Statistics tell us that over 10% of Americans have it and over 20% in people over 60 and the percentage goes as high as 50% in those over 70! [i] Hence, you can see that unfortunately it is quite a common infection and basically anyone can contact it.
Common symptoms for nail fungus infection
It’s essential to know your feet well so that in case any irregular changes occur you can spot them right away and make the differentiation between your healthy nails and a possible fungus infection.
At the beginning you might notice that your toenails are thickening, they change color (become more yellow, brown), they change shape, and they start smelling a bit foul and so on.
Also, keep in mind that fungus can affect fingernails as well, though it is far more common in toenails.
Is it really fungus?
The moment you start noticing the above mentioned changes, contact your doctor because he can take samples and send it to the lab in order to confirm the existence of a fungus infection.
It’ imperative to contact your physician if you suffer from diabetes and consider you might have contacted fungus.
What causes toenail fungus infection?
There are certain risk factors, such as diabetes, vascular problems and impaired immune system. However, anyone can contact it. It is more common in the elderly due to the fact that their nails become drier with age and time, allowing cracks to form more easily. Poor nail hygiene is also a huge factor, along with leading a sedentary lifestyle, family history and it is said there is a connection between fungus and athlete’s foot as well.
Bear in mind that moist socks, inappropriate shoes represent the perfect environment for fungus to develop. If you enjoy going for a regular swim in a public pool, never forget your shower shoes because going bare foot in order to avoid inappropriate footwear is also a risky move.
Can it lead to complications?
Unfortunately the short answer is a very long yes. Besides the fact that it is extremely painful, it can cause permanent impairment to your nails. It easily causes ulcerations or breaks in the skin, which become a perfect open door for bacteria to spread.
Then slowly the symptoms might worsen and you can experience fatigue, the feeling of constantly being tired, weight loss, the feeling of being bloated and the list goes on. If left untreated for a longer period of time, it can result in chronic illnesses, allergies, chronic inflammations, joint problems, mood and brain disorders.
Can we prevent nail fungus infection?
As mentioned above, a healthy hygiene is essential in keeping infections away. Wash both your hands and feet on a regular basis, pay attention to also washing properly between your toes and moisturizing afterwards.
Trim your nails straight across and only then smoothen the edges.
Don’t forget to disinfect your trimmer after each usage. Applying nail polish and fake nails also leaves room for bacteria. Pay attention to disinfecting your old shoes regularly.
What treatments are there for nail fungus infection?
Toenail fungus is known to represent a difficult infection to treat. And waiting for it to go away on its own is also not a great option, since it almost never does. Usually the treatment depends on the level of severity of the fungus.
- Antifungal drugs
Usually the preferred option of the doctors because it has fast effects and clear the infection faster than other drugs. However, just like any other medication, you need to be aware of the side effects. For instance, if you suffer from liver diseases or congestive heart failure, your doctor will most likely not recommend these kind of drugs.
- Medicated nail polish
Ciclopirox (Penlac) is an antifungal nail polish your doctor might recommend you. You might need to use this kind of treatment for periods as long as a year in order to see effects.
- Medicated nail cream
Your doctor might recommend this in order to be rubbed in the damaged area. Bear in mind that it works better if the nail is thinned at first so it can attack the underlying fungus.
In case the infection is severe, your doctor might find it necessary to recommend the removal of the nail in order to apply a lotion to the infected area. The nail removal might be permanent if the infection is severe and painful and does not respond to medicines.
- Laser treatments for nail fungus infection
Besides the high cost associated with this treatment, they offer only a temporary improvement for the problem.
- Home remedies for nail fungus infection
Given that your fungal infection is not that severe, you could try taking care of it at home. You could use certain over-the-counter creams and thinning and trimming your problematic nail.
- Holistic approach for nail fungus infection
Another great approach that proved wonder lately is a holistic one, 100% natural that causes no side effects and the costs are reduced. You could try for instance Myco Nuker which is based on a Japanese Hollistic approach.
All in all, the most important thing you have to bear in mind is to not neglect your toenail fungus infection. If you notice anything out of the ordinary about your toenails, be it a change of color, shape or smell, do not treat it lightly.
The effects that toenail fungus infection can have on your body are extremely severe.
Also, once you manage to get rid of the infection, pay special attention to your feet, footwear and the environment you create around them.
Bear in mind that a good hygiene goes a long way!