nail fungus

Definition

Nail mycoses or onychomycosis (onico means nail in Greek) are generally caused by infection of the toenails (more frequent) or hands, by a microscopic fungus. Nail fungus mostly develops in a humid and warm environment. Being in crowded environments (showers, swimming pools, etc.) can also favor the development of nail mycoses.
You should know that nail mycoses are often difficult to treat and take months or even years to achieve a satisfactory result.

Nail mycoses are more frequent on the feet than on the hands, as the infectious agents like a damp environment and darkness to develop, conditions particularly suited to the feet.

Epidemiology

It is estimated that nail mycoses (onychomycosis) affect more than 20% of people over 40 years of age.

On the other hand, this mycotic infection remains very rare in children.

Causes

Nail mycoses or onychomycoses are caused by microscopic fungi that are usually dermatophytes (Trichophyton rubrum), yeasts or mold.

We emphasize that for toenail mycoses, most of the time (9 out of 10 cases) a dermatophyte is responsible.

For fingernail mycoses, it is generally a yeast called Candida.

The way in which nail mycosis develops is usually closely related, at first, to a fungal infection of the skin (and not the nail) that only later spreads to the nails. That’s why it’s important to always have clean nails, to avoid any mycotic infection.

We also emphasize that trauma to the nail related to the practice of sports such as football, tennis, among others, can weaken the nail, and thus favor the development of nail mycoses.

Diabetes is a risk factor for nail fungus .

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of nail mycoses is difficult to establish, but it is essential to define the best therapy for them, as each therapy will be chosen depending on the type of fungus that causes the mycosis (read under treatment).

In addition, it is preferable to consult a doctor in case of nail mycosis (especially if you have already tried some treatment but have not had good results), since, despite being rare, a malignant subungual melanoma (under the nail) can be diagnosed. In this precise case, surgery will be necessary.

Symptoms

The symptoms of nail mycosis can vary greatly:
– We can say that one of the signs of nail mycosis can be the variation in the color of the nail, as this can have an opaque or white part, or other colors such as yellow, green, etc.
– The nail may also be slightly detached, so we are talking about onycholysis.
– In certain cases, there may be variations in the thickness of the nail or its texture (friable appearance).
– It is also possible to observe different stages in nail mycoses, from a small spot to a completely damaged nail. The doctor will choose the best treatment depending on the stage of nail fungus.

Treatments

To treat nail mycoses, the doctor may use medications for topical (nail polish) or oral (pill) use.

To increase the effectiveness of the treatment against nail mycoses, it may be preferable to combine topical and oral medications.

We note that the treatment also depends on the type of fungus causing the mycosis, so the doctor will advise you on the best treatment, depending on your case.

Here are the medicines to treat nail mycoses:

1. For topical use:

– Nail polishes based on amorolfine, available by medical prescription, useful and effective when the nail matrix (which allows for nail growth) is not damaged. The duration of amorolfine-based treatment is generally 6 months to 1 year, with 1 or 2 applications per week on nails affected by mycosis.

Nail polishes are also believed to be effective in case of fungal infection.

2. For oral use:

– Pills based on, for example, terbinafine or itraconazole, available on prescription. Oral treatments are particularly recommended when dealing with an advanced case of nail mycosis (affected matrix, mycosis on a large surface of the nail, …). However, these treatments can have side effects on the liver. Your doctor will give you more information about this treatment (contraindications, risks,…).

3. Other treatments:

In some cases, the treatment may also consist of surgical measures, scraping techniques, the use of keratolytics (salicylic acid, urea)…

There is also a light-based treatment that exposes nail fungus to light waves. Also known as photodynamic therapy that uses photosensitive drugs (which react to light). This treatment is often expensive and is still under development, and is especially applicable for severe cases or those that resist conventional therapy (topical or oral form).

Dry powders can be applied to the feet 2-3 times a day until the redness caused by ringworm disappears.

Ask a doctor for the most effective method to treat your toenail fungus.

Notes on nail mycosis treatment:
– The treatment of nail mycosis (especially toenails) is often very long, from 12 to 18 months, as it often takes time for the nail to fully grow and therefore achieve a 100% effective treatment.
– Some dermatologists believe that only oral treatments are really effective. Because topical treatments are not effective at the onset of nail fungus (and it is often too late) or when nail fungus is superficial.

Herbal medicine

It is possible to obtain good results in cases of nail fungus using a medicinal plant. However, this should be used (in our opinion) in addition to so-called “conventional treatments”.

– Tea tree or melaleuca ( tea tree ) , to be used externally (do not ingest).

Apply in the same way as a nail polish, 1 to 2 drops of tea tree essential oil 2 times a day on the nail affected by mycosis, do the treatment for 4 to 6 months.

Prevention

– Take good care of your nails , as a damaged nail can increase the likelihood of developing a mycosis, since it is a gateway for fungi.

– Don’t leave your nails too long or cut them too short.

– Thoroughly dry the spaces between the toes (especially between the 3rd and 5th toes), as it is often in this area that foot mycoses develop. Use, for example, a cotton between your fingers to dry these spaces well.

– Avoid walking barefoot in wet public places (shower, swimming pool…), wear flip flops.

– Wash the clothes (in the machine at 60°C or more) that have been in contact with mycoses and, if necessary, use an anti-fungal product in the machine.

– Wear clothes and shoes that let the skin breathe, as excessive perspiration favors the development of mycoses (dermatophytes). You can use an anti-fungal spray on your shoes.

– Take good care of the hygiene and quality of the skin on your feet by using special ointments or going to pedicures.

– Take care with wounds and calluses, as these can favor the entry of dermatophytes and, therefore, the development of mycoses.

– Make a foot soak, for example, based on calcium permanganate (available in pharmacies).

– If necessary, use synthetic socks that dry out your feet more, rather than those made of cotton or wool.

– Regularly change your socks.

Tips

– Another idea for bathing the feet is to prepare a mixture of one part vinegar and 2 parts hot water, then soak the foot(s) with the affected nail(s) for 15 to 20 minutes.

Jeanne Kenney
 | Website

I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *