Signs and Treatment of Onychomycosis
Treatment might not be needed in some mild instances of fungal nail fungal infection. For more serious or problematic cases, anti-fungal medicines might be prescribed. In some severe cases, a fungal nail fungal infection is less likely to get better without further treatment, but that is not worth treating if you are not bothered by it, or if it does not affect your daily life. If you think you might have a fungal nail fungal infection, see your doctor or pharmacist for further details.
Keeping the area around the nails trimmed neatly can help prevent thickened nails from forming. When growing nails, there are many tiny hair-like structures at the tips that become visible when they grow. These structures can become thickened over time from repeated friction against footwear that contains natural oils, such as those found in the skin, or from fingernail polish, lotion, and other personal care products that build up on the nails and in the nail bed. Thickened or brittle nails are a sign that a fungal infection is present. Regular trimming can help prevent thickened nails from becoming damaged or brittle.
One type of treatment involves making a small incision along the edge of a nail and pulling it slightly away from the nail matrix. The nail is then trimmed with a pusher. Home remedies that include hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar solutions are commonly applied to the nail bed and surrounding skin to encourage the growth of a coat of new skin over the nail matrix. Applying hydrogen peroxide to the nail matrix will likely result in discoloration, so care should be taken when using them, especially for people with darker skin colors. In some cases, the nail may turn a dark gray color, which can look untidy and unsightly.
In cases where the infection has spread, an oral therapy that includes podiatrist-prescribed antibiotics can help reduce the severity and duration of the condition. Some patients will also be given a prescription for an oral retinoid, such as Accutane. An oral antibiotic that is prescribed for fungal nail infections usually takes six weeks to take effect. Taking these drugs can result in serious side effects for some individuals. Individuals with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk for serious complications, such as death.
For patients who do not respond to traditional treatments, the most common invasive procedure for fungal onychomycosis involves creating a “defective nail plate.” When this method is used, the nail does not grow out correctly and is permanently damaged. This treatment option is often successful in preventing onychomycosis from occurring again. People who undergo this procedure must also undergo several months of maintenance treatment to keep their feet healthy and fungus-free.
It should be noted that some fungal infections are related to diabetes and are called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. If a person has had one or more episodes of nail dystrophy and then develops diabetes, they may run a greater risk of developing nail dystrophy in the future. Nail infections can be very painful, but nail dystrophy can be effectively treated with medications and timely treatment. Although this disease does not always lead to permanent loss of the nail, it can be extremely disfiguring. Individuals who experience nail loss due to onychomycosis should immediately contact a physician for further information and to learn more about effective treatment options.