Nail fungus is a common condition. It is often considered a cosmetic condition. It is an infection that is caused by an active live fungus that has taken space under your fingernail or toenail. This fungus grows and spreads by consuming your skin and nails. The medical name of the toenail infection is onychomycosis.
It all starts as a yellow or white spot. When the infection gets deeper into the nails, symptoms start to occur such as nail discoloration, distorted nails, crumbly nails with jagged edges, In some cases, the nails may also separate from the nail beds. The infection is not painful unless it becomes severe. Some people who suffer from toenail fungal infections also suffer from skin fungus infections on the feet, particularly in between the toes.
Who Gets Infected?
Anyone is susceptible to a toenail fungus infection. However, some people are more likely to get infected by nail fungus, and these include older adults who may be having the following conditions: diabetes, a nail injury or surgery, blood circulation issues, athlete’s foot or ringworm, and a weakened immune system.
There are some things you can do to keep your hands and feet dry and clean. Make sure to clip your fingernails and toenails short and to keep all these clean. Avoid walking barefoot in warm and moist areas like lockers rooms, gyms, swimming pools, and public showers. Refrain from sharing the nail clippers with other people. When visiting a salon, choose one that is clean and has a license from the cosmetology board. Make sure that the salon sterilizes the tools and instruments it uses or you may opt to bring your own.
A healthcare provider can provide a diagnosis of nail fungal infection by assessing the infected nail and asking about the symptoms. It may also be necessary to get a nail clipping, which can be observed under the microscope or be sent to a laboratory for a fungal culture.
Treatment of the infection depends on the type of fungus causing it and the level of severity. For a more aggressive nail fungus treatment, your dermatologist may prescribe oral antifungals. This type of treatment has a higher rate of efficacy than medicine that you apply to the nail. Antifungal pills can work faster than medicine applied to the nails. The following are systemic medications approved by the FDA for treating nail fungus infections: Griseofulvin, Terbinafine, Fluconazole, and Itraconazole.
For those who have mild toenail fungal infections, a medication that can be applied to the nails can eliminate the infection. The following are the prescribed medical medications that can be applied topically: Amorolfine, Efinaconazole, Tavaborole, and Ciclopirox.
For severe nail fungus infections, the doctor may prescribe a complete nail removal to eliminate the infection. The following are the techniques needed to remove the nail: surgical nail removal and nonsurgical nail removal. These methods of nail removal can be done in a clinic or a medical office. With each procedure, the nail can grow back.
Researchers have been looking for innovative ways to remove the infection. One of these is through the use of light treatments and lasers.
At times it may be necessary to use combined therapy in getting rid of the infection.
1Home Remedy: Goldenseal
For those who are experiencing mild infections, home remedies are often considered. These are more accessible and affordable. One of these remedies is goldenseal. Goldenseal is a popular herb that has been used by Native Americans for hundreds of years and it has been believed as a cure-all magic herb.
As a treatment for toenail fungus, you can have a goldenseal herbal tincture. Make sure that you follow the instructions on how to take the tincture. You have to take the tincture 10 minutes before every meal three times a day. Before you take the tincture, you have to consult your physician first.
Another way of treating nail fungus infection is through mixing pau d’arco tea with the contents of 4 goldenseal capsules. You have to soak your feet in the mix twice every day. Add goldenseal and thyme in a foot bath made of water. Dry your feet after soaking, then rub your feet in a mixture of neem oil, lavender oil, as well as any carrier oil like olive or almond oil. Do this at least two times daily. Pregnant women are prohibited from taking goldenseal as toenail fungus treatment. Those who have heart problems and high blood pressure must not also take goldenseal. Those who are breastfeeding or have liver and kidney problems must be careful too. There are possible side effects in the use of such herbs, such as digestive problems, nausea, irritation of the mouth and throat, and nervousness.
Goldenseal has several other health benefits. These include getting rid of acne and psoriasis. Plants like goldenseal that contain berberine may benefit one’s skin. Berberine is a main active ingredient of goldenseal which can fight P. acnes, the bacterium which causes acne. Goldenseal also helps to protect you from tooth infections. A herbal mouth rinse that contains goldenseal and other herbs can reduce the growth of bacteria that causes dental plaque and gingivitis. Some people also believe that goldenseal can help the body get rid of toxins as well as other harmful substances. This requires more studies though.
Goldenseal is often mixed with echinacea in a number of over-the-counter flu and cold remedies. Echinacea originated from North America, and it is traditionally used for treating infections like the common cold. Goldenseal is a popular treatment for the common cold and upper respiratory tract infections. This is once more brought about by berberine which helps to fight off infections and caused by viruses and bacteria. This herb is also helpful to people who have type 2 diabetes. Berberine reduces sugar absorption from the gut. It promotes insulin secretion and lowers insulin resistance. These are all factors that help to lower one’s blood sugar levels. Berberine in goldenseal is also known to lower LDL cholesterol as well as one’s triglyceride levels.