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Welcome to NailsFUngus.org - Nail Fungus

In this section you will find articles and videos on nail fungus and nail fungus treatments. Feel free to search for a subject concerning you or just browse around. We have amassed the largest informational database on nail fungus online and are here to help…

What Are The Most Effective Treatments for Nail Fungus Infections?

What Are The Most Effective Treatments

for Nail Fungus Infections?

Figuring out which treatment will work best for you is part of the process of curing your nail fungus infection. There are many options out there and whether this is a long term infection or a very bad infection, it can be eliminated. However this will require patience. It can take months to clear up a nail fungus infection.

Good things to know about treating nail fungus infections

  • Getting rid of a nail fungus infection requires a lengthy treatment, no matter which option you choose.
  • Fingernails tend to clear up faster than toenails. If you have an infected fingernail it is likely that your treatment course will be faster.
  • With some medications, there is a risk of liver damage although this is not common. Your doctor may recommend a blood test to see if your liver is healthy enough to support your treatment
  • The most common method of prescription treatment is an oral medication (pills). Other options include topical treatments that you apply directly to the nail. A more mild case of nail fungus infection may be treated with a nail varnish or Tea Tree Oil.
  • With a severe or reoccurring infection, your doctor may recommend removing part, or the entire nail. This is usually left as a last resort.
  • If your nail fungus infection is mild and doesn’t bother you, it may be best to leave it alone.

Many things can be done to keep a nail fungus infection from reoccurring. To learn more, read “How To Keep From Getting a Fungal Nail Infection”

Available Treatments for Fungal Nail Infections

How to find the best treatment? Here is a list of the currently available treatments for nail fungus infections, divided into three categories to help you determine what might work best for you.

It is always best to consult with your health care provider to determine the best course of action. You can also use current medical research to learn about treatment options.

Most likely to be effective and least harmful:

Itraconazole Pills (commercial name, Sporanox): This is an antifungal oral medication. It treats nail infections caused by fungus.

Terbinafine Pills (commercial name Lamisil): This is an antifungal oral medication. It treats nail infections caused by fungus

Likely to be effective but possibly more harmful:

Fluconazole Pills (commercial name Diflucan): This is an antifungal oral medication. It is used to treat infections caused by fungus but fluconazole is not commonly given for nail infections.

Ciclopirox lacquer: An excellent choice if you wish to avoid taking pills to clear up your nail fungus infection, especially if your case is mild. This antifungal nail polish is applied directly to the affected area. The commercial name for ciclopirox is Penlac Nail Lacquer.

Needs further research:

Griseofulvin Pills (commercial name Grifulvin V): Griesofulvin is actually an antibiotic. It isn’t as effective as other medications in clearing up a nail fungus infection.

Ketoconazole Pills (commercial name Nizoral): Ketoconazole is an antifungal oral medication that is rarely used because it can cause damage to the liver.

Terbinafine Cream or Spray: Terbinafine also comes as a topical cream and a topical spray. Its commercial name is Lamisil

Removing a portion of or all of your nail: This is usually done for very severe nail fungus infections or when people experience reoccurring symptoms. This is a treatment that doctors tend to suggest when all else has failed.

What Nails Are and How They Become Infected

What Nails Are and How They Become Infected

Our nails look like clear, hard sheathes that cover part of our finger and eventually grow out over the edge. Most people have a bit of a pinkish tinge underneath their nails. The nail itself isn’t pink but allows the color of the skin and blood vessels directly underneath to show through. This is what a normal, healthy nail should look like.

A nail infection discolors the nail to a whitish or yellowish color at first, then as it grows, brown and black can become part of the color scheme.

Nails are made up of keratin, the same protein that builds our hair and the outmost layer of our skin. Keratin is a strong-celled protein that is fairly diverse. For our nails, it builds this lovely sheath to protect the soft part of the nail from harm.

How Does Infection Get Into the Nail?

