You can waste dozens of hours reading endless articles on how to get rid of toenail fungus and still you can be unaware of how to remove nail fungus safely and simply. We have made this for you. We have reviewed the most popular methods of treating fungus and have estimated its efficiency and safety.
How to get rid of toenail fungus with home remedies?
Many patients avoid visiting doctor with such a problem as nail fungus considering it to be a cosmetic defect and not a medical problem. Some patients visit beauty parlors and polish their damaged nails. Some try some traditional ways of how to get rid of nail fungus at home with available means.
All of these approaches are wrong. Before you will start any treatment you need to know that:
- nail fungus is a disease and it requires treatment and not hiding with nail polishing or scrubbing;
- nail fungus may lead to severe unwanted consequences as inflammations of nearby tissues, pis;
- up to 24% of patients lose their damaged nails;
- up to 3% of patients lose their toes due to severe inflammation and infection spreading. Infection causes tissue death and gangrene;
- up to 77% of fungal infection thrive unnoticed until it is too late to apply conservative methods of treatment.
That is why it is of ultimate importance to:
- diagnose the problem as early as possible – to do so you need to regularly examine your toenails and fingernails and register any changes of the color or surface;
- take proper care about your feet and toes and hands;
- visit a doctor right after bothersome symptoms appear;
- take regular actions to treat the disease.
To be able to properly diagnose and distinguish nail fungus from other nail diseases you need to know evident symptoms of the infection:
- spots on nails;
- nail discoloration;
- changes in the structure of a nail (you can sense some ups and downs on the nail plate surface);
- foul odor;
- pus discharged under the nail plate;
- nail plate separation;
- nail thickening;
- fragility of a nail plate (it is impossible to cut a nail without its cracking);
- complete distortion of a nail plate.
There are numerous ways how to get rid of toenail fungus, some of them are absolutely free as you have necessary components at home. Home toenail fungus cures are the safest and the simplest ones as you need to mix some ingredients and to rub or soak your fingers or feet. Of course, do it yourself home antifungal medications have sufficient disadvantages:
- they are least effective and help only at an early stage of disease;
- they need to be done regularly for a long (up to 6-8 months) period of time.
Among top effective home medications helping to get rid if nail fungus there are:
Cinnamon oil extract is a perfect nail fungus cleaner. It can be applied directly to a damaged part of a nail or in a form of a solution with a hand hot water. In the first case the damaged area will get concentrated attack and in the second way you will get a general healing effect. We recommend direct applications in severe, neglected cases or for very damaged and distorted nails as the concentrated substance will easily penetrate to the spot of “dislocation” of fungal spores and will clean them out. However if a nail plate still looks healthy without any noticeable damages, then the solution is a perfect way. Unfortunately in this case you will not notice as fast effect as in case with direct application. To boost efficiency of this home fungus cure you can mix both methods and first, you can make soaking in a hand hot water, then apply extract directly onto your damaged nails.
Patients report the first noticeable changes to better appear in three to four weeks of regular application of the cinnamon extract.
Tea tree oil is a well-known detoxifier and antiseptic. It is frequently used in cosmetology as an active ingredient due to its rejuvenating qualities. It heals damaged skin and nails, the ingredient is often added to hair treatments to cope with the most popular scalp problems. Moreover it adds shine to damaged hair.
Tea tree oil can also be used in different ways. You can apply a few drops of oil onto a nail and massage the nail plate and the nearby skin. The oil will calm the skin if there is an irritation, will reduce inflammation and will prevent fungal infection from spreading to other tissues. You can also add oil in antiseptic solutions for soaking your feet and toes.
Patients report that regular application of tea tree oil reduces the presence of symptoms and improves overall look of the damaged nail making it look healthier. Patients commonly notice improvements of the fungus conditions in three-four weeks under a condition of regular application at least twice a day, every day for at least three weeks.
Vinegars are also often used to get rid of toenail fungus. Due to high acidity these ingredients are believed to kill everything alive on their way. It is not recommended to directly apply vinegar on nails if they are severely damaged. You can use as white vinegar so apple cider vinegar to get rid of nail fungus fast and simple. If you have a severe case with nail distortion, pain and smell, then you must do a dilute solution taking only one part of vinegar and add up to 4-5 portions of water in order to avoid chemical burning of skin.
We do not recommend adding other activators as soda into the vinegar solution in order to avoid chemical burning of skin, though soda is a well-known antiseptic for skin and nail infections.
Soda and salt solution will perfectly improve the condition of your nails affected with nail fungus. These ingredients are safe and can be applied in high concentrations.
