Archive for the ‘Nail Fungus Infection’ Category
Topical Medications to Treat Nail Fungus
There are a wide variety of treatments available to cure nail fungus. Some of these treatments are oral and some are topical. Topical treatments are available as prescription, over-the-counter and natural or alternative. Most people prefer using a topical treatment to an oral medication because the topical medication has far fewer risks associated with its use.
The topical prescription medication Penlac (otherwise known as Ciclopirox) is a relative newcomer to the U.S. market. Approved by the FDA in 1999 and in Canada in 2004, this was a wonderful improvement in the treatment of nail fungus as up until then, prescription treatments were all systemic, the regimens were long, and ran the risk of damaging the internal organs.
Penlac delivers its antifungal medication in nail polish form. The main ingredient in Penlac is Ciclopirox, a broad spectrum antifungal. This medication works via its delivery method. Because the medication is painted directly onto the affected area, it has time to penetrate the nail and deliver the necessary antifungal boost to the nail bed, which is where the fungus grows. The concept of Penlac is to kill the fungus where it lives, underneath the nail, so that the infection is permanently eliminated. This avoids the necessity of taking oral antifungal medications, which work systemically (throughout the body) and have more side effects, including possible organ damage. Application of Penlac is suggested daily to the infected nail and surrounding tissue for up to 12 weeks.
In today’s modern world, you can choose from allopathic, or prescription remedies, and natural, or homeopathic remedies. The natural remedies are frequently available at your pharmacy or online. Many products are available to cure nail fungus but one of the most effective is ClearFungus. ClearFungus is available on line and comes with a money back guarantee. The website has many testimonials available for you to read. ClearFungus is a natural fungicide and its main ingredient, combined with other natural products, work together to promote healthy recovery for your skin and nails.
The natural health market has several topical products and they usually include the same basic ingredients. The difference ends up being in the price. When looking for a natural remedy, make sure you have access to the list of ingredients, whether on the product packaging or on a website. A natural remedy should include an active fungicide and preferably ingredients that encourage healthy nail re-growth and conditioning for the surrounding skin. An excellent option for a topical nail fungicide is Tea Tree Oil, which can be purchased at any health food store and many pharmacies. If you have the option, research has shown that a spray, lacquer, or heavy ointment, are all more effective than a cream.
How you choose to treat your nail fungus infection is something that you and your doctor need to decide. If you choose to go with a non-prescription product, make sure that you do your research so that you find a product that will work best for you. Remember that natural medicine is strong and can fix many problems (as it has been doing for centuries) but that prescriptive medicine is a derivative of natural medicine as many prescription cures come from a similar chemical make-up. There are times when a prescription medicine may be necessary, especially in the case of a severe infection. However you choose to treat your nail fungus, research all possible medication interactions and side effects and keep track of anything that may occur. Because no one understands your body better than you.
Onychomycosis is a broad term for many different kinds of fungal infection. Our nails are necessary parts of our body and protect the sensitive tissue beneath them from harm. Onychomycosis makes our nails look bad and become brittle with development of the disease. Treatment can be long and difficult but ultimately effective.
- The nail begins to discolor, usually to opaque white or yellow
- This usually begins at the tip of the nail and works its way down
- The nail begins to thicken and become unattractive
- As the nail thickens, it can develop darker yellow and brown spots
- The nail becomes brittle and begins to crumble or flake off
- Ultimately the nail may pull away from the nail bed and partially or entirely fall off.
- These symptoms cause people embarrassment in public because of the appearance of their nails
- Their ability to walk or feel things may be hampered by pain or discomfort because of the disease
Causes and potential hazards
Onychomycosis is an infection that anyone and everyone can contract. It is seen most commonly as people age and it affects far more of the elderly population than the younger population, beginning around 40. Seeing it in kids is fairly rare, while people who are towards the end of life seem to suffer from it frequently. These people also tend to suffer from diseases that assist the fungus growth, like diabetes and poor circulation.
The easiest way to reduce the possibility of contracting a nail fungus infection is to take good care of your nails. The healthier they are, the easier it is for them to resist infection.
Treating and Healing From this Disease
The hardest part for most people about this disease is that it takes so long to cure it. Many people get frustrated and quit, determined to endure it, before they can eradicate the fungus causing the infection.
The best way to treat a nail fungus infection is to apply an antifungal to the infected areal. There are many available treatments, topical and oral, standard medicine and alternative medicine, to choose from. The sooner this infection is caught, the easier it is to cure as once the fungus has embedded itself underneath the nail it becomes much harder to get at.
If the infection has become severe, oral antifungal medication may become a necessity, or even surgical removal of the nail.
The best solution to the whole problem is to keep your nails clean and healthy to prevent infection and if you are already infected, work to cure the infection as well.
