One of the misconceptions that may people have is that that once a fungal nail infection takes hold it is simply a case of painting on an anti-fungal nail solution for a couple of weeks and it will go away. The fact is, once the infection has taken hold it can be very difficult to get rid of. So, preventing the infection from happening in the first place is essential if you want to avoid those unsightly yellow nails.
Before you learn how to get rid of nail fungus, it would be an advantage to first learn exactly what a toenail fungus is, what causes toenail fungus and the best treatment for toenail fungus.
The fungus that affects the toenails has the clinical name of onychomycosis and is one of the most common types of dermatological conditions. It is reported to affect between 10% and 12% of the population. The condition also has the slang names yellow nails and nail rot. The condition most frequently affects toenails rather than finger nails.
The two most common types of onychomycosis and their symptoms are listed below.
Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis (DLSO)
• Very common and will be the cause of most toenail fungal infections
• Has an effect on the nail bed beginning from the free end of the nail
• Mostly dermatophyte (same fungi that causes Athletes Foot) in origin
• Leads to thickening of the nail, creamy or yellowish discoloration of the nail and also separation of the infected nail from the nail bed.
Superficial white onychomycosis (SWO)
• Has an effect on the outer surface of the toenail
• Dermatophyte in origin
• Whitened discoloration of the nail
• Significant flaking and cracking of the nail
Toenail fungus symptoms in detail
When a toenail is attacked by a fungal infection it will often become thicker and the nail will most often have a yellowish, creamy or even brown discoloration. The structure and appearance of the nail can also change to become crumbly and rough. Splitting and eventual loss of the nail is also possible. Particles from the infection can gather beneath the nail and between the toes causing a foul smell.
In many instances, the fungal nail infection will not cause any discomfort or present any other detrimental effects. However, the infection should be treated as soon as possible rather than left without treatment to stop it causing permanent damage to the nail, spreading to other parts of the body and passing it to others.
Causes of fungal nail infections
The old saying “prevention is better than cure” certainly rings true in the case of a nail infection and understanding the cause of a nail fungus will better enable you to prevent an infection.
The primary cause of a toenail fungus infection is often the very simple fact of regularly
subjecting your feet to damp, moist or wet conditions. For example, wearing sweaty socks will greatly increase the chances of becoming infected.
As with most fungal infections, a toenail fungal infection is contagious and can easily spread to other nails and other people. If you regularly use such places as public swimming pools, saunas, gyms or public showers you will be more susceptible to an infection. However, not all infections come from sweaty feet and public areas, family members can also pass the infection between themselves.
There are those that have a higher risk of contracting a toenail fungal infection such as athletes whose risk factor increases due to them spending long periods of time in sweaty socks, using public showers and public locker rooms. Other groups that are more likely to contract the infection are elderly people, people who already have another type of fungal infection (especially Athletes Foot) and those with a lower immune system such as those with AIDS, Diabetes, Cancer, Leukemia or anyone taking immunosuppressive treatments like steroids.
Protecting yourself against the Causes of Toenail Fungus
With some simple preventative measures you can prevent or at least lower your risk of a toenail fungus infection happening in the first place.
• When using public amenities such as pools, gyms or showers, wear rubber sandals. They will stop your feet coming into contact with the fungus. Make sure to also use the sandals in home to stop the fungus spreading to other members of the household.
• Do not wear wet or sweaty socks. The fungus thrives in dark, damp areas such as socks and trainers. After showering, instead of drying your feet with a cloth towel, use disposable paper towels to stop re-infection, spreading the fungus around your body and the possibility of infecting others.
• Keep your toenails cut short and clean under the nail on a regular basis. This will stop the fungus from gathering under the nail. Make sure to sterilize the scissors or nail clippers after cutting each nail.
• Use anti-fungal sprays, creams or powders after showering or any physical exercise. Anti-fungal shoe liners are also a good idea and should be renewed on a regular basis.
• Eat a balanced and healthy diet. What you eat affects your whole body and a good diet will boost the immune system, preventing not only fungal nails but a whole host of other infections too.
• Refrain from picking the nails and the skin surrounding them. By breaking the skin you could cause a secondary infection, making the condition a whole lot worse.
• Wearing cotton socks that absorb sweat will keep the feet dry and prevent the fungus from forming within its preferred habitat.
How to get rid of nail fungus
Home remedies for toenail fungus
For many people, a trip to the doctor is the last thing they want to do. Most would rather try to get rid of toenail fungus using a home remedy. There are many sites out there that list some quite bizarre home remedies for curing a fungal nail infection, ranging from Hydrogen Peroxide to a neat bleach foot bath. Some of these so called home remedies for toenail fungus may exasperate the condition and do more harm than good. Delaying a correct diagnosis and failing to obtain an effective treatment may allow the fungus to take hold and cause lasting damage to the nail.
