So, you looked down at your toes and you noticed something? Is that fungus? What is that discoloration? Or maybe your feet are extremely itchy. If this is you then you are not alone because at least 10% of all Americans are affected by toenail fungus.
Many of the signs of toenail fungus or even athlete’s foot goes overlooked and are often ignored until it is too late. I had no idea I had athlete’s foot until it started consuming my toenails and by then it was too late. Even though toenail fungus symptoms are overlooked there are a few tell tale signs.
Symptoms of Nail Fungus
More often or not if you have had athlete’s foot then it most likely spread to your toenails. One of the main symptoms of a toenail fungal infection is discoloration of your nail. Discoloration can happen in a lot of different colors such as yellow, white, black and even green. Sometimes a white dot or spot will appear and then get bigger. That is the fungus growing and evolving.
Another symptom of onychomycosis, or also called nail fungus is thickness in the nail. A common symptom is for the nail to grow thicker and then also become brittle. If you notice your nails are weak and brittle then it is a good sign you have a nail fungal infection. Another symptom can be a pungent smell from the fungus.
Often times a nail fungus can come from candida or athlete’s foot. This typically means dry, cracked and itchy skin in between the toes and the soles of the feet.
If left untreated a fungus can spread quickly and to other parts of your feet, toes and even hands. You should consult your doctor if you are unsure on whether you have toenail fungus.
Here is how toenail fungus tends to progress.
When it comes to the treatment of your thick, brittle, and discolored toenails, you have options. There are currently about five different types of treatments on the market for toenail fungus. We will discuss each one of them in the new few segments of the articles. If you want to checkout what I personally recommend as one of the most effective ways of to get rid of toenail fungus.
OTC Topical Anti-fungal Creams and Sprays
There is a multitude of creams and sprays in-stores and on the online market designed specifically to treat toenail fungus. This includes products like Loceryl® and Penlac® which can be expensive to purchase and typically only available at pharmacies. There are also creams and sprays sold inside drug stores that seem to well over-priced and ineffective.
Through my research, I have found an alternative of OTC creams with a combination of organic remedies to combat toenail fungus. I will discuss these options more later in the article.
Prescription Oral Medication
One of the “last resorts” of toenail fungus is to go to the doctor and get blood tests to see if you can receive prescription oral meds. There are several popular options of prescription meds which include Lamasil®, Sporanox® and Diflucan®. They are taken orally, travel through the bloodstream and then into the nail matrix. They are specifically designed to fight the fungus from the inside of your body.
The potency of these medications results in a tremendous amount of side effects. These types of medications cannot be combined with others or alcohol. The most significant side effect is that they can cause serious liver problems. This means a person is required to have liver function tests before, during and after treatment. Additionally, prescription medications are not suitable for everyone with fungal infections.
One of the newest treatments for toenail fungal infections is the use of special medical lasers. The idea behind the laser treatment is that it heats the toenail matrix up which in turn eradicates the fungus. The heating process heats the nail bed and matrix up to temperatures around 104°F-140°F (40°C-60°C).
There is inconclusive studies performed on the effectiveness of laser treatment. The studies show that laser treatment can work, however, the studies were on such a small scale that they cannot be considered medically relevant.
There are two major downsides of laser treatment and they are the cost and pain. The cost for this type of treatment is currently around $800 for one treatment. For the majority of the people using this treatment method, it takes 3-4 treatments to see improvements. Also, this process is usually not covered by insurance companies, which means you need to pay the full cost of the treatments.
The pain… The procedure requires the podiatrist to heat the nail matrix to 104°F-140°F in order to kill the fungus. Many patients who have used this method of treatment complained about the pain and often had to ask the podiatrist for breaks during the process. Also, there is discomfort present when walking after the procedure is over.
If you’re lucky enough to catch a fungus before it gets to severe then home remedies can be very effective. There benefits of home remedies is that they are easy to use and typically cost efficient. One of the popular ways to treat nail fungus is with the use of vinegar. Vinegar is cheap and great way to treat mild cases. Also, everyone tends to have at least one of the remedies mentioned in this article that shows a list of nail fungus home treatments. If you do not have some of these home remedies, they can be picked up at a local store for an inexpensive price.
There are a number of natural remedies circulating the internet. Some of the most popular include manuka oil, tree tea oil, and natural foot washes.
These organic remedies are aimed at getting rid of the fungus naturally. Since these products are natural, they contain no side effects. Also, they are highly effective at treating fungus. This treatment method is done at home, which provides ease. There is a whole page dedicated to green remedies for toenail fungus.
Both my dad and I suffered from nail fungus infections for years. Each of us used different methods to get rid of our fungal infections. My dad went the way of using OTC creams and sprays to combat his fungus. Within 6 months he conquered the fungus and was able to show off his amazing toes that next summer. I wish I would have taken pictures of his toes before the treatment.
I personally went a different route. Using a combination of organic treatments and OTC creams proved effective for me. Daily foot washes with soap specialized in combating fungus also gave me an extra boost. One of the creams I highly recommend is tolnaftate or clortizamole cream. Both are effective in the fight against fungus on the feet and nails. Not only are they effective but they are inexpensive. In combination with tea tree oil and specialized foot washes, fungus doesn’t stand a chance. I go over in more detail what my dad and I did exactly to eradicate fungus for good in this article. Improvements in skin and nail can be seen within 3 weeks.
In order for any treatment to be successful, it will require for one to be extremely persistent and patience. This means applying the creams, oils and washing the feet every single day. Having the right tools to is absolutely necessary in the war against fungus. There is an article that outlines the tools, exact creams, and tips that are best suited for fungal infections on the toenails. The article entails the best remedies for a nail fungus infection.