Toenail fungus or onychomycosis is something which you might have experienced already or probably, someone around you would have if you didn’t. Because of toenail fungus, in Europe only, 23% of people become the victim of this toenail fungus or onychomycosis whereas, in East Asia, approximately 20% of the population suffers from this toenail fungus.
As per the reports, around 14% of people suffer from this fungal infection. The same reports say that this fungal infection can usually lead an individual towards 50% of nail diseases. In this article, we will be discussing:
- What toenail fungus is all about?
- Moreover, what are the symptoms of toenail fungus or onychomycosis?
- What are the risk factors which may cause a toenail fungus?
- Which preventive measures should you take to keep your toenails clean and clear?
- How can you diagnose whether you have toenail fungus or not?
- We will also be discussing what treatment you can follow in order to get rid of your toenail fungus?
First things first, what toenail fungus is all about?
Usually, at the start, you’d see a whitish-yellowish or sort of brownish nails as a symptom.
You will encounter the discoloration of your nails. More often than not, your nails can become brittle. Also, they can appear or feel as thick too.
In some cases, the shape of the nails also starts changing and consequently, it can start hurting too. Eventually, after the discoloration, nails getting brittle, thickening and hurting, the nail can separate from the root of the nail.
According to the research of National Center for Biotechnology Information, your thumb toe or big toenail mostly gets affected by the fungus. The fungus usually starts appearing at the front of the edge sides of the nail. As per the research, it’s quite rare that the fungus would develop on the base of the nail. However, if it does, then it usually means that you have a very weak immune system.
The weak immune system can actually deteriorate your health as a result too and this can make you become vulnerable to chronic diseases. The weak immune system can actually be a result of taking medications after following organ transplantation. Thus, as a result, medications can make an immune system weaker.
The fungus can also develop just on the surface of the toenail or the infection may spread to the toenail as a whole too. Such kind of infection is usually called white superficial onychomycosis.
Although, the fungus on toenail isn’t something that you should be worried about because it doesn’t cause any chronic health illnesses, it says a Harvard research, but having one can actually result in making the appearance of your toenail somewhat unappealing and unattractive.
The Risk Factors of Getting a Toenail Fungus
The factors which normally causes such an infection are as follows:
- According to research, the most common factor of people getting such a fungus is because of old age. 18.2% of people are those patients who are above 60 years. Contrary to that, only 0.9% of people who are young in age i.e. less than 19 years, become the victim of this infection.
- The same research says that the rate of having a toenail fungus is three times higher in men as compared to women. The reasons for this difference are quite vague.
- The genetic factor is also among the reasons which may be a cause of getting a toenail fungus. This can be because of the fact that people who are born in such families where onychomycosis is present then the person can catch the infection.
- People who are already patient of diabetes can also get this infection. However, in diabetic patients, the infection can actually play a good role in keeping up with the pace of developing any diabetic foot syndrome or even foot ulcers.
- Cancer patients can also become the victim of it. Though there’s only one such case in which the research says that such an infection can cause some other serious diseases in a cancer patient. This infection in a lymphoma patient had led a person to a serious systematic infection. Subsequently, the person had to go through the transplantation of bone marrow.
Some other risk factors which can cause toenail fungus are as follows:
- Wearing stiff shoes.
- Nails that are already damaged.
- Some other skin conditions such as psoriasis.
- Weak immune system.
- Intermittently getting in touch with the fungi i.e. in dampened areas, swimming pools or saunas.
- Having an injury on the toenail.
To avoid the toenail fungus at all costs, you can actually take some preventive measures which will help you in keeping yourself away from this fungus.
- It is necessary that you make sure to dry your feet specifically whenever you come from a dampened place. Such as after coming from showers or swimming pools. Dry your feet with a towel or hairdryer preferably.
- Don’t wear tight shoes. Choose such shoes in which your feet feel comfortable. Don’t wear too tight which don’t allow your feet to breath even.
- Allow your feet to remain barefooted as much as you can. If you are in a place where you can move even without wearing a shoe then take advantage.
- Use flip-flops in swimming pools instead of casual shoes.
- Better keep separate towels, socks, and shoes for yourself.
- Keep at least two pairs of shoes and wear them alternatively.
- Wash your socks, bedding, and towels at 60 degrees Celsius.
- Or you may also use an antifungal powder for your foot.
By following the aforementioned preventive measures, you will be able to keep your feet and nails safe from any kind of fungal infection.
Treatment for Toenail Fungus Infection
The toenail fungus infection can also be treated via treatments. Nevertheless, the process of curing will take a long period of time i.e. a year or so. The treatments which you can follow for treating your toenail fungus are as follows:
- Over-the-counter Products
- Topical Prescription Treatments
- Oral Medications
- Home Remedies
1- Over-the-counter Products
Although according to Dr.loli’s statement, such products that people use for treating toenail fungus can be pretty useless, still these products do help in one way or the other.
These products you can use by simply having a polish brush. And use that brush by applying on the surface of the toenail and under the surface of it. You will not get a complete cure of your toenail, however, applying such products can be quite helpful in making the appearance of your nails somewhat good.
2- Topical Prescription Treatments
The other treatment which can be of some benefit is these prescriptions. There are two better and improved version of treatments which have been approved after clinical trials. The name of these two are efinaconazole (Jublia) and the other is tavaborole (Kerydin).
These two are better and more efficacious than the previous drug which was introduced earlier- namely ciclopirox (Penlac). This treatment can take you some time before you can actually notice some significant difference. Applying them on the surface of the nail can further help in the penetration which can go beyond the nails and can be helpful resultantly.
3- Home Remedies
The other treatment which is quite useful and which you can follow too is home remedies. From chlorine bleach to hydrogen peroxide or from tea tree oil to Vicks, all are equally helpful.