There are three types of treatments for toenail fungal infections:
- Prescription cures – the medicines which your health care provider can prescribe you.
- Non-prescription drugs – medications which you can buy in drug stores without prescription.
- Home medicines for toenail fungus – the medicines which you have at home. These are not medicines in the real sense of the word, but these are rather substances which perform great effect in combating fungal infection due to their antiseptic qualities.
- Pros and cons of toenail fungal cures
- Home or self treatments for fungal infections
- What are home toenail fungus cures?
- Prescription toenail fungus cure
- Non-prescription antifungal cure pros and cons
- Medical procedures as toenail fungus cure
- Laser toenail fungus treatment
- Surgical nail removal
- Non-surgical nail removal
Antifungal medicines are must-haves for toenail fungal treatment even if you choose medical procedures for fungal infection treatments. There are also certain medical procedures which are inevitable in neglected cases.
Medical procedures for nail fungus treatment include:
- laser correction – light based technology offering you to correct damaged parts of the nail and to leave healthy part of a nail untouched. Laser correction is used for mild to severe cases.
- Nail removal with surgery – a procedure of complete removal of an entire nail.
- Nail removal without surgery – a procedure of chemical removal of a damaged part of nail.
But what is the best way to get rid of fungal infection on your toenails in the fastest and easiest way? Let us review the pros and cons of different types of treatment.
Pros and cons of toenail fungal cures
In simple words you can choose one of the cures for fungal infections:
- home or self treatment
- non-prescription medications
- medical procedures
Home or self treatments for fungal infections
Fungi are very cunning micro-organisms as they are resistant to environment and can live outside a human body for a long period of time. This explains the resistance to treatments. You can try home toenail fungus cure if you just noticed a disease and your nails are in a rather good condition.
The pros of home treatment are:
- cost effectiveness — most of the recipes are using stuff you surely have in your kitchen as vinegar, oils, salt, soda or in your home medicine box as hydrogen peroxide;
- time effectiveness — the procedures and cures are commonly conducted or applied during daily body care as taking morning or evening shower;
- easy to prepare — you do not need special knowledge or appliances to prepare a solution for your fungus damaged toenails;
- safety — home prepared cures for toenail fungus infection are commonly safe and do not provoke any side effects as they are not taken orally and the concentration of solutions is safe enough in order not to burn sole and feet skin.
The cons of home antifungal treatment:
- low effectiveness in neglected cases — if your nails are already severely damaged with fungus, then home made antifungal medicines will fail to help you. This can also lead to case worsening. When you use a low effective medication a disease will surely progress. The same happens with fungal infection, while you apply ineffective medication, your fungi will damage other nails.
These procedures are advised to use as supplementary or secondary treatment due to antiseptic effects.
What are home toenail fungus cures?
These are solutions with:
- apple cyder vinegar
- white vinegar
- tea tree oil
- hydrogen peroxide
There are numerous recipes how to cure toenail fungus at home. Take 1 portion of active ingredient (for example, salt) per every liter of hand hot water. If you choose vinegar, then use it in proportion of 1:4 with hand hot water.
Some recipes recommend to mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in one solution. But we warn you that such a solution can cause a chemical injury of your feet skin.
Rice is used as a scrubbing ingredient being previously coarsely ground. This flour is mixed with an antiseptic solution and then applied to a damaged nail. Such a home made scrub will gently polish an upper layer of a fungal toenail and remove it safely, and an antiseptic solution will prevent spores of fungi to penetrate deeper in the toenail and underlying tissues.
Home made toenail fungi cures are advised to apply in combination with prescription or non-prescription drugs. They are not recommended as key methods of toenail fungus treatment.
Prescription toenail fungus cure
Oral medications are considered to be the most effective way how to cure toenail fungus. These are commonly pills of various dosages which are taken orally following the recommendations of the manufacturer or your health care provider. But are the pills as effective?
Pros of oral toenail fungus cures:
- Simplicity – it is very easy to get pills treatment, you do not need to prepare solutions or make time consuming procedures. All you need is just to take a pill as scheduled by your doctor or pills manufacturer.
- Effectiveness – pills commonly provide fast noticeable effect.
But this way of cure of toenail fungus has the biggest scope of disadvantages:
- side effects – pills are taken by mouth, thus an active ingredient passes your stomach, gets absorbed into the blood and only then gets transported to a point of treatment destination – your toenail. That is why you can experience various side effects depending on a certain type of pills;
- general effect – antifungal oral pills are taken by mouth and the curing ingredient is spread all over the body and is not transported directly to a spot of fungal infection;
- contraindications – not all pills can be taken safely. Some liver, stomach diseases are contraindications to oral treatments;
- interactions – if you are taken certain drugs occasionally or constantly then you need to discuss possible interactions of antifungal pills and the drugs as pills combination can cause anaphylactic collapse. Moreover some antifungal drugs can reduce the action of other medications. You need to know for sure that you can safely combine drugs in order not to compromise effectiveness of both.
Among the most effective and most often prescribed medicines for fungal infection treatment there are Lamisil, Sporanox, Diflucan, Gris-Peg, etc. and their generics. Mind that these are pills which are taken by mouth.
