Fungal infections are skin conditions that are caused by a fungus. Different species of fungi can cause different types of skin issues such as bumps or rashes. One of the most common kinds of toenail fungus is the athlete’s foot or tinea pedis. The fungus that causes the condition is often found in damp and warm surfaces such as public gyms, swimming pools, and locker rooms. It may look like a blistered rash at first, and it causes stinging and itching between one’s toes and sides of the feet.
Most symptoms of a toenail fungal infection are common regardless of the type of pathogen that causes it. It may start with an itchy rash around the toenail. The toenail may start to have yellowish as well as white spots. The infected nail may also become warped and cracked. Men and adult persons are more prone to developing this type of infection. Those people who smoke or have diabetes are also more prone to getting a toenail fungus infection.
What are the common symptoms of a toenail fungal infection?
Nails that become infected with fungus experience different changes in their appearance. They typically become thickened, crumbly, ragged, brittle when touched, distorted in shape, dull, and becomes darker or yellowish. It is possible to find scaling underneath the nail. This is known as hyperkeratosis. Yellow or white streaking is also possible, and this is called lateral onychomycosis. You may find yellow spots at the bottom of the infected nail. This is known as proximal onychomycosis. The infected nail may separate from the nail bed, and this is called onycholysis. There are cases when the infection causes pain, and it may even emit a bad smell.
What are some risk factors that increase the chances of getting infected?
Anyone can get infected with toenail fungus, but some factors increase the chances of becoming infected. These factors include having a family history of toenail fungal infection, wearing artificial nails, decreased blood circulation, profuse sweating, wearing socks and shoes that are made of inappropriate material, previous injury or condition of the skin and nail such as psoriasis, walking barefoot in public places with damp surfaces such as gyms, swimming pools, and locker rooms, having diabetes, AIDS, or a weakened immune system, and others.
How is the toenail fungal infection diagnosed?
For a doctor to diagnose a toenail fungal infection, scrapings may be gathered from underneath the nail. Nail clippings may also be collected. These will be used in various tests such as a potassium hydroxide (KOH) smear or fungal culture. The doctor has to be careful in diagnosing fungal infections since other types of skin conditions may result in similar symptoms.
What are some common treatments for toenail fungal infections?
A nail fungus treatment depends on the type of fungus that causes it and its level of severity. The doctor may prescribe different medications which include oral antifungals, over-the-counter medications, topical medications, and surgery. The first recommendation of most doctors is oral antifungals, which are known for their higher efficacy rate. This treatment can be taken for 6 to 12 weeks. The most popular examples of these medications are Lamisil and Sporanox. Some topical gels and creams, foot powder, and sprays can also be bought over the counter. These can prevent the growth of the fungus before it goes deep into the nails. Topical medications that are prescription based are also available. These can be medicated creams or nail polish that are applied to the infected nail. In severe cases of nail fungal infection, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the nail and allow for a fresh new nail to grow.
What are some samples of home remedies?
Some people prefer to use home remedies for eliminating a toenail fungal infection. These are more accessible and affordable with fewer side effects. An example of these is Tribulus or Tribulus Terrestris. This is a plant that bears fruit that is covered in spines. Traditionally, this plant is known as an aphrodisiac in many cultures. The plant is known to possess chemicals that can increase the levels of some hormones. But it does not cause an increase of male hormones in humans.
Tribulus has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and even for Ayurvedic medicine to increase one’s libido and athletic performance. As mentioned earlier, it can also increase one’s levels of testosterone and estrogen. It is usually found in health supplements that have claims of increasing testosterone levels. Tribulus is also known to help with several health issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney stones, sexual dysfunction, and as a diuretic.
Additional health benefits of Tribulus include a boost of the immune system. Rats have been observed to gave a strong immune system activity when given this supplement. This plant is also observed to treat inflammation of the body. This was seen through test-tube studies.
By boosting one’s immune system, Tribulus can help prevent the occurrence of nail fungal infections and other types of infections. According to studies, all extracts from the various parts of the plant have shown antimicrobial activity against the most commonly tested microorganisms. The most active extract that works against bacteria comes from the Tribulus fruit. This extract has exhibited the strongest antifungal activity against C. Albicans.
Several studies of Tribulus with varying dosages have shown minimal side effects and no safety issues. Some of the uncommon side effects include reflux and minor stomach cramps. Some studies prescribe 250 to 1,500 mg per day for libido enhancement while 1,000 mg per day is prescribed for blood sugar-lowering effect. Some studies suggest doses of 4.5 to 9 mg per pound of body weight.
You can find the Tribulus supplement in any health store and vitamin outlets. You can also buy them online. More often, this herb is combined with other ingredients which have been tested for safety as well as effectiveness. Before using Tribulus as a health supplement, make sure to consult with your physician first. Always look for the Supplement Facts label on the health supplement product that you buy.