A nuisance such as toenail fungus is a common condition that, if ignored, can cause a variety of complications. The disease is difficult to treat, but there are many medications and alternatives that, when used correctly, can help eliminate the disease.
Nail fungus - what is it?
In medical terminology, nail fungus is called onychomycosis. The nail plate becomes infected when it comes into contact with the spores, then the rapid growth of the fungus begins, affecting the nail in depth and width.
This pathological condition is seen more frequently in older people. The following factors affect the onset of the disease:
- excessive body weight;
- diseases of the digestive system;
- weakening of the immune system;
- impaired function of the thyroid gland or adrenal glands;
- poor hygiene.
Experts define various stages and forms of fungal infection.
First signs and symptoms
Nail fungal infection is difficult to define, since its clinical manifestations are similar to those of other diseases.
The first signs of fungal infection pathology are:
- reduction of nail shine;
- itching near toes;
- plaque thickening;
- brittle nails;
- irregular plate edges;
- white, black or yellow spot on the surface;
- blackening of the nail.
If nails become brittle, thin, and often crumble, this symptom can also be an early symptom of fungus.
Symptoms of the disease depend on the shape of the fungus:
- Atrophic. A gray tint appears on the nail, paleness and opacity of the plate is observed. The nail begins to atrophy from the outer ends.
- Hypertrophic. As a result of the active growth of skin scales, the nail plate thickens more than 2 millimeters. The deformation of the nail depends on the neglect of the pathology. The tone is gray or dark yellow. One of the signs of such a fungus is considered to be similar to a bird's claw.
- Normotrophic. The color of the nail with this type of fungus changes, but the brightness and thickness remain the same. In the early stages, the spots form from white to yellow. If the disease is not treated, they increase in size. In this case, the plate does not adhere to the nail bed.
- Proximal. This fungus spreads to the skin roll. Painful sensations in the cuticle area are possible.
- Total. This infection develops if treatment for other types of fungi is ignored. It is accompanied by loss of color and shine, crumbling and brittleness. The result is the complete destruction of the nail plate.
- Superficial white fungus. It is characterized by the formation of white spots and stripes that extend throughout the nail.
- Distal. Damage to the nail is accompanied by dullness, loss of color, and a change in the thickness of the nail plate. After the affected area dies, the nail is deformed and crumbles.
- Side. There is swelling of the ridges of the skin, their redness and compaction. It is characterized by pain in the area near the nail. When a bacterial infection attaches itself, a purulent process begins.
Appropriate treatment is prescribed according to the severity of the pathology.
Typical clinical picture
Clinical manifestations of fungal nail infection include:
- burning and itching sensation on the skin near the injury;
- nail brittleness;
- swelling of the affected area;
- active plaque delamination;
- color changes (black, yellow, gray, green, brown tint indicates a pathological process);
- pain sensation in the place where the fungus is;
- deformation of the nail.
If treatment is ignored or if therapy is inappropriate, plaque keratinization and increased indurations are observed.
Stages of fungal nail infection
Specialists distinguish three stages of the disease. Each of them has certain symptoms:
- 1st. It is difficult to determine visually. It appears as small pale spots on the nails.
- 2nd. Grooves are formed, the color of the plate begins to change, the gloss is lost.
- 3rd. The skin around the nail plate begins to become red and sore. There is delamination and deformation of the nail.
Infection risk locations
Only a qualified specialist can diagnose a yeast infection.
Infection can occur in a warm, humid place where the fungus grows rapidly. Therefore, you must be careful and adhere to the hygiene rules in a public environment:
- shower cabin;
- public wardrobe;
You can get toenail fungus by trying on someone else's shoes. Also, infection can occur in the beauty salon during the pedicure procedure, if non-sterile instruments are used or if the master has fungus on his hands and performs the manipulation without gloves.
When signs of fungus appear, the patient should consult a dermatologist or mycologist.
Methods for diagnosing disease include the following laboratory tests:
- cultural analysis;
- DNA Research.
Additional diagnostic methods can be assigned as required.
Various complications can develop as a result of the disease, so appropriate therapy is necessary. Only a specialist can prescribe drugs for a fungus, taking into account the following factors:
- form and stages of the disease;
- affected areas;
- individual characteristics of the patient's body.
Medicines for external use are most often used in the following ways:
- cream or ointment;
- special antifungal varnish;
- solution for lotions and compresses;
Amorolfine-based medical varnish can be used against fungus. This remedy is suitable for both treatment and prevention. Other varnishes also help to get rid of the pathological process on the nails.
