Toenail fungus: Symptoms, causes, and treatments
There are many types of fungal infections in different parts of our body. One of these is on the nails, specifically toenail fungus. In this article, we’ll be discussing what toenail fungus is and what its causes, signs, and treatments are.
What is toenail fungus?
Also called “Onychomycosis”, toenail fungus is a type of widespread fungal infection that affects the toenails. This condition makes them weaker, less
Causes of toenail fungus
Generally, fungi live and thrive in damp, warm areas, this usually makes them overpopulate. Here are some possible causes of toenail fungus:
- Constantly wearing shoes with damp feet
- Not wearing socks when using closed shoes such as sneakers.
- Contracted from another person who already has toenail fungus
- Living in a hot and humid environment
- Sign of a more serious medical condition
- Getting your feet wet constantly
- Walking barefoot in public areas(such as swimming pools and locker rooms)
Signs of toenail fungus
- Thicker nails
- Toenails having a change in color(yellow to brown shades)
- Nails are separating from the nail bed
- Brittle or weak toenails
- Having a buildup of dirt under your toenails
- Having a faint, unpleasant smell.
Treatment and prevention
Your doctor will examine your nails. He or she may also grab some nail clippers or scrape the debris under the nails and send the sample to a lab to determine the type of fungus that caused the infection.
Medicated nail polish
There is a medicated type of nail polish called “Ciclopirox”. This nail polish is applied to infected nails and surrounding skin once a day. After 7 days, you will need to wipe off the buildup with alcohol and start a new application.
Medicated nail cream
Some doctors will recommend using a medicated nail cream for your toenail fungus, but you might need to trim or thin your nails first so your nails can absorb the medicated nail cream to treat the infected area.
Oral antifungal medicines are usually the first choice because it is more effective than topical antifungal medicines. This type of medicine helps new nails grow free of infection, slowly replacing the infected part with a new nail. The usual duration for oral antifungal medication lasts about 12 weeks with nails completely growing back and replacing the infected nail.
Trimming your nails
Personal hygiene is very important and should be taken as a priority for self-care, taking care of ourselves can help prevent and/or treat some issues. Part of self-hygiene is cutting your nails regularly. When your nails are already infected, trimming your nails can reduce the pain from the infection. This is best when done before putting on a layer of topical antifungal medicine.
In some cases, surgery is needed. A doctor may recommend temporary nail removal so that he or she can apply antifungal medication directly to the infection under the nail. Some fungal nail infections do not respond to medication. If the infection is severe or extremely painful, your doctor may recommend permanent nail removal.