Causes, symptoms and treatment of toenail fungus

nail fungus treatment with varnish

Among toenail diseases, a special place belongs to onychomycosis, because this pathology affects every 10 inhabitants of the planet. Toenail fungus treatment is a rather time -consuming process, as therapy usually begins when the disease is at an advanced stage. According to research data, the disease more often strikes men aged 40-45 years, and after 60 years, the risk of developing pathology increases 3-4 times. Timely treatment will help eliminate the problem.

Causes of pathological development

Rarely, a fungal infection only affects parts of the nail. Often, the inflammatory process spreads to the fingers and toes. The disease can be provoked by three types of fungi: yeast, mold and dermatophytes. The latter provokes the disease. The reasons for the development of infection can be:

yellowing nails with fungus
  • Elderly patients usually suffer from various chronic diseases, do not have the opportunity to carry out thorough foot hygiene, weakened immune system, slow blood circulation. The combination of these factors often causes fungal infections.
  • Patients with diabetes mellitus are at risk because they have concomitant vascular pathology, especially small capillaries in the legs. A frequent complication of this disorder is the appearance of small ulcers, on the surface of which the fungus grows rapidly.
  • Frequent nail plate microtrauma during cutting or bruising. Everyone faces this problem from time to time. As a rule, for this reason, the fungus occurs on the toenails of the big toe, a complicated treatment, because these areas are more often injured than others and have a denser structure.
  • Systemic and chronic diseases affecting the vascular system: varicose veins, scleroderma, lupus erythematosus. Such diseases are most often accompanied by a violation of blood supply to tissues, which negatively affects the protective barrier and gives rise to the appearance of fungi.
  • If the patient already has a fungal infection in any part of the body, the risk of infection on the nail plate increases several times.
  • Weakening of the immune and defense systems makes a person vulnerable to any type of pathogenic microorganisms. It is enough to catch a cold and the pathological process begins.
  • Fans of saunas and public baths are 4 times more likely to suffer from onychomycosis, because the cleanliness of rooms, swimming pools and showers is not always at the right level.
damage to the nail plate by fungus

The disease belongs to the infectious group. You can be infected from sick people, domestic animals, as well as through contact with soil, water and plants infected with pathogens.

Common forms of onychomycosis

Often, the treatment of toenail mycosis depends on the form of the pathological process. The most common are the following:

toenail fungus symptoms example 1
  1. The distal-lateral form is considered an early stage of the disease. It mainly affects the free edge or side of the nail plate, the whole nail area gradually suffers. As a rule, the shape of this fungus turns into a more complicated shape.
  2. Superficial white type pathology is most often caused by mold. In the early stages, the nail plate begins to whiten, it can flake off and fall off. Often, this form appears in people whose professional activities are associated with prolonged hand contact with water. As a result, the nails soften and lesions appear. This diversity is observed in cases of incomplete destruction of the infection.
  3. It is quite rare to find a proximal shape, which causes thickening of the toenails. The hallmark of this type of disease is that the lesion starts from the root area of the nail, next to the cuticle. That is why patients with this form rarely see a doctor at an early stage. As the pathology progresses, even healthy nails can peel off.
  4. The most dangerous form is total dystrophy. Pathology results from a lack of treatment for one of the previous forms. It is characterized by slow development over many years. If the process develops rapidly, they will discuss the presence of a corresponding systemic disease. It is observed mainly in elderly patients.

Any form requires qualified treatment. If not, the infection penetrates deeper, which makes the fight no more difficult.

Symptoms of pathological conditions

The first signs of onychomycosis are similar to other diseases of the toenails. Violation of the nail structure can be indicated by its thickening or thinning. Atrophic processes indicate the presence of serious concomitant pathology. The disease is indicated by the following symptoms:

toenail fungus symptoms example 2
  • Uniform discoloration of the nail plate, which depends on the type of pathogen. Often, the plate turns yellow.
  • The surface becomes rough and porous. As it progresses, these symptoms get worse.
  • White spots may appear under the nail, appearing as a result of peeling at the base.
  • The gradual separation of the structure starts from the free edge.
  • There is a loss of luster associated with detachment of the thin top layer or skin, nails look unnatural.
  • Slow exfoliation of the entire plate. As a rule, the process starts from the growth zone.
  • Appearance on the surface of the flakes, which are areas of exfoliated nails.
  • Complete destruction of the plate, starting from the free edge.

Equivalent symptoms are changes in the skin around the affected area: peeling of the epidermis of the feet, fingers, intensive formation of burrs. Any symptoms require qualified medical treatment.