What You Need To Know About Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus infections are all caused by a fairly common set of conditions that can affect up to 12% of the American population. A fungus is a living organism that enjoys dark, damp places. Because of this, most people get a fungal nail infection in their toes. It does sometimes occur on fingernails, but as the feet offer a much more hospitable environment, that is the most sought after area for these little life-forms. The fungus can live along side the nail, or burrow underneath the nail. There are several factors that determine where the infection is actually located, two of which are the progression and severity of the infection.
Doctors have noticed that a the beginning of an occurrence, it is most likely that the fungus lives along side the nail and gradually works its way underneath the nail to the nail bed as the infection progresses. Early symptoms of a fungal nail infection include a white or yellowish spot on the nail. As pain or discomfort are not common at this stage of infection, most people don’t notice the problem until it has progressed further.
As the infection develops, things become a bit more noticeable, even if these changes happen slowly. The nail dulls and gradually becomes yellowed and sometimes the toenail changes its shape. This is caused by the thickening of the nail and potential crumbling at the edges as it becomes more brittle and frail. The thick, yellowing, ridged nail is the trademark of the condition. This is when people tend to feel discomfort from the infection, sometimes caused by the nail separating from the nail bed.
If you allow this condition to progress sufficiently that your toenail separates from the nail bed, exposing the soft skin below, it is possible that this can result in further, and more serious, infection. If you see pus oozing from your toe, or if there is a bad odor when you take off your sock, it is now time to go see your doctor, immediately.
The myth about the toenail fungus microorganism is that it is only found in dirty places. Much like its cousin, the mushroom, this microorganism is happy to breed wherever and whenever it can. If its living conditions are correct, it will be there and will inevitably come into contact with hands and feet that it will send its spores onto to continue increasing the population. This is a fungus that everyone comes into contact with daily. Infection occurs when you give the fungus an environment in which it can thrive.
The medical community refers to this particular fungus as dermatophytes. While there are other causes of nail fungus infection, including yeast and mold, dermatophytes are the most common culprit.
There are things that may make a person more susceptible to toenail fungus, such as:
- An unhealthy immune system
- Peripheral artery disease
- Trauma to the foot, especially if the toenail has been damaged
- Abnormal skin pH
- Poor hygiene
- Previous fungal nail infections
It is unlikely that a fungal nail infection will become life threatening or debilitating. However they can cause pain and discomfort as well as affect a person’s self esteem because of the appearance of the nail. Because treating toenail fungus can be difficult, doing your best to prevent infection is the most effective cure. If you are concerned that you have an infected toenail, consult with your health care provider. Between the two of you, the state of your foot health can be determined and a course of action can be enacted.
The Places Toenail Fungus Like To Hide
Permanently ridding yourself of a nail fungus infection once it has taken hold can be a very difficult job. The fungus grows slowly but strongly and by the time you see the initial symptoms, a great deal of damage has already occurred. The fungus likes to work its way underneath the nail so that it uses the nail as a shield to keep it warm and moist, its favorite growing environment. It also makes it easier for the infection to reoccur after what seems like successful treatment because the fungus can lie dormant underneath the nail, then start growing again once the treatment ceases.
How Does a Nail Fungus Grow?
A fungus is a parasitic growth that prefers darkness to sunlight, as it has no chlorophyll. It does have roots and spreads via spores. Much like its cousin the mushroom, the body of the fungus looks like an umbrella. The spores spread and grow in dark, damp places. The most common cause of toenail fungus is wearing shoes as they hold in the moisture of sweat and keep the toenails in the dark. Also, most people wear the same pair of moisture absorbing shoes over and over again without allowing them to dry and air properly. Your body gives off both moisture and heat, providing the fungus with the perfect living environment.
Besides Shoes, Where Else Do Fungus Hide?
Exercise mats, such as yoga mats are ideal breeding grounds for the spores that cause nail fungus. Although the mat is made of rubber, which you would think is impenetrable, it soaks up the heat and moisture while you exercise. Then after your workout, you roll it up and stick it away until next time, providing the perfect growing environment for the fungus to attack your feet.
Flip-Flops that people wear into public showers are another good breeding ground for fungus, especially because most people don’t allow them to dry thoroughly before using them again. Ironically, the very item you use to protect your feet becomes the transmitter for the fungus you are trying to avoid.
Remedies To Treat Nail Fungus
There are many ointments and nail fungus solutions available over the counter or on the Internet to clear up nail fungus infections.
Most people try these, or home remedies before resorting to taking an oral antifungal medication to clear up the fungal nail infection as there are risky side effects associated with these treatments.
Mixing Tea Tree Oil and mineral oil as a toe soak is a home remedy solution. The mineral oil works to soften both the nail and surrounding skin, the Tea Tree Oil is a natural antifungal and antiseptic. Combined, these can be a powerful treatment for your nail fungus problem. This, and all nail fungus treatments, will take a while to show results and to cure the problem permanently, so you have to be patient and practice these remedies regularly so the full healing process can take place.
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.