Really what happens is that a fungal infection gets under the nail. Just like their cousins, the mushroom, the fungal spores that grow and invade the nail bed want to be in a warm, dark, damp place to grow. We come into contact with these spores on a regular basis. Some of them are harmless and wash off with no effect to us. Others try to seek a parasitic relationship with our bodies, using us as a means to grow and spread themselves.

Most people don’t realize when or where they might come into contact with these parasitic fungal spores. The answer is, pretty much everywhere. Germs, viruses, and spores are part of the make-up of our eco-system. Having a healthy immune system is what allows our bodies to fight these things off.

The fungus that most commonly causes nail infection is called a dermatophyte. We come into contact with them every day and for most people, no harm is caused. However, for people with certain diseases, like diabetes, or who have poor circulation, or even who have been sick for a long time, so their immune system has been working overtime, these parasitic fungi find a happy breeding ground. The most commonly affected area is the toenail, as it is usually kept in the dark and surrounded by warm fabric that has the potential to hold in moisture. Fingernail fungus infections occur most often in people who spend a great deal of time with their hands in the water or exposed to harsh chemicals.

Fungus grow very slowly, so by the time the infected person notices the discoloration of their nail, the fungus has already established a fairly good hold on the nail. Usually it gets underneath the nail at the tip of the toe by working its way underneath and into the protected nail bed. It can also get into the soft tissue surrounding the nail and work its way under from there. Nail Fungus Infections aren’t incredibly dangerous, but they do take a very long time to treat, as the fungus isn’t gone until the nail has grown out entirely clear.

What can I do to prevent it?

There are lots of ways you can prevent nail fungus from getting to your nails in the first place. This is your best bet.

  • Keep your nails trimmed close to the edge of the finger or toe tip. The less space there is at the edge of the nail for the fungus to get on, the less likely it will be to grow.
  • Wash your hands and feet regularly and dry them thoroughly. Wear clean socks every day and make sure your shoes dry out entirely before wearing them, especially if you wear the same shoes every day.
  • Wear something on your feet when in public areas that have a lot of water, like swimming pools or locker rooms. And make sure those shoes have a chance to dry out too!

If I Get Infected, How Do I Treat It?

There are a great many home remedies suggested on this and other websites. Over-the-counter remedies and medications are another good idea. If you’re going to try to treat it yourself, start working with one of these remedies and wash the affected area at least twice a day, then dry it thoroughly. Wear clean socks if it’s a toenail infection, even to the point of changing your socks a couple times a day. Right after washing your feet. And if it is possible for you to wear sandals, exposing your feet to the light also helps.

If your infection is severe or well advanced, a visit to your doctor to figure out what kind of fungal infection it is and what treatment options are available to you will be your next step.

Some Useful Information When Looking for Nail Fungus Treatments

Some Useful Information When Looking

for Nail Fungus Treatments

Nail fungus, known medically as Onychomycosis, is not an easy condition to treat. Primarily cosmetic in nature, it most commonly affects the toenails.

People who are at risk for contracting nail fungus are:

  • Older people,
  • Males,
  • People with diabetes
  • People who have had trauma to their nails
  • People with hyperhydrosis
  • People who suffer from peripheral vascular disease
  • People who have athlete’s foot
  • People with an immunodeficiency
  • People who practice poor hygine
  • People who spend a lot of time in the water

There are a number of different species of fungus that can infect the nail. It is also common to find several different fungal infections at one time. The visible symptoms of nail fungus are a thick, discolored and distorted looking nail.

Curing nail fungus has historically been problematic. Modern medicine has found several new options for curing nail fungus. Visiting your health care provider to determine what kind of infection you have and confirming that it is in fact a nail fungus, instead of some other nail infection, is paramount to a successful treatment regimen. Discovery of this is fairly simple. Your doctor can take scrapings and/or clippings of the infected nail to examine under a microscope, and if necessary, send to a lab for culture.

Once you know what you are dealing with, your nail fungus treatment can begin. A common treatment option is an oral prescription antifungal medication. Two older, and therefore proven and well documented, medications are griseofulvin and fluconazole. Unfortunately these medications aren’t effective on all forms of nail fungus and for the fluconazole, the treatment can last up to 9 months.

