Nail fungus infection can affect any person at any age. This is a common condition which is also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium. According to medical estimates, around 3 percent and 12 percent of the population tend to be affected at some point. It is a condition that is common among older people and those who have compromised immune systems.
Signs and Symptoms
The first sign of the fungus is a white or yellow spot found underneath the tip of your toenails. More signs will show once the infection worsens. These include nail discoloration, the nails becoming crumbly, thick, and brittle. At times, the nail may lift off the nail bed and give off a foul smell. It can be painful and uncomfortable to walk too. The fungus can affect several nails although not all of them. The fungus infection may cause mild symptoms at first and only bring about an unsightly appearance of the nail. When you notice these symptoms, it’s the best time to seek a nail fungus treatment to avoid the growth and spread of the fungus.
Microscopic organisms that are known as fungi are responsible for nail fungus infection. They thrive in warm and moist areas and don’t need sunlight to survive. The most common group of fungi that causes nail infection is the dermatophytes such as Candida. Yeasts and molds also cause nail infections. These pathogens that cause the nail infection often enter the skin by way of tiny cuts and also small spaces between the nail and the nail bed.
There are a couple of risk factors that could make people more susceptible to incurring nail fungus infection. These include the following: poor blood circulation in the legs which can be caused by medical conditions like diabetes peripheral arterial disease (PAD), weak immune system, another fungal infection like athlete’s foot, genetics, damaged nail beds, skin conditions such as psoriasis, wearing dirty and too-tight closed-toe shoes, and exposure to places that are warm and moist like public swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms.
It takes time, effort, and money to treat a nail fungal infection. Treatment is a long and tedious process. Most of the time prescription-based oral antifungals are given to those with nail fungus infection. Examples of these oral antifungals are terbinafine, fluconazole, and itraconazole. Topical treatments are also available. The doctor usually prescribes medicated nail creams and ointments for nail fungus infection. You can also find over-the-counter creams and ointments but are known to be less effective than the prescribed ones. For extreme cases, the doctor may recommend a nail removal through laser or by chemical application.
Some people prefer to use home remedies particularly those who are experiencing only minor symptoms of the nail infection. These home remedies are more accessible and affordable. Most of them can be found in your home or the kitchen as a common ingredient. Some examples of these home remedies are Vicks VapoRub, oregano oil, garlic, snakeroot extract, apple cider vinegar, Epsom salt, and others. These have shown potential clinical effects as nail fungus treatments.