People often experience toenail fungus infections apart from the usual bumps and bruises. This is so because we live with microorganisms like fungi, yeasts, and molds. Many of such microorganisms don’t bother us. However, there are some of these that tend to overgrow. This causes an infection, which brings with it a lot of symptoms. This is the scenario when you are having a toenail fungal infection.
What is it?
Onychomycosis is the other term for toenail fungus. It is the umbrella term for a couple of microorganisms that can infect one or more of your toenails. The infection is often caused by a crack, cut, or an opening close to your toenail that allows fungi to enter and spread, causing an infection. Toenail fungus infection can range from mild to severe. It can affect one or multiple nails and cause pain and a foul smell when it is left untreated and becomes worse.
What are the different types of toenail fungus?
There are three varying types of toenail fungus: candida onychomycosis, distal subungual onychomycosis, and white superficial onychomycosis. Yeasts and molds are to blame for toenail fungus infections. The most common type of mold is dermatophytes which feed off keratin from hair follicles and nails. This is known as distal subungual onychomycosis, which causes 60 percent of toenail infections.
Another kind of mold is white superficial onychomycosis, which is a non-dermatophyte. This starts to infect the nail’s top layer instead of the follicles. Candida onychomycosis, on the other hand, is caused by yeast overgrowth. This is the least common type of toenail fungus.
What are the symptoms of a toenail fungus infection?
There can be various symptoms of toenail fungus infections but the most common ones are nail thickening and crumbling, unusually shaped nails, nail turning yellow, white, or brown, nail separation from the nail bed, pain in the infected nail, foul smell from the affected nail, abnormal or frequent nail breakage. The different types of toenail infections have different symptoms. Yeast infections may cause pain but not molds. Distal subungual onychomycosis may cause a buildup of debris under the nail but white superficial onychomycosis may cause white spots or patches on the nail surface.
How is the toenail fungal infection diagnosed?
Your doctor will check your nails and may take some nail clippings or scrape off some debris underneath the nail and send it to a lab to determine the type of fungus that causes the infection. It is important to diagnose the infection since other conditions have similar symptoms such as eczema and psoriasis.
How is a toenail fungus infection treated?
A toenail fungal infection is difficult to treat especially at home and when the infection has gotten worse. Doctors prescribe an oral-systemic antifungal medication like Lamisil taken once daily. It is said to cure around 75 percent of patients while 25 percent will require repeat treatment or nail removal. If you opt not to take the oral medication, your doctor can also prescribe a topical treatment that can take longer to cure and with a lower cure rate of 25 percent to 30 percent.
For those who suffer from a mild toenail infection, a home remedy can work. These have fewer side effects, but most of them have a 10 percent cure rate. With a bit of patience and determination, you can see results after weeks of using this type of treatment. Some patients claim to have been helped by the application of Vicks VapoRub, tea tree oil, and amber-colored Listerine. It’s important to give your nails more TLC when you do home remedies. Keep your area clean and dry all the time to prevent the further spread of the infection.
1The Purely Northwest Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak with Epsom Salt
You can find over-the-counter treatments that can be used as a home remedy. One of these is the Purely Northwest Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak with Epsom Salt. This nail fungus treatment has been known to get rid of bacteria and fungus. It contains an extra blend of highly potent ingredients like tea tree oil along with seven other essential oils. Tea tree oil is popular for getting rid of odor-causing fungi and bacteria. Apart from this, it is also mixed with Epsom salt and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), leaving your feet truly refreshed and your toenails free from fungus. The Purely Northwest Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak also contains dead sea salt.
You can apply this treatment by following these steps. Get a foot soaking tub and fill it with warm water. Add an ounce which is approximately 1 ½ tablespoon of foot soak for each gallon of water. Stir using your hands until the Epsom salt and MSM dissolve. Soak your feet in the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. Add more salt to the mixture for a more stringent and aromatic foot soak. It’s preferable to do this at night and with the help of a pumice stone. It’s also a great way to do away with your callused skin. After soaking your feet, apply a thin layer of the nail blend on the infected area daily. Doing so will nourish your brittle nails and cuticles.
Let’s try to look at the health benefits of this nail blend’s primary ingredients. Tea tree oil may be used in several skin complaints such as acne which is the most common skin condition. Participants in a study done to treat acne using tea tree oil showed improvement in both the number of acne and its severity. Tea tree oil is also known to treat dandruff and cradle cap. Mild to moderate dandruff brought about by Pityrosporum ovale can be treated with the use of 5 percent tea tree oil. This is based on one study.
Epsom salt, on the other hand, helps promote sleep and stress reduction. Adequate magnesium levels are important for sleep and stress management. Epsom salt baths can help by allowing the body to absorb magnesium easily through the skin. Some people also claim that Epsom salt can help reduce muscle soreness and help get rid of cramps. These two are important facets for exercise performance and recovery.