Nail fungus treatment is one of the hardest do it yourself challenges because nail fungus is hard to detect and diagnose when the disease is at its earliest stage. At the moment a patient notices sufficient changes in the damaged nail structure, it turns out to be too late to apply preventive medications and not all of the home available and non-prescription medications will be able to help cope with the problem. From this review you will find out how to diagnose nail fungus at the earliest stage possible, how to start treatment timely, what everyday remedies will minimize chances to get nail fungus and what treatments and cures are the most effective. But first, let us find out why our toenails get fungus more frequently than fingernails.
The difference between fingernails and toenails
Our fingernails are more frequently exposed to mechanical damages but these damages are less severe than our toenails experience. We often use fingernails to assist in accomplishing some tasks when an additional tool is required. For example, we use our nails to scratch something or open a tin can. But our fingernails do not contact with environmental dirt and derbies as often as our toenails. Fingernails are most of the time exposed to fresh air and commonly get more care than toenails. We wash our hands more frequently and apply antiseptic solutions, protective creams and gels (even cosmetic ones) which perform a barrier for infections to penetrate nails and skin.
Unlike fingernails our toenails are less frequently exposed to fresh air, we used to wear shoes and socks to «protect» our feet from mechanical damages from the environment, however by doing so we do even more harm to our toenails. Poor quality shoes, improper size of shoes, materials that do not breathe contribute to «bad» environment in the shoes and to favorable conditions for fungal infections. Lack of proper care, dirty nails and lots of untreated mechanical damages weaken the natural immune barrier of toenails and feet skin and such micro-organisms as bacteria and fungi easily penetrate the tissues starting an infection.
Why nail fungus is hard to diagnose?
Nail fungus is a micro-organism than penetrates tissues through micro-openings in the upper layers. These openings are formed as the result of traumas and constant mechanical impact and friction (for example, in the shoes). When fungi spores penetrate the tissues of a nail, a patient does not feel and symptoms or discomfort. Thus nail fungus treatment is delayed and is started when the infection develops and thrives. The patient does not feel pain, discomfort, smell. There are neither evident changes of the nail structure nor evident color changes.
However there are certain signs which indicate the presence of fungus infection in the nails. You can use this method for diagnostics of the infection as on fingernails so on toenails and for timely start of treatment.
Examine the surface of a suspected nail with your finger tip. If the surface is even and you do not feel any ups and downs or wrinkles, scratches. Nail fungus can be felt as an up on the surface. When taking a closer look at this lifting you may notice a slight change of color to yellowish or brown. Nail discoloration as well as unevenness of nail plate surface are two first symptoms to pay attention to and start nail fungus treatment immediately. These symptoms may of course point to the vitamin deficiency or recent traumas or injuries. But applying antifungal medications will prevent possible infections. Lack of vitamins weakens natural immune barrier and traumas and injuries form additional entrance ports for fungal spores to penetrate nail tissues. When a spore gets onto a healthy nail it may not find a due openness to penetrate the nail to deeper layers. A trauma causes nail plate to crack providing fungal spores an access to deeper layers of the nail.
What are the risks of nail fungus left untreated
Nail fungus is not a lethal disease (unless some rare cases with critical weakness of immune system). It flows symptomless and does not cause any discomfort until it is too late to apply conservative methods of treatment and it turns to be high time to remove a nail. If neglected nail fungus may spread to other nails.
There are two major problems of nail fungus. First is an aesthetic one which means that a person with fungal infection on nails is limited in his or her public life. Nail fungus looks ugly. It distorts and discolors the nails. They become crumbly and ill looking.
Another problem is potential risks for your family and close people as nail fungus is transmitted through environment (especially through wet and high moist environments as bathrooms and kitchens) and through close contact of bare legs (as in bed, for example). A person with nail fungus must take all preventive measures to protect the family from nail fungus and should start treatment as soon as possible.
But what will happen if nail fungus is left untreated? Most of the patients neglect the problem considering it to be just an aesthetic defect. However in rare cases untreated nail fungus can lead to unwanted severe consequences as nail removal which is a serious surgical procedure with its own consequences.
If untreated nail fungus can provoke an inflammation and bacterial infection complication. In this case soft tissues of toenail will be affected. A patient will sense acute pain, in some cases pis will be discharged from under a nail plate. The case commonly gets worsened with foul odor.
Many patients start home treatments and soakings at this stage of the disease. However in this case it is forbidden. If inflammation and pis are already present, then only doctor should prescribe treatment.
Using folk or traditional methods of nail fungus treatment may lead to tissue death and gangrene. Gangrene is a severe condition which is incurable and leads to amputation of a part of a toe or a foot.