Fungi are often treated with solutions that are effective against the disease.
For painless removal of the affected nail, use a special adhesive plaster. Before use, the feet should be steamed in hot water. Apply the product for four days. To remove the patch, you need to bathe your feet again in hot water. The detached nail is carefully removed with scissors. If necessary, the procedure is repeated several times.
When the fungus is advanced, oral medications can be prescribed.
Surgical removal is used for severely damaged nails. It is also possible to use acid disinfection, laser treatment, cryotherapy. These methods are usually used if drug therapy fails.
During treatment, to avoid reinfection, it is necessary to disinfect the surfaces with which the damaged nails were in contact.
It is important to remember that a specialist must prescribe medication. Self-medication can aggravate the situation and lead to the development of complications.
Alternative remedies for nail fungus
There are many alternative methods to combat yeast infections.
In traditional medicine, popular and effective procedures that help eliminate fungi are:
- foot bath;
- applying herbal ointment.
Effective alternative antifungal therapies are:
- Garlic ointment. For its preparation the butter is mixed with grated garlic. Apply to affected nails for several hours.
- Sea salt bath. A warm solution is prepared and the legs are kept in it for thirty minutes. After the procedure, it is recommended to apply olive oil on the nails.
- Foot bath with decoction of calendula, celandine, horsetail or milkweed.
- Mint salt compress. A tablespoon of salt is mixed with a crushed plant and applied to the problem area for several hours.
- Propolis lotion. A cotton pad is moistened in dye and applied to the affected nail.
- Lubrication of the diseased nail plate with celandine juice.
- Egg and honey mixture. Honey, birch tar and sulfur are added to the egg white. Mix well and apply on nails.
- Liquid ammonia compress. A tablespoon of ammonia is diluted in a glass of water. The material for the procedure is moistened in the liquid.
- Apricot resin. An alcohol tincture is prepared from the resin of the tree, taking the ingredients in equal parts. With this tool, make a compress.
- Coffee bath. They make strong coffee, pour it into a bowl. Elevating your feet on this tool is recommended for twenty minutes.
- Compress tar. For this procedure, take birch tar.
- Tray based on oral bleach, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
- Hydrogen peroxide compress. Before use, it is recommended to make a foot bath with soda.
- Apply onion gruel to the diseased nail.
An effective folk remedy for yeast infections is a remedy made from baking soda and apple cider vinegar. To prepare it, you need the following ingredients:
- apple cider vinegar - 250 ml;
- sodium bicarbonate - 150 g;
- water (hot) - 3 l.
Foot baths are made with this medicine. The peculiarity of this procedure is that the legs are first placed in a vinegar solution for twenty minutes. Then, after a while, shower with soda. It is recommended to perform the procedure several times a day.
- Compresses can also be made with these ingredients:
- minced horseradish (root);
- sunflower oil and vinegar (product ratio 1: 1);
- tangerine juice;
- tea tree oil;
- rubbed Rowan.
It is recommended to apply these products to the affected area at night.
Phytotherapists advise putting chopped medicinal herbs in socks in case of foot fungus:
The first signs of the disease can be overcome by elevating the feet in a soap solution for washing.
It is important to remember that alternative medicines should only be used on well-washed feet. Dead layers should be removed each time with a nail file or scissors.
To prevent the onset of the disease, the following guidelines should be observed:
- Avoid contact with infected people.
- Wear disposable rubber slippers in the sauna, steam room, gym, swimming pool.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Dry your shoes after walking.
- Use sterile pedicure instruments.
- Wear clean cotton socks.
- Dry your feet after bathing and showering.
- Don't wear other people's shoes.
- Avoid burns and frostbite of the feet.
- After visiting public places such as changing rooms, sauna, steam room, you should wash your feet thoroughly. For this, it is advisable to use laundry soap. You can keep your feet in a warm, unconcentrated solution of vinegar or soda.
- Choose comfortable and natural footwear.
- Observe proper nail hygiene: remove dirt and trim.
- Take medications only as directed by a doctor.
- Have individual household items (loofah, pumice stone, slippers).
To prevent infection, it is recommended to use a special antifungal varnish.
Therefore, it is easy to catch the fungus in public places. To avoid the development of the disease, you need to follow the rules of prevention.
The pathology can be treated with medicines and folk remedies. However, therapy should only be carried out with the approval of a physician.