Two new comparatively to the market prescription medications that have proven effective against nail fungus are terbinafine and itaconazole. These have both proven to be more effective than their older cousins, fluconazole and griseofulvin.

Terbinafine is taken daily over the course of three months. It is reported to be well tolerated with no negative drug interactions with other medications or significant side effects.

Itaconazole runs in a weekly cycle of three weeks on and three weeks off over the course of 3-5 months. People who take a protease inhibitor should not take itaconazole.

For those who do not wish to take an oral prescription, there are alternatives.

A topical medication is now available for curing nail fungus. Your doctor can prescribe using a nail polish containing 8% ciclopirox solution. You paint this on your nail, as you would a regular nail polish, and the adjacent skin every day for 12 months. This treatment is not as effective as oral prescription medication and the course of treatment is lengthy.

As you consider how to treat your onychomycosis, please keep in mind that no matter what medication you choose and however long the treatment cycle is, the nail has to grow out completely clear before the fungus is considered gone. It can take some people more than a year to replace a disfigured toenail.

There are some folks who opt for surgery. This is a more drastic treatment for nail fungus and should be considered a later option as it can be both painful and possibly disfiguring. If other options are unavailable to you because other medications are either ineffective or inappropriate, this can be a good solution to your nail fungus problem.

Alternative medicine treatments are another possible solution. Tea Tree Oil has been shown in some studies to cure nail fungus. The Mayo Clinic has one published report if you are interested in reading up on this treatment.

There are many home remedies that have been suggested by individuals who have had success with them. Most of these are not considered to be viable treatments by the medical community, but that does not mean they cannot prove effective. Home remedies include:

  • A 20-30 minute foot soak in vinegar, lemon juice, Listerine, or a solution of bleach
  • Nutritional supplements such as acidophilus
  • Applying baking soda, garlic, olive oil or Vick’s VapoRub to the infected nail

Modern medicine has created many successful options when it comes to curing nail fungus. Consulting your health care provider and doing some research yourself are two positive steps in the right direction. Armed with the correct information, you and your health care provider can create an effective plan to solve your nail fungus problem.

Are There Any Over the Counter Nail Fungus Treatments That Actually Prove Effective?

Are There Any Over the Counter Nail Fungus

Treatments That Actually Prove Effective?

As microorganisms go, fungi seem to be one of the strongest strains. It is much harder to kill them than bacteria and viruses. Dermatophyte, molds and yeasts can invade your nails and burrow deep into the nail itself, creating quite the armor of keratin for this marauding nail fungus. This makes treating onychomycoses much more difficult as even powerful antimycotic medications are not always entirely effective. So this begs the question of whether any of the available over-the-counter nail fungus treatments are effective and worth your time and money.

It is an unfortunate but true fact that very few topical treatments, whether prescription or over-the-counter, effectively treat and cure nail fungus infections.

Amorolfine

A very popular over-the-counter topical onychomycosis drug that has been proven to be effective in clinical trials is amorolfine. This topical drug is available without a prescription in a handful of countries such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand. It’s marketing name is Loceryl. Amorolfine comes as a nail lacquer and is painted on the nail like a polish. This leaves the medicine free to penetrate the nail after it has dried and allows it to work over time, just as the nail fungus does. It is active up to a week, then may need to be re-applied.

Amorolfine works by inhibiting the cell membrane of the fungus. It is only effective on distal (or lateral) subungual onychomycosis. This leaves out proximal subungual onychomycosis and superficial white onychomycosis. Knowing which type of onychomycosis you have contracted is important if you wish to choose this over-the-counter method.

Amorolfine is not available in the United States as an over-the-counter remedy, which is inconsistent with other countries’ policies. There are a few side effects but they are mild and rarely occur with proper usage. A burning sensation while applying the lacquer for the first time has been reported, but it goes away quickly. As online pharmacies become more popular, it may be possible to obtain amorolfine in the U.S. via these services who sell it over-the-counter. However cost may be an issue as Loceryl (the commercial name for amorolfine) can cost around $100.00 – $150.00 for a single 5 ml tube.

