal nail infections are the result of different fungal organisms (fungi). The most common cause is the dermatophyte (type fungus) Trichophyton rubrum . But other fungi may also cause infection of the fingernail or toenail such as Candida(yeasts) and non-dermatrophytic fungi. Fungi live on the dead tissues of the hair, the nails and the outer skin layers. A fungal nail infection on the nail often starts after a fungal infection on the feet. Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection of the toes. This spreads to the toenails if the skin infection does not receive early treatment. Fingernail infection occurs after the fungus spreads to the fingernails by scratching the itchy toes.

Risk factors of onychomycosis

The patient gets to deal with a fungal nail more quickly if a number of disorders and environmental factors are present, although the exact risk factor is sometimes not clear.

Symptoms: Discoloration and thickening of toenail or fingernail

Often the infection is only present in one nail, but occasionally several nails have been affected. In the beginning, the patient only has a white or yellow spot under the nail. Over time, the entire nail will have a white, yellow, green or black discolouration . Furthermore, a thicker toenail or thicker fingernail is produced which is difficult to cut. Many patients notice that the nail starts to curl up or comes off the nail bed ( onycholysis ). Fragile nails or cracked nails also occur. The skin next to the nail sometimes also ignites or is scaly. Nail pain does not occur in the first instance, so patients easily ignore this. Untreated, however, a painfulnail. When the infection is severe, the patient also experiences walking problems.

Diagnosis and Research

Other nail abnormalities sometimes resemble a fungal infection on the nail. That is why the doctor usually cuts off a piece of the nail ( biopsy ) and has it examined in the laboratory.

Treatment of tinea unguium

In patients with mild fungal infection, treatment is not always necessary. In case of pain, thickened nails or in patients with a weak immune system or diabetes mellitus (diabetes), a treatment is required.

Oral (mouth-swallowed) antifungal medications or topical (applied to the skin) anti-fungal creams are sometimes needed to heal. Tablets sometimes have side effects including headaches , itching, loss of taste and diarrhea. Pregnant women may also use an antifungal medicine. In severe cases, the doctor may have to remove the nail, so that a healthy new nail can grow. Laser therapy also treats a fungal nail.

Prevention of onychomycosis

Regular washing of the hands and feet is recommended, but this excessive washing is not good because it causes damage to the skin more quickly. The patient always uses soap and ensures that he also cleans the space between the fingers and toes. Cutting the finger and toenails short and straight is important. In addition, it is essential that all tools used in a manicure or pedicure are disinfected after each client. When cutting the nails, the cuticles should not be cut, as this causes small breaks in the skin that let in germs. It is also important not to share towels, scissors or nail clippers that may have been in contact with a patient with a fungal nail infection because this may spread the infection.

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Shoes and socks

Furthermore, the patient always wears well absorbing socks (wets moisture) and slippers in showers of gyms or swimming pools. If the patient suffers from sweaty feet, he swaps the socks once or twice a day or he pulls the shoes off and he lets the feet cool down when he succeeds. Also the use of anti-fungals or anti-fungal spray on the feet and in the shoes is also useful. Old pairs of shoes throw the patient away because these are interesting for fungi.

Prognosis

After an effective treatment the nail infection often comes back (10-50%).

Complications of fungal infection to nails

Serious nail fungus is possibly very painful and causes permanent damage to the nails. In addition, other serious infections sometimes develop outside the feet. This is mainly achieved in patients with a weak immune system through the use of medication, diabetes mellitus or other disorders. Patients with diabetes may have reduced blood circulation and nerve supply in the feet. They run a higher risk of developing the bacterial skin infection cellulite . Diabetics therefore contact the doctor in the event of a minor injury to the nail. An infection of the bone ( osteomyelitis ) is another rare complication.

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