Onychomycosis, or nail fungus, is a prevalent nail infection. It originates as a white or yellow-brown spot underneath the fingernail or toenail tip. The infected nail may discolor, thicken, and disintegrate as the fungal infection progresses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, says that onychomycosis is a common infection, affecting almost 14 % of the US. This nail infection is not painful in most cases, but ignoring it leads to severe issues like foot pain, loss of nails, or even widespread disease.
This article explains onychomycosis, its causes, risk factors, and a step-by-step plan to prevent nail fungus and attain flawless fungal free nails. Antifungal medications, for example, Jublia solution, are often prescribed to treat onychomycosis.
Onychomycosis: Causes & Risk Factors
Onychomycosis, or tinea unguium, is an infection of the nail plate, bed, or matrix caused by dermatophyte fungi that grow on the skin. Onychomycosis is the cause of one-third of fungal illnesses of the skin and nails and half of all nail diseases.
The nail fungus infection usually occurs in the following nail parts:
- The nail plate is the hard outer layer of the nail, made up of keratin (a type of protein).
- The nail bed lies below the nail plate, providing a smooth surface.
- The nail matrix is where the nails start to grow.
What Is a Fungus?
A fungus is any organism part of the eukaryotic organisms group, including mushrooms and microorganisms like yeasts and molds. The cells that have an apparent nucleus are called eukaryotic cells.
The nature of fungi is:
- Saprophytic because they get their nutrition from dead-decaying organic matter.
- Parasitic as they are living and reproducing on other living organisms.
Causes of Onychomycosis
The cause of onychomycosis is the excessive growth of fungi on, under, or in the nail. Since fungi like warm, moist places, their overabundance occurs spontaneously in such an environment.
Nail infections are also brought on by fungi already on or in your body. It is also acquired if you have encountered someone with this infection.
Fungal infections are more common in the nails of toes than those of the finger because your toes are typically confined to shoes, where they are in a warm, moist environment.
Who Is at High Risk of Onychomycosis?
Even though there are many ways to avoid getting a fungal nail infection, some risk factors make it more likely to happen. Fungal nail infection mostly occurs to you if:
- Diabetes: It is a metabolic disease of high blood sugar levels and weak immunity that lowers blood circulation to your feet, which causes fungal infection.
- Closed-Toes Shoe: Such shoes increase the risk of fungal infection by keeping your feet or toes moist and supporting fungal growth.
- Athlete’s foot: If you ever had athlete foot (a fungal skin infection that begins between toes), you are at a high risk of onychomycosis. The fungal infection from the toe quickly spreads to the toenails if not treated at a time.
- Psoriasis: Psoriasis is an infectious or inflammatory skin disease that results in itchy skin rashes and usually spreads to form a nail fungus infection. The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) says 125 million people worldwide have it.
A Step-By-Step Plan to Get Fungal Free Nails
The nail fungus depends on your situation and what kind of fungus is making it worse. Results may only show up for a few months. Even if your nails get better, they often get infected again. Here is a step-by-step plan to get fungal free nails:
- Proper Nail Care: The genuine caring of nails prevents fungal infection. First, wash your nails with soap and water, then dry them off completely. Trim the nails regularly and never bite them.
- Foot Hygiene: It’s crucial to maintain good hygiene of your feet:
- Wash and dry your feet regularly.
- Avoid walking barefoot on moist or wet surfaces.
- Use antifungal foot powder to keep your foot dry.
- Antifungal Creams: The creams you put on your nails can treat a minor infection. While the nails are growing, this therapy helps keep new fungus out. Use these antifungal medications strictly as recommended to receive the best benefits and check your nail fungus before and after using antifungal creams.
- Antifungal Pills: Antifungal pills have a faster effect instead of applying treatment to your nails, An infection under the fingernails is cured using antifungal medications for two months. A toenail fungus is typically cured with three months of treatment.
- Combination Therapy: Nail fungus are occasionally challenging to treat. Combining the two treatments—applying medicine to your nails and taking antifungal pills is more pro nail fungal treatment than using either.
- Nail Removal: Your dermatologist recommends having the infected nail removed if the infection is severe or previous treatments have failed. Your dermatologist will use one of the following techniques to eliminate the nail:
- Non Surgical nail removal
- Surgical nail removal
Let’s get a better understanding of the non-surgical and surgical removal methods:
Nonsurgical or Chemical Nail Removal
For a fungal nail infection, nonsurgical (chemical) nail removal is painless. Only the unhealthy and damaged portions of the nail are removed with this method. Around the infected nail, your doctor will first apply cloth sticky tape to the healthy skin.
The nail surface is directly coated with an ointment before being taped and covered with plastic. Over the following 7 to 10 days, the ointment softens the nail. During this period, you must maintain the dressing and nails dry.
Surgical Nail Removal
During nail removal surgery, your doctor will use specialized equipment to remove the nail or the infected portion once the region around the nail has become numb. The nail matrix, which causes your nail to grow again, may need to be destroyed in severe cases.
Your doctor will typically bandage the area around your nail bed, where your nail once was, and apply antibiotic cream after the procedure to prevent bacterial infections.
Antifungal medications are readily available online at the best Canadian online pharmacy at affordable prices.
In conclusion, nail fungal infarction can cause severe problems like permanent nail damage and widespread infection. The early treatment of these infections is crucial to prevent further worsening of the condition.
The treatment is entirely based on the severity of the nail fungal infection. Sometimes the disease is mild and antifungal creams treat it thoroughly. Combining both antifungal cream and antifungal oral medicine is more effective in getting fungal free nails.
In more severe cases, the surgical or non-surgical removal of the nail is the only option left. Seek the help of a healthcare practitioner and get personalized treatment to treat the infection.