Thus, if you do not want to lose your nail, to experience severe pain and psychological discomfort, if you do not want to lose your toe or foot, then read carefully the next section of this review and find out what treatments are the most effective for nail fungus at various stages of a disease.
Nail fungus treatments: home and prescription medications
First, let us point out the symptoms when you must immediately start any treatment of your nails. Among the most evident symptoms of toenail fungus there are:
- nail thickening
- change of color and spotting
If one or few of these symptoms are present then it is high time to start home treatments or visit your doctor. You can also opt for non-prescription medications available over the counter in most local drug stores.
One of non-prescription drugs you can use for treatment of nail fungus on your hands or feet is ZetaClear. It is a natural, effective homeopathic medication which does not harm your body and health. If features the same strength and efficiency as top prescription medications and ensures as fast effect as top medical procedures do. It clears out fungus from nails even if the nails are already distorted and deeply damaged. Of course, this medication will not work if the nail went loose and is going to fall out. Moreover, nothing will make a loosened nail to stick back to a nail bed. But it will minimize the symptoms and will kill the fungi spores in the deepest layers of nails.
ZetaClear is easy to use. You must apply medication topically at least twice a day till you will notice a healthy nail grows. Unfortunately, the medication will be unable to recover a damaged distorted nail, so you will have to wait until a healthy nail will replace existing one.
This fungal treatment contains top do it yourself ingredients for home fungus medications as:
- olive and clove oil
- almond oil
- jojoba oil
- lemon grass
- vitamin A.
Undecylenic Acid is another known component to treat nails and kill nail fungi. The medication softens the upper layers of rough nail plate which you can easily remove with gentle file or scrub. This is a necessary condition as dead thick layer prevents healing ingredients from penetration to deeper layers of the nail.
What are the challenges of nail fungus treatment?
Fungus treatment is a complex and time consuming process requiring much efforts and time. This is a disease which does not go away as easy as we want it to do.
Persistence of symptoms
It is the first and foremost challenge driving patients desperate and turning them to the top radical methods of fungus treatment being nail removal. To see first successful results you need to know certain facts about nails damaged by fungi:
- a healthy nail grows up to 4-7mm per month, if it is about toenails, they grow even slower adding up to 3mm per month
- a damaged nail plate is impossible to recover — chances are that fungal infection has not penetrated nail tissues too deep and is almost on the surface of nail plate. If a fungus is timely diagnosed and necessary actions are taken, then chances are that you will be able just to remove a damaged layer of a nail plate and polish a remaining part of the nail covering it with nail curing polis. However if a nail is severely damaged up to the deepest layers of nail plate, then the only way to get recovered is growing a new healthy nail.
- new nails grow faster if a damaged nail is removed
Low efficiency of affordable methods
Antifungal therapy does not cost a fortune however the frequency of application and usage of certain medicines can sufficiently devastate your budget. You will as well drive desperate as you will invest money, time and efforts in treatment of fungus on your nails and will not notice any results. That is why we recommend to estimate a probable duration of a treatment course with various prescription, non-prescription and home cures and the cost of surgical removal of a nail or laser or chemical treatment of a nail.
How to achieve ultimate efficiency of nail fungal treatment?
Many patients are so desperate about getting rid of nail fungus that are ready to do anything. We have completed a list of TOP advices on how to improve efficiency of medications and fungal treatment.
Change your diet
Some ingredients are known to be powerful detoxifiers and antiseptics. For example, olive leaf extract perfectly copes with various fungi contaminating a human body. Regular intake of small quantity (a tea spoon is enough) of olive extract will help to get rid of nail fungus as well as will detox your body.
Probiotics will help your immune system to grow stronger and suppress various infections in your body, Fungal contamination happens when the natural body barrier is weakened.
Improve your daily care about feet and nails
While fingernails suffer from nail fungus less frequently, still you need to take proper care about finger- and toenails. First, use antiseptic solutions to kill possible bacteria and spores under the nails. Always take care of nail damages. If a nail plate is cracked, then use antiseptic after soaking. Damaged nails need additional protection. Do not use cosmetic nail polis to cover and hide damaged nails. Drug stores offer specific curing nail polishes which will not only protect a nail from environmental risk factors but will fill the cracks with healing ingredients.
Change your shoes
Believe it or not, but uncomfortable footwear increases chances for getting toenail fungus. Constant constrictions, chasing and mechanical damages of nails provide additional spots of access to spores of fungi and bacteria. Choose shoes of high quality material which will let your feet breathe, wear only shoes of proper size and keep the shoes clean inside as well. If you have had nail fungus, treat your shoes as you treated your nails and feet as fungi are very resistant to changes of environment and stay alive for a long period of time.