Onychomycosis

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What Is Onychomycosis

Onychomycosis, or nail fungus, is really widespread nowadays. The disease starts with white or yellow stains on the tips of the nails. It can destroy nails both on feet and hands. As the infection develops, nails lose their color, thicken and start to crumble. The disease develops as a rule on one nail, but it can easily spread to others and affect the space between fingers. If the nail infection doesn’t cause you any troubles – it can be ignored. But in case it gives you pain and there are certain changes in nail color or looks, the disease should be regarded carefully.

Nail fungus.jpg

Symptoms and causes of the nail fungus • Thickening • Deformation • Depigmentation • Darkening • No gloss • Brittleness, jagged edges • Onycholysis • Awful smell

It’s highly recommended to visit a dermatologist if all initial attempts to cure the disease failed.

Onychomycosis is caused by a special fungus, so called dermatophyte. A person can get infected with it in several ways:

• while visiting public saunas, beaches, swimming pools barefoot • in case there are tiny sores or cuts on the skin surface • as a result of nail detachment • in case of often staying in warm humid environment

It should be noted that toes’ nails tend to get infected more often, as the disease in this case appears as a result of wearing warm socks, unfit shoes. In this case blood circulation is violated and thus immune system can’t detect and kill the infection.

Who is in the risk group?

There are several cases in which the risk of getting fungus infection increases.

• Age after 50 • Excessive sweating • Nail fungus is a spread disease among relatives • Professions that are connected with being in the environments with increased humidity • Wearing shoes made of unnatural materials or socks that do not let air ventilation • Diagnosed feet dermatophytosis • Damaged nail plate • Psoriasis • Often and intense contacts with the people who suffer nail fungus • Low immune reaction • Circulation disturbance • Down syndrome (for children)


Possible complications of nail fungus

Onychomycosis is dangerous as it can provoke a row of various complications. As a rule they are other types of infections that are caused by the most severe case of fungus infection. You can suspect complications if you feel pain in toes or fingers, nails look like bird’s claw.

Other types of infection can also affect person’s body if his immune system works improperly or if he suffers other serious illnesses. That is why it’s so important to pay a visit to a dermatologist urgently as soon as the first symptoms of nail fungus appear.


Onychomycosis: diagnostics and traditional treatment

During the visit a doctor will traditionally examine damaged nail plate. Maybe he will also send a small piece of nail to the lab in order to determine the type of fungus. The problem is that some diseases, for example, psoriasis, can have similar symptoms as the nail fungus. The accurate diagnosis will permit to pick up the most successful and appropriate treatment course.

There are several types of drugstore treatments

Antifungal agents As the most up-to-date studies show, the most effective treatments from nail fungus nowadays are Terbinafine and Itraconazole. These medicines increase the growth of healthy nail and thus gradually replace the damaged pieces. The course is 6-12 weeks.

Antifungal ointment Apart from the medicines that person takes inside there are special ointments that doctor may prescribe in case of onychomychosis. It depends on the general condition of person’s organism. If the sick person has some problems with liver, it’s not recommended to use strong medication. Ointment should be gently applied and rubbed in the nail plate damaged by fungus until it is fully absorbed. Before this it’s necessary to keep your nails in hot water for 20-30 minutes.

Extreme measures and self-care

There are cases when it’s impossible to cure onychomychosis for a long time with the help of noninvasive methods. In this situation doctor may offer his patient to remove the damaged nail plate. As a rule this procedure is accompanied by taking Ciclopirox in order to cure the nail plate. A new nail will grow for one year.

One more way to cure fungus is to apply laser to the damaged surface. The studies of this method are still under go, but there are plenty of positive responses about this procedure.

But, prior to addressing to such radical measures, it’s worth trying home self-treatment. Drugstores offer a great variety of special treatments for this nowadays. As soon as you notice the first signs of the disease, remove white stains from the nails and treat these parts with some antifungal treatment.

Don’t forget about hygiene rules as well: take care of your nails on hands and feet duly and keep your feet always dry.

Useful sites

fungus-fight.com - Treatment of toenail onychomycosis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88888/ - Dermatophytoses of the fingernails and toenails