However, there are some home treatments that do appear to work. One of these is Vicks VapoRub. A paper published by ISRN Dermatology, 2012, carried out a very small scale study of 18 patients with clinical onychomycosis. The patients were examined at intervals of 4, 8, 12, 36, and 48 weeks. The results were; Fifteen (83%) patients showed a positive treatment effect; 5 (27.8%) had a mycological cure and clinical cure at 48 weeks; 10 (55.6%) had partial clearance; 3 (16.7%) showed no change. Despite not everyone demonstrating improvement, all 18 participants were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the nail appearance. Although, the results of study are quite inconclusive due to the small sample size, it may well be worth a try.
Prescription Drugs for a toenail fungus
Prescription drugs are often stronger and more effective than home remedies and over the counter treatments. However, due to the strength and active ingredients, some of these applications have some very nasty side effects. If you are prescribed a toenail fungus treatment and notice any side effects, contact your health care provider immediately.
Common oral antifungal drugs
Doctors often prescribe oral antifungal drugs such as terbinafine (Lamisil) or itraconazole (Sporanox). Oral medications are very effective in treating fungal nails due to the fact that the fungus is mostly under the nail which is difficult for creams and liquids to penetrate. For a toenail infection these types of drugs are usually taken for 12 weeks.
Medicated nail polish
Other popular prescription drugs are in the form of a medicated nail polishes, one of the most prescribed of these is called ciclopirox (Penlac). The solution is applied once a day for 7 days, after which the built-up layers are removed with alcohol and the whole process is repeated for up to a year.
Prescription nail cream
Antifungal creams are also available on prescription. These are massaged into the nail after bathing. Most of these types of cream tend to be more effective if the nails are thinned before application.
Over the counter treatments for fungal nails
This is the option that most people will choose first due to the fact that these toenail fungus cures are easily obtainable either online or from the local drug store, they are very effective in clearing the infection and are relatively inexpensive.
Best Selling Fungal Nail Treatments
Best treatment for toenail fungus
Listed below are our top 10 fungal nail treatments, all are available on Amazon where you can read actual user reviews and decide for yourself how to get rid of nail fungus.
|FUNGAVIR: FAST & EFFECTIVE NAIL FUNGUS TREATMENT - Fungavir's dual action formula attacks the core of the problem underneath the nail. It then kills the fungus while working to heal the affected area. Fungavir is fast and effective, utilizing only the safest and most powerful anti-fungal ingredients with no known side effects.|
How to get rid of nail fungus quickly - Fungavir's solution is an innovative nail fungus treatment with a proprietary blend of uniquely formulated ingredients that have been rigorously researched and proven to work on the most stubborn cases of nail fungus.
|FungiBan is topical product that cures toenail fungus. FungiBan includes anti-fungal essential oils, a broad spectrum antifungal agent and a superior carrier oil to penetrate throughout and under the nail where nail fungus lives.|
FungiBan includes Terbinafine HCL which has proven to stop the reproduction and spread of Onychomycosis, commonly known as nail fungus.
Since FungiBan is topically applied, it is safe to use and does not have dangerous side effects associated with oral prescriptions.
|Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment kills 99.9% of nail fungus and helps prevent spread of infection & recurrence. It is suitable for treating mild fungal nail conditions. |
This foot care treatment from Scholl is a uniquely designed system for the treatment of fungal nail. It is discrete, easy to use and has been specifically formulated to penetrate into the nail to kill nail fungus at its source. It also helps to prevent the spread of the fungus & protects against recurrence.
|Treats fungus of the toes & fingers on skin around, adjacent to & under nails. Where accessible with applicator brush. Brush-On applicator designed to reach skin areas around & under nails. |
ProClearz Fungal Shield also cures athlete's foot & kills fungus spores. Safe & effective clear formula. Dries quickly without any unpleasant odors. Antifungal liquid with Vitamin E. Made in USA.
|Want to get rid of nail fungus fast? This is the strongest antifungal treatment available without a prescription! |
2X the active antifungal ingredient of the leading brand. Easy brush-on formula absorbs quickly to inhibit the growth and reproduction of fungal cells. Maximum strength!
|FUNG-OFF goes right to the root of the problem with an easy application system. Its maximum strength formula keeps nails clean and healthy. Evaporation is immediate so there is no oily residue.|
Use on natural or acrylic nails. Apply topically to the nail area and under the free edge. Brush liquid on with the included applicator.
Formerly available only through nail care professionals.
Now available directly to the consumer!
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how to get rid of toenail fungus: By Medguy at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Onychomycosis_due_to_Trychophyton_rubrum,_right_and_left_great_toe_PHIL_579_lores.jpg
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