Are you embarrassed about your fungal toenails? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. More than half of people over 50 years old suffer from fungal nails problems. It not only affects appearance but also causes physical pain. However, do not worry, we have happy news for you. Fungal toenails can be long-term, but they can be treated with intense care and treatment. All thanks to advanced technologies and laser therapies.
What Are Fungal Toenails?
Toenail fungus is also known as onychomycosis, an infection caused by dermatophyte fungi. It is the most common fungus that causes skin infections, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot. The fungi require fibrous protein to survive, which is available in the nail, so it will not go away on its own.
What Are the Symptoms of Fungal Toenails?
A fungal nail infection occurs from the growth of fungus under or on top of the nail. The fungus thrives in moist and warm environments. This same nail fungus can also cause athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. If you have come in contact with someone who has fungal infections, you may contract it as well. So, if you go to the salon for the manicure and pedicure, ask the salon staff how they disinfect the tools. These are the top symptoms of fungal toenail infection:
- Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration of the nails
- Brittle, ragged, or crumbly
- Foul smell
- Dark color caused by debris
- The uneven or distorted shape
What Causes Fungal Toenails?
Multiple factors increase the risk of developing toenail fungal infections. Some of the more common ones include:
- Heavy sweating
- Being older, reduced blood flow, slower growing nails,
- Having a history of an athlete’s foot
- Walking without shoes or slippers in damp communal areas, such as gyms, swimming pools, and shower rooms
- Having diabetes, circulation problems, and weakened immune system
- Minor skin or nail injury, such as psoriasis
Nail infections occur mostly in men compared to women. If you have family members who have fungal infections, it is more likely to get it from them. Besides that, older adults are at high risk of getting fungal infections because of poor circulation.
Can I Treat My Fungal Toenails at Home?
Yes, there are home remedies that you can use to reduce the effects of fungal nails, however, it only provides short-term relief since it does not kill the root cause of the problem.
- Apply tea tree oil on the fungal nail. It has antifungal properties that help in eradicating the fungus.
- Make a baking soda paste with water and apply it directly to the nail. Leave it for 10 minutes and then wash it.
- Vicks VapoRubs has a mentholated ointment that kills fungus.
Professional Fungal Toenail Treatments
There are multiple fungal toenails treatment options available. Other than keeping your toenails trimmed and painted, you need to keep attention to them. Healthy toenails look pink, shiny, and smooth, whereas a fungal infection causes them to look thick, discolored, and sometimes painful. Here are the treatments that you can consider for your painful toenails.
Antifungal Medications are the traditional toenail fungus treatment. It comes in different forms, which are oral and topical.
- Oral medications work by attacking the fungus inside out by going through the bloodstream. It is the standard form of treatment. Many people tolerate this medication, but there are a number of possible side effects. It makes them unusable for patients with specific conditions. The person needs to take a pill daily to complete the full course in this process as it generally lasts 12 weeks. Some common side effects of oral medications are skin rashes, liver damage, taste loss, etc.
- Topical antifungal medications are applied as a thin coat to the affected nail. This treatment is safer than oral medications. Nonetheless, it requires patience and discipline, and it has the lowest success rate in terms of toenail fungus treatment.
Laser therapy is the most effective, safest, and easy-to-access treatment option recommended to most people. The laser safely kills the fungus underneath and on top of the nail without causing any damage to the surrounding tissues. It is painless and does not require special medications to treat fungal toenails.
Get Professional Treatment for Your Fungal Toenails
Are you suffering from toenail fungus? These are the essential things that you need to know about it. If your condition is severe, you should immediately reach out to our team of experts immediately! Contact us online today for appointments in our Kalamazoo or Allegan offices.