There are many causes that have been linked to toenail fungus and understanding what causes toenail fungus can be the key to helping you prevent this embarrassing and unsightly problem. Many people suffer with nail fungus and there are many causes of toenail fungus that everyone should be made aware of not only for hygienic reasons, but for health reasons as well. Becoming a host to nail fungus can be extremely harmful to one’s self confidence and how they interact with the world around them due to the embarrassment that they may feel about the fungal problem beneath their toenails.
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Knowing and understanding what causes toenail fungus can be a powerful tool in avoiding the occurrence of toenail fungus in yourself as well as the ability to educate those around you about prevention as well. The cause of toenail fungus in many people involves the creation of conditions that fungi enjoy such as moisture, dead tissue, and more. These conditions can be caused by poor hygiene, poor immune system, health problems, and the continuous wear of close-toed shoes that do not breathe or allow moisture to escape. The conditions created through these circumstances can lead to the growth of many different types of fungi beneath the nail and allow it to not only thrive but spread from nail to nail with ease.
Types of Fungi Infections
You may find that there are several different types of fungi that can grow beneath your nails, and while some are completely harmless and normal such as yeast, others can be fairly destructive and problematic. Dermatophytes for example can grow just about anywhere, and are commonly seen in cases of athlete’s foot which can also infect the toenail. For those who ask themselves “is toenail fungus contagious?” should know that when it comes to dermatophytes, it is. You can pick these fungi up from nail files, clippers, carpet, flooring, showers, and many other places, and they love moisture. One particular dermatophyte that is common in nail fungus is called Onychomycosis and causes not only discoloration but damage to the nails leading to the result of loss of the nail. Molds are another type of fungi that can grow beneath the toenails and are usually found in soil, however, these are not normally passed from person to person as dermatophytes are, and can usually be cleaned away with ease depending on the amount of time it has had to age.
How do you get toenail fungus?
Many wonder how toenail fungus occurs and by understanding the causes, the how and why are fairly simple answers. For example, you go to the gym and before you leave, you shower off without any thoughts as to wearing shower shoes. This may result in you picking up a dermatophyte such as onychomycosis and therefore, get toenail fungus and/or athlete’s foot. While taking a shower isn’t exactly the problem in this case, but that shower shoes were not worn and you picked up the fungus from the shower floor at your gym. Now, had you worn shower shoes or waited to shower when you got home, you may not have picked up the fungi and would be fine.
Can you treat before symptoms occur?
If we continue the example from above, taking a shower in a public place without shower shoes to protect your feet, you may be wondering if it is possible to treat whether or not you have for sure picked up the fungi. The answer is yes. You can always use an anti-fungal cream to treat for nail fungi before symptoms of the fungus are present. Many doctors actually suggest the proactive solution to fungi infections to prevent symptoms and therefore, prevent fungal infections. You can also consider using home remedies in this case as part of your nail care routine to prevent fungal infections from occurring. Prevention of toenail fungus will not only save you from the embarrassment of yellowed or whitened nails, but also the condition of your nails and the smell of the fungi beneath your nails.
What do I do if I discover toenail fungus?
If you find that you have, in fact, picked up toenail fungus and it is thriving under your toenails, call your doctor to make an appointment and begin home remedies or over the counter treatments right away. By performing treatment upon discovery, you may be able to avoid your nails becoming brittle, cracked, or split which can become mild to moderately painful. Once you have spoken with your doctor and determined the advancement of the fungi’s growth, you can then work with your doctor on how to continue your treatment through either over the counter, prescription, or home remedy medications or treatments. Your doctor can be an excellent resource throughout your treatment of the fungal infection under your toenails and will be able to guide you through the process of treating the fungus to achieve faster results and assist in getting your nails to improve to normal health.
Other Ways to Get Toenail Fungus
There are literally hundreds of ways that you can pick up toenail fungus and in some cases, it cannot be avoided. If you get routine manicures and pedicures at a local salon and they didn’t clean their equipment well or didn’t sterilize their equipment, you can get a fungal infection. If you work long hours in heavy boots or shoes that do not breath, your feet sitting in sweaty socks without being allowed to dry can cause toenail fungus. Even walking around in wet socks can allow you to pick up toenail fungus. However, the best method of prevention is to use proper hygiene techniques to not only clean your nails and feet, but the rest of your body as well. Proper hygiene is not only the key to avoiding problems like toenail fungus, but can be the key to good health.
If you do have toenail fungus, you may be feeling as though you have no options available for you to eliminate the problem. For those who suffer from reoccurring toenail fungus, you may suffer from problems with your self-confidence and feel as though there is no escape. You should know that there are cures and prevention available to help you get rid of toenail fungus and prevent it from occurring. You can choose from many home remedies that can cure toenail fungus and through continuous use even after it has gone, can help to prevent fungus re-infection. There are many over the counter products to help get rid of and prevent toenail fungus that you can buy, and through the help of your pharmacist, you can find products that will most definitely help reduce your risk of reoccurrence along with proper hygiene. Your doctor can also be a huge help in treatment and prevention as they can provide you with prescription medications to treat the fungal infection as well as information on a nail care routine that will help you to avoid another fungal infection down the road.
Effects of Toenail Fungus
While many believe that toenail fungus can only affect the nails and isn’t a big problem, those who have had nail fungus before or currently have problems with nail fungus may differ from that opinion. The presence of nail fungus can affect your everyday life even if it isn’t something that is completely visible to those around you. Those who suffer from nail fungus may feel uncomfortable in their own skin and overly self-conscious in every aspect of their daily lives. For those who have a problem with fungal infections, they avoid specific footwear that may expose the toes and may not portray their usual outward personality, but rather keep it to themselves preferring to avoid the people around them for fear the fungus may be discovered. Some people who have been affected by toenail fungus will continue to feel self-conscious and unclean even after the affliction has been eradicated as the damage done will feel like a reminder as well as a clue to the people around them.
It is important to take the proper precautions to avoid toenail fungus and other fungal infections to the best of your ability. This means that you should use proper hygiene techniques, keep an eye on your health and see a doctor when necessary, and keep your feet clean and dry to avoid possible infection. If you do happen to contract a fungal infection of the toenails, call your doctor to set up an appointment and ensure that the proper treatment procedures are followed to cure the fungal growth as quickly as possible. You can even speak with your doctor about the use of other treatments in addition to the prescribed treatment such as a home remedy or over the counter topical treatment to speed up the improvement. Other important measures that you may consider taking include replacing all nail care instruments and discussing new care routines with your doctor.