Basic diagnostic methods

toenail fungus symptoms example 3

During the initial examination, the doctor should distinguish onychomycosis from other dermatological diseases (psoriasis, keratoderma) that have similar clinical manifestations. Based on these data, an initial diagnosis is made, which can only be confirmed with more accurate screening methods.

Next, a sample of the affected nail was taken to determine the presence of a fungal infection on the structure. A final conclusion on why nail destruction occurs and the type of fungus that gives rise to the process can be made using cultural studies. During the procedure, the specific type of fungus that causes the disease is identified. After this study, a final diagnosis was made. With the determination of the correct type of pathogen, the specialist selects the appropriate treatment regimen that will overcome the disease as quickly as possible.

Drug therapy scheme

Drug therapy aims to destroy the pathogen in the lesion focus and the rest of the body, if the disease is at an advanced stage. Conservative therapy involves local and systemic treatment.

A simple stage of fungal pathology, when small changes in the plate are observed without disturbing the structure and the accompanying symptoms, are treated with topical medications:

nail treatment for fungal infections
  1. Preparations from the group of azoles are intended to slow the growth and development of pathogens. Medicines are available in the form of creams, ointments and solutions. Apply in the morning and evening until the symptoms disappear completely. After that, it is recommended to use the drug for another 5-7 days to consolidate the results and exclude recurrence.
  2. Means destroying fungal cells, which prevents its further development. The standard scheme assumes the use of funds twice a day.
  3. Hydroxypyridone derivatives inhibit the reproduction of pathogens. Often, the agent is prescribed in the form of cream or nail polish, which is applied in the morning and evening.
  4. Salicylic and sulfuric ointments belong to the keratolytic group. Using the product helps soften dead tissue so that the fungus cannot continue to grow due to lack of nutrients. Gradually, the ointment helps the affected nails flake off. The amount of application per day depends on the degree of damage to the plate.
  5. To prevent the addition of bacterial infections, alcoholic iodine infusions are used in the form of compresses.
  6. To strengthen the immune system, a multivitamin complex is prescribed. This helps the body to cope with the symptoms of onychomycosis more quickly.

If the surrounding tissues are involved in the pathological process, no effect from local treatment and complete destruction of the nail plate is observed, the use of systemic drugs is indicated.

The duration of treatment and dosage are determined only by the doctor. It is not acceptable to use self-medication, as there is a high risk of experiencing adverse reactions.

Alternative methods of problem solving

In some cases, surgery to remove the affected nail is indicated. This method is almost never used in modern medical practice. Indications for the procedure may be the addition of a bacterial infection and the complete absence of visible effects from the use of local and systemic medications. However, taking the pill does not stop after eliminating the inflammatory focus.

before and after toenail fungus treatment

An alternative to surgical intervention is to dissolve the plate with a special solution that promotes tissue death layer by layer and helps the affected plate come out safely. This method is practiced at home. You cannot start the procedure without consulting a specialist.

To date, the effectiveness of laser therapy has been proven in the treatment of onychomycosis. The procedure involves exposing the affected area to a laser beam that penetrates deep into the structure and destroys pathogens. The principle of action is similar to that of local antifungal drugs. Such treatment is shown to be intolerant to such funds. A prerequisite for laser therapy is its combination with tablet medications.

Traditional medicine recipes

Onychomycosis is known to ancient healers, so there are many folk remedies that successfully overcome the pathological symptoms. The most effective are medicinal baths with the addition of medicinal herbs, as well as homemade solutions for local use:

foot bath for nail fungus
  1. An effective remedy is a bath with the addition of a decoction of celandine. The broth should be prepared from 200 g of crushed raw material and 2 liters of water. Boil the mixture for 20 minutes, cool to a comfortable temperature. Procedure time 20-30 minutes, repeat daily until symptoms disappear.
  2. Sequential bathing is allowed to be done daily for 2 weeks. To prepare the soup, you need 2 liters of water and 40 g of hay, the mixture is boiled for 15 minutes and ready for use after 20 minutes of infusion. The session lasted for 30 minutes.
  3. To treat affected nails, it is necessary to prepare an infusion of 100 ml of medical alcohol and 10 g of fresh purple flowers. It is necessary to insist on medication for 7-8 days. After that, the solution is used to treat the inflammatory zone in the morning and night until fully recovered.

Alternative medicine is recommended to be used in conjunction with the medication and only after obtaining the permission of the attending physician. It should be understood that the fungus is not only a cosmetic defect, but also a serious blow to the whole body. If there is no treatment, a bacterial infection occurs, which complicates therapy. It is recommended to consult a specialist at the first sign of illness.