What are the risks of home made medications for toenail and fingernail fungus?
If you are looking for the home available ways of how to get rid of toenail fungus, then you should know about the risks of home treatments:
They seem to be low effective — the results are seen only after three to four weeks and the results can be miserable.
The absence of improvements may point to such consequences:
- The treatment does not work and the disease worsens. In this case you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. Because you have already lost time while applying home treatments and you need a more effective direct treatment of the problem. If you will lose a right moment to apply conservative treatment of nail fungus you may lose a nail as a doctor will not see another option for you as to only remove a nail;
- The treatment works too slowly and the improvements are not as visible as you desire them to be. In this case you can add non-prescription medications. But you need to be sure that the fungal disease responds to home medications and the conditions really improve.
What will doctor prescribe you to get rid of nail fungus?
If you make a decision to see a doctor and to get prescriptions for your fungal infection on the nail, then a doctor may offer you such options:
- prescription medications – they are effective and improve the symptoms shortly after a start of a treatment. These prescription medications are commonly oral drugs which perform strong general effect. Among the most commonly prescribed drugs there are Lamisil, Sporanox and Diflucan. These oral drugs perform a generalized effect and cover a wide range of fungal infections which ca penetrate a human body. These medications can be prescribed as for skin fungus, so for mouth and vaginal fungal infections as well as for toenail and finger nail fungus. One of the most evident disadvantage of the fungal prescription medications is possible side effects and contraindications. These drugs affect kidneys and liver, they may perform side effects on the side of stomach and intestine. Commonly they are well tolerated, but only a doctor should prescribe a necessary dosage which will be effective in your individual case. These drugs are not for all patients. For example, breast feeding women can not take antifungal drugs by mouth. But home remedies for external use perfectly work and reduce inflammations clearing the fungal infection from the nails.
- Topical antifungal drugs are another alternative which can be advised by your doctor. These are creams and gels which should be applied on clean nails twice a day during a prolonged period of time. However topical medications turn less effective than oral ones. The nails affected with fungal infection are commonly get thicker performing a barrier for active ingredients to penetrate the nail layers and reach the spot of “dislocation” of fungal spores.
We recommend to combine home remedies and topical ones. But your doctor may advise you to take prescription medications by mouth and apply topical creams or gels directly on a damaged nail.
If a case of nail fungus is neglected, then your doctor may recommend radical treatment as laser (which eliminates nail removal, but is a very expensive one) or surgical or non-surgical nail removal.
How to get rid of nail fungus with laser?
Special laser directs a beam on a spot of dislocation of fungal spores and kills them. The laser ail fungus treatment is not as painful as ads tell us. The beam heats a nail plate up to 140C and really hurt the nail. The pain is bearable. Some doctors may offer you anesthetics, however in most cases the procedure goes on without pain control (anesthesia).
A great disadvantage of laser treatment is that one procedure will not be enough to completely clear out the infection from your nail. The laser fungal treatment is the top expensive. One procedure can cost up to 1000$ to treat one nail. Before you will agree, you need to estimate your budget, whether you will be enough money to repeat the procedures to get rid of nail fungus completely. If you will not repeat the procedure, chances are that fungal spores that are left alive after laser treatment will get stronger, develop and thrive again. After the first treatment you may not see a result at all.
It is believed that laser is the most progressive treatment available now. But surgical nail removal is more effective, fast and less painless.
How to get rid of toenail fungus — surgical removal
Most of the patients are scared of getting damaged nails removed, but this method of toenail treatment features ultimate benefits:
- a procedure takes only up to 15 minutes and ensures complete recovery as a doctor removes a center of infection;
- a procedure is completely painless as the doctor uses anesthesia. You will surely feel some pain and discomfort shortly after the procedure as you will get an open wound on your toe. You can ask a doctor to prescribe you numbing creams which you will apply to control pain in your toe.
- It is a one time procedure which does not need to be repeated
- A new nail grows faster if a damaged one is removed. It is explained with compensatory abilities of human body.
- This surgical procedure is local and does not have contraindications.
Looking for efficient and safe ways of how to get rid of toenail fungus you will surely find home remedies advices, prescription and non-prescription drugs as well as surgical procedures. The fastest and the safest way is to get a damaged nail surgically removed. The slowest, the least efficient and the most unsure ways are home remedies which perform general antiseptic effect. You can consider taking oral antifungal drugs only if you are healthy, you do not take any other treatment at the moment and you do not have any contraindications.
Nail fungus is not a life threatening disease, but if neglected, it can lead to severe unwanted consequences. The case may turn worse if you apply ineffective home medications. We strongly recommend seeing a doctor.