There are several over-the-counter anti-fungals that are very successful at treating skin fungus problems but are not successful nail fungus treatments.

Lamisil is a decent oral onychomycosis treatment when it is prescribed in tablet form. However it also has an over-the-counter form of a topical cream, which has not proven effective at treating nail fungus.

Lotrimin (also known as clotrimazole) is very effective at treating athelete’s foot and jock itch but has not tested or been shown as a good nail fungus treatment.

Tolnaftate (or Tinactin) is the third over-the-counter product that although it is an excellent skin fungus treatment, does little or nothing for nail fungus.

A more promising solution in terms of over-the-counter medications is an anti-fungal nail liquid of undecylenic acid. Two different papers, one published in 1965 and the other published in 2008 examined the use of undecylenic acid in treating onychomycosis. The 2008 study shows a positive effect, however in these tests the undecylenic acid was combined with cyanoacylate and hydroquinone. There is no definite proof of undecylenic acid being effective on its own.

In the realm of alternative medicine, Tea Tree Oil, (Melaleuca alternifolia) has been shown to have some positive effect on nail fungus. As it is a naturally occurring fungicide and insect repellant, applying a 100% concentration of the oil to the infected area has been reported by small studies to be able to cure 20% of the cases followed. In two-thirds of the patients followed, using Tea Tree Oil caused an improvement in the appearance of the nail fungus infection. Another study compared the twice daily application of 100% Tea Tree Oil and a 1% solution of clotrimazole. The Tea Tree Oil appeared to be slightly more effective at clearing up the nail fungus problem.

Topical products or removing the nail

All of these topical products are applied and have been tested in cases where there has not been surgery to remove the nail before applying the product. It is possible that removing the nail before treatment, via surgical, mechanical or chemical method, may improve the chances of an over-the-counter nail treatment clearing up a nail fungus as this allows the medicine to get directly to the source of the infection. If you are considering surgery or any other form of nail removal as part of your onychomycosis treatment, please ask your surgeon or doctor for information about follow up nail fungus treatments.

If you do not wish to go the surgery route to solve your onychomycosis issues but do wish to cure your nail fungus, the best chance of success still lies with taking oral antifungal agents, which are currently only available with a doctor’s prescription.

Onychoschizia – Split Nails

Onychoschizia – Split Nails

Onychoschizia is a condition in which the nail split or falls apart easily. Typically people who have Onychoschizia have nails that are very fragile, squashy, and thin or that have funny “crumple” lines. Sufferers are more prone to nail infections. Onychoschizia is most commonly found in women.

What Causes Onychoschizia?

  • Long periods of being submerged in water or chemical baths
  • Poor nutrition
  • Vitamin Deficits
  • Applying nail polish remover
  • Stress

How to Deal With Onychoschizia

  • Wear protective gloves whenever working with chemicals (household or otherwise) or immersing hands in water for a long period of time.
  • Use ointments or lotions that contain alpha hydroxyl acid, for instance, Lanolin or Neostrata, especially after washing your hands and/or feet
  • Do not use your fingernails to dial a telephone or to type as the repeated stress will cause your nails to break
  • Pay attention to how people with healthy fingernails treat them
  • Wear gloves during the winter to help protect your nails from possible infection
  • Trim and file your nails to a nice shape at the tip so that there is less risk of breakage.
  • Do not buff the bulk of the nail as this can strip away necessary protective layers
  • Taking biotin in 2.4 milligram doses as a daily supplement can help with healthy nail growth. Please note: this should not be done by women who are pregnant.
  • Including a daily dose of Knox Gelatin, mixed with fruit juice, every day can help to increase nail strength.
  • Taking nutritional supplements to help increase healthy nail growth
  • Wearing nail polish with nylon fiber can help to strengthen and protect the nail.

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