Toenail fungus infection is a common condition that affects toenails and fingernails although it is more prevalent on the toenails. To put it simply, it is an infection that affects the nail bed, nail plate, or both. The nail plate is that part of the nail that can be easily seen. It is hard and translucent. The nail bed is what is underneath the nail plate and what attaches the nail plate to the toe. When such structures are infected, that’s when the infected nails start to show several symptoms. The medical name for toenail or fingernail fungus is onychomycosis. The toenails are ten times more likely to become infected compared to the fingernails. The reason behind this is that blood flow is limited in the toenails and they are slow to grow.
What causes toenail fungus infections?
Most toenail fungal infections are caused by dermatophytes, a particular group of fungi. These organisms survive through keratin, which is the main protein found in nails and skin. These thrive in a warm and damp environment. The most common dermatophyte that causes toenail infection is called Trichophyton. This infection often starts as athlete’s foot, which is a dermatophyte infection of the skin on one’s foot.
What are some common symptoms of toenail fungus infections?
Common toenail fungal infections include the following: the distorted shape of the nail, thickened nail which makes it hard to trim, the nail turning into a brown, white, or yellow, detachment of the nail from the nail bed, the nail becoming split, cracked, brittle, crumbling, or ragged, and a foul smell coming from the infected nail. Toenail infections may not be painful at first but as it becomes worse and the nail is becoming too thick to trim, the pain may develop, making it difficult to walk or wear closed shoes.
How do doctors diagnose toenail fungus infections?
Doctors can diagnose toenail fungal infections by examining the nail. Sometimes, the doctor gets nails scrapings or clippings which will be sent to a lab. The lab will determine the organism that caused the infection. This is necessary to determine the differences between a toenail fungal infection and a skin condition like psoriasis since they both have the same symptoms.
What are some treatments for toenail fungus infections?
Toenail fungal infections are hard to cure. If you have used over-the-counter treatments and they have not been effective, it’s time for you to consult a doctor. Treatment will depend on the kind of organism that causes the infection and how severe the infection is. Treatment may involve any of the following: topical fungal nail medications, oral antifungals, combination therapy, nail removal, and laser therapy. Examples of topical antifungal solutions are medicated creams and lacquer for toenail fungi such as amorolfine (Curanail, Loceryl, others), efinaconazole (Jublia), and ciclopirox (Penlac). They can be applied to the nail like regular nail polish.
Oral antifungal pills work faster than topical solutions. Treatment can take up to twelve weeks. Examples of these are itraconazole (Sporanox), fluconazole (Diflucan), terbinafine (Lamisil), and griseofulvin (Fulvicin).
At times the doctor may combine both oral and topical treatments for toenail fungal infections. If the infection gets worse, the doctor may recommend a total nail removal. This can be done through minor surgery or chemical treatment.
1Alternative Medication: Olive Oil and Garlic Mix
Some people prefer to do some home remedies for treating toenail fungus infections. There are many over-the-counter medicated creams, ointments, and gels that can be used at home. Some herbs and spices may also be used as natural cures for nail fungal infections. Some mixtures, foot soaks, oil blends, and other alternative treatments can be applied as nail fungus treatment. An example of these is olive oil and garlic mix.
Garlic has several multiple nutritional properties. It is a natural fungicide that is power-packed with nutrients that help boost one’s immune system. When you eat this, it gives you a lot of health benefits, but when you use it as a nail fungal treatment, you need to use this differently.
Other various health benefits and uses of garlic include improvement of blood pressure, lower cholesterol level, reduced risk of heart disease, treatment for colds and flu, improve athletic performance, stronger bones, improved memory, and better and younger-looking skin.
Olive oil is also known to possess multiple health benefits. It is packed with a lot of healthy fatty acids that are commonly absent in a modern-day diet.
Other health benefits of olive oil include the prevention of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and heart disease. It also helps reduce one’s cholesterol level and the buildup of fat in the liver for people who don’t drink alcohol. This is a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. This type of oil is also known to help with obesity when it is added as part of a low-calorie diet. Regular consumption of olive oil is also known to decrease pain caused by osteoarthritis and also improve their bodily functions.
Both garlic and olive oil have to be used appropriately for you to enjoy their multiple health benefits. Each one may also have its own side effects when used inappropriately. There are associated precautions as well to its consumption particularly for pregnant and breastfeeding women and those who may have other medical conditions. They may also interact with certain types of medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and others. Be mindful of the proper dosage for these medications too.
To prepare the toenail fungal treatment mix, start by mashing as well as crushing the garlic clove. This can be done with the garlic cruncher or any regular fork to deal with this. After crushing it, get a knife and cut this into several small slices. Make these as small as they can be.
You can simply put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil inside a bowl. Throw the garlic into it and stir thoroughly for a few minutes. Do so until it appears as homogenous as possible. Apply such a combination to the affected area daily. You will notice improvement on the infected nail after a couple of weeks.