ARE YOUR TOENAILS TURNING YELLOW? YOU MAY HAVE A NAIL FUNGUS INFECTION
Nail fungus or onychomycosis is a very common nail disorder. It accounts for around half of all nail problems with almost 40 million people in the US infected according to Podiatry Today magazine. As the condition is generally painless in early stages it is often dismissed as a purely cosmetic problem that can easily be covered up simply by applying a nail polish. But unfortunately onychomycosis is progressive in nature and will typically not go away without treatment. Although in early stages a yellow discoloration is the main sign of the disease if it is left to progress the nail will become increasingly brittle and distorted. In advanced stages it will lift up and separate from the nail base causing considerable pain and impaired movement.
It is important to seek treatment as early as possible. As the fungus is located underneath the nail it is far harder to treat than more superficial skin fungus infections such as Athletes foot or ringworm, which are caused by the same fungus. Cross infections between athletes foot and onychomycosis are quite common so clear up any athletes foot flareups as possible before the fungus has the chance to spread to the nail. the condition is more common in the toenails than in fingernails as they spend more time cooped up in socks and shoes which create the kind of moist, dark and protected environments in which fungi do best.
When it comes to toenail fungus treatments, there are a number of different approaches you can take. But not all are effective, so it is important to understand the pros and cons of the different options before you make a decision. Here is a summary of treatment approaches for you to consider.
Home remedies – The most common home remedies used for nail fungus affection are white wine vinegar, Listerine and Vicks Vapor Rub. While these may play a role in preventing cross infections to healthy nails, it’s unlikely that they will eliminate nail fungus infections that have taken hold on the nails.
Specialized topical treatments – Topical anti fungal nail lacquer and creams are the most popular first line of treatment for onychomycosis. They are generally safe and have not been linked to any negative side effects. The best selling brands contain powerful anti-fungal agents that will destroy the fungus on contact. But be prepared for lengthy treatment times as the medication has to penetrate through the nail layers to reach the fungus that resides beneath it. Unfortunately too many people give up before they have completely eliminated the fungus and recurrences are common.
Oral anti fungal treatment – For severe or chronic cases it may be necessary to take an oral anti fungal. But as these can cause negative side effects, including liver damage, it’s likely that your doctor will recommend blood toxicity tests during treatment to ensure your risks are minimized.
Laser treatment – If you suffer from fungus infections is worth keeping an eye on new clinical trials underway that are testing the efficacy of laser treatment for toenail fungus infections. Early results do appear promising, but more research is needed.