Non-prescription antifungal cure pros and cons
Non-prescription antifungal drugs are commonly topical creams and gels which are applied to a damaged nail and nearby skin twice a day or as needed until complete recovery.
There are many types of such topical medicines having different ative ingredients in their composition. However most of them are of slight to no result at all.
Pros of topical creams and gels:
- easy to buy and apply — you can buy any of te topical creams or antifungal gels over te counter at any drug store and apply the medicine as it is indicated by the manufacturer or as you need it;
- cost effective — surely, prices for antifungal drugs vary sufficiently, however you can find effective and rather cheap medicines which will work great in your case;
- safety — as these medicines are for topical application they do not perform side effects. Only 1% of patients report allergic reactions related to the application of antifungal creams or gels.
Cons of non-prescription medications:
- low efficiency – topical creams fighting fungal infections of nails are commonly used as supplementary treatment. In most successful cases such medicines are applied immediately after a nail fungus is detected. However if a nail is sufficiently damaged and distorted by a fungal infection, then topical creams and gels will be of no result at all. It is recommended to apply topical curing polishes, creams and gels as supplementary medicine, but not as key treatment.
Medical procedures as toenail fungus cure
Medical procedures are considered to be the fastest and simplest way to get rid of cunning fungal infection. There are conservative methods of treatment as laser nail fungus correction as well as radical treatments as nail removal which can be surgery and non-surgery. Let us review every procedure and try to find out its efficiency, pros and cons.
Laser toenail fungus treatment
It is one of the latest, least invasive and damaging methods of nail fungus treatment. Laser beam kills the fungal spores inside the nail plate thus stopping the infection. It easily penetrates in the inner layers of nail where fungi spores are commonly located and disrupts pathogens as fungi, bacteria or viruses. The procedure is commonly painless, but some patients report a sort of discomfort. The laser nail treatment is proved to be as effective as other medical procedures.
Pros of laser nail fungal treatment:
- It is the fastest and the least invasive method of nail plate recovery.
- It eliminates nail removal.
Cons of laser treatment:
- Laser treatment of nail fungal infections is the most expensive method of curing.
- In neglected cases patients commonly need more than one procedures to get fungi completely killed as if viable spores are left inside the nail plate the infection will restart in the shortest while.
Surgical nail removal
Surgical nail removal is one of the alternative methods of getting rid of fungal infection, however it features the disadvantages which stop many patients from removing the nails. These are pain and physical and moral discomfort.
Surgical nail removal is applied only when other cures for fungal infections failed to perform any result. A doctor will make a decision whether to remove an entire nail (avulsion) or only its part (debridement).
Surgical removal of the nail can be performed only in clinic. Never remove nails at home as this is a surgery and it requires complete sterile environment. A patient gets an injection in his finger to numb it and to prevent pain. Then the doctor loosens cuticle and skin around a damaged nail and separate the plate from the skin with a special tool. If the doctor decided to remove only a part of the nail, then only a damaged part gets separated.
If you do not want a nail to grow back, you can ask your doctor to apply special chemical solution on the nail bed and cuticle to destroy nail matrix.
After the surgical nail removal you will need to apply antibiotic and antifungal ointments on the damaged toe to avoid contamination of the wound. You will need to clean and dry the wound for at least 3 weeks after surgery changing gauze and tape. A wound will heal during this time, however it will take from 6 to 12 month for a new nail to grow back.
Pros of surgical nail removal:
- fast procedure – you will solve a problem with nail fungi right after a single procedure
Cons of surgical nail removal:
- pain after the surgery – it will last up to several days so you will be limited in your choice of footwear, moreover chances are that you will experience pain when stepping on the foot.
- aesthetic discomfort – toenail fungi commonly occur in summer when people are used to wear open toe shoes. If you have a nail removed you will not be able to wear open shoes, moreover you will not be able to visit places where you are expected to walk bare foot as swimming pools, beaches, tanning salons.
- This method can not be applied if many nails are damaged, nobody wants all toenails to be removed.
Non-surgical nail removal
Nails are removed only in severe cases when other methods have turned ineffective. Non-surgical or chemical nail removal is a painless and fast method of nail removal. With this procedure a doctor is able to remove only a damaged part of a nail. This leads to more precise results than surgical nail removal as more of healthy nail being left untouched.
A doctor will protect healthy parts of skin and nail from a chemical with a cloth adhesive tape. An urea ointment is placed directly on the damaged part of toenail, and the nail gets closed with plastic and tape. The ointments starts dissolving the nail layers and softening the nail. It works on the nail for at least 7 days. During this period you should keep your foot and toe dry. After 7 days your doctor will cut or just remove a dead part of nail. Patients commonly do not feel any pain or discomfort as during wearing ointment so during the procedure itself.
Pros of chemical nail removal:
- painless – the ointment acts in such a way that even after nail removal the opened tissues will be senseless but alive.
Cons of non-surgical nail removal:
- expensive – this procedure is certainly cheaper than laser correction, but it is much more expensive than surgical nail removal.
- too long – it is the longest way of ail removal ever known.