Approximately 50% of all nail-related ailments are due to fungal infections that may affect either fingernails or toenails, but toenails typically suffer more frequently. The cause of these fungal infections is a type of fungus called dermatophytes, which live on dead nail tissues. Signs of these infections include thickening, discoloration, and brittleness. Unfortunately, treating and overcoming them can prove to be difficult and the infection may resurface.
Dermatophytes, fungal organisms that thrive off the deceased cells found in nails, are the leading cause of nail fungal infections. Symptoms typically consist of nails that turned thick, yellowish, or brittle. Unfortunately, these fungal aggressions can be tricky to eradicate, sometimes even reigniting after attempted treatments.
If you’ve ever experienced a highlighted yellow or even brittle nails, chances are you are infected with nail fungus. This is commonly caused by a dermatophyte, a type of fungus which inhabits dead tissues of the nails and can be incredibly tricky to combat or expel – often times even after successful treatments, the nail fungus can come back unexpectedly.
Nail fungal infections come in three distinct bucket varieties: the common white onychomycosis, the slightly rarer yellow onychomycosis, and the deep-seated onychomycosis.
The most widespread form of nail fungus is the aptly named “superficial white onychomycosis”, which manifests itself in the nails with a characteristic white, powdery look. This issue is usually determined to be brought about by the presence of Trichophyton rubrum.
Less noticed than its cousin, White Onychomycosis, Superficial Yellow Onychomycosis is identifiable by the yellow, undesirable hue of the nail. Infecting our nails via Trichophyton mentagrophytes, this challenge requires swift and considered treatment.
Least common amongst nail fungus, deep-seated onychomycosis gifts fingernails with a hardened, yellow, or crumbly consistency. This often derives from infections brought about by Trichophyton rubrum or its mate Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
Dealing with nail fungus has proven to be an ongoing challenge, as recurrent infections are often seen, even after treatment. Typically, three approaches are employed in addressing the problem: oral antifungal pills, topical agents, and removal of affected nails by surgical intervention.
For effective nail-fungus relief, taking an oral antifungal over a period of six to twelve weeks is advised. Terbinafine is by far the most prominent of the oral antifungal medications useful for this purpose.
Compared to oral antifungal medication, topical medication offers fewer side effects, however its effectiveness is lesser in treating fungal infections. This type of solution must be applied directly to the nail and surrounding skin. Clotrimazole is the most commonly prescribed topical antifungal medication.
In severe cases of nail fungal infection, surgery may be recommended as a treatment option. By conducting an intricate procedure, doctors are able to rid the infected nail and scour the underlying bone to help ensure all traces of the infection are eliminated. Afterwards, oral antifungal medication is typically prescribed to further mitigate the fungal issue.
To help you steer clear from nail fungal infections, prevention is the key. Whether it is keeping your nails tidy and dry or wearing shoes that fit snugly, these steps will help protect you. Additionally, try your best to not exchange nail clippings and other personal items to minimize potential transmission of the infection. If you find yourself with a nail fungal infection already, address it quickly in order to guard against the spreading of the infection.