Onychomycosis is a disease that quickly becomes infected but is much more difficult to cure. It is not only a cosmetic problem, but also causes unpleasant, painful sensations in a person. According to statistics, every 10th inhabitant of the planet suffers from it, and you may also be in the risk zone. What are the causes of the disease, factors for the development of onychomycosis and how to defeat the fungus on the toenails?
How does toenail fungus appear and why does it occur?
The disease is provoked by dermatophytes, yeasts and molds. According to statistics, every 10th person on the planet is affected by this disease.
Where can you get toenail fungus? The main risk area is swimming pools, baths, saunas. You can get infected using someone else's shoes, socks, or during a pedicure procedure. Onychomycosis more commonly affects individuals with chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, anemia, gastrointestinal, hormonal, immune and cardiovascular disorders, and long-term steroid, antibacterial and chemotherapy treatments.
Warmth and humidity contribute to the development of spores. The main routes of infection are wounds, microcracks and other skin lesions in the area of the fingers. Mycosis develops when the nail plate is damaged - if we cut it shortly or break it off, the fungi easily penetrate inside. Wearing tight shoes also weakens the fabric, as does nail acrylic, gel, and polishes.
We make a diagnosis
Visual manifestations of the disease are already the second stage of the disease. The first evidence of infection - itching, burning, is most often attributed to excessive drying of the skin, poor soap, a side effect from taking medications. Timely diagnosis and initiation of treatment allows you to quickly and effectively get rid of the problem.
How to diagnose the disease yourself
The main symptom is external changes, especially in the early stages of the development of the disease. The first signs usually appear on the free edge (front) of the nail plate or on the sides. At the onset of onychomycosis, it can be an unpleasant sensation during physical activity. Patients describe paresthesia (numbness), pain, discomfort, and loss of fitness. Typical external changes include the following symptoms:
- discoloration - spots of white, yellow, brown, greenish, gray shade appear on the nail ends;
- peeling and delamination of the fabric, its fragility is clearly enhanced;
- thickening of the stratum corneum, symptoms characteristic of excessive keratosis;
- unpleasant foot odor.
Fungal infections are more common on the legs than on the hands. They can be limited to one finger or cover all. However, usually the ailment affects the first and fifth toes of the foot, due to the closest proximity of shoes.
How is fungus diagnosed in a medical clinic
The self-diagnosis method is not always effective, becauseThere are a number of diseases that have a history similar to a fungal infection. These include:
- Psoriasis - It may look similar, but the characteristic of this disease is that it affects symmetrically. Typical signs are the appearance of white spots due to air accumulations, redness of the hole, thimble syndrome (dents), loss of its gloss, roughness. In addition, the patient has typical skin lesions.
- Candidiasis. It is characterized by the appearance of purulent discharge, as well as painful sensations when pressing on the affected area. The disease is more common in women, especially in people who often have to wear closed, airtight shoes in hot, humid environments. To develop this type, it is necessary to get a finger injury in the nail area. Leakage: The follicles of the plates swell, becoming very red and painful.
- Trophic changes caused by mechanical damage. The problem usually focuses on the proximal part of the plate (that is, at its base).
- Lichen. It is characterized by typical lesions on the skin and mucous membranes. The lamina affected by lichen is usually covered with yellow-white stripes.
In addition, there are various types and forms of nail fungus, depending on the causative agent that caused the problem, the duration of the infection. The clinic determines the type of disease and prescribes a treatment regimen based on the tests performed.
Therapy of onychomycosis should be started immediately after the problem is detected. If you delay with treatment, a complication may occur: infection of neighboring fingers, transition to a chronic form and a progressive course of the disease. Therefore, always make an appointment with your doctor if you find any suspicious changes or use time-tested folk methods.
Folk remedies for fungus
In the early stages of the disease, home remedies work well to fight fungal infection. To get rid of the fungus, you can try these recipes:
- Tea tree oil. The mixture is a powerful natural antiseptic and fungicide. It is applied drop by drop to the affected area 2 times a day. The duration of the course is 21 days.
- Apple vinegar. Foot baths are prepared from it, mixing in equal parts with water.
- Iodine from the fungus. An old proven way to get rid of nail fungus. Method of application: once a day, apply 1-2 drops of the composition to the affected plate. In order to prevent infection of neighboring fingers, it is recommended to lubricate them with iodine, but less often - once every 2-3 days.
- Listerine mouthwash. It contains an antiseptic and a small amount of alcohol in its composition, which adversely affect the treatment process.
- Lemon juice. It is applied in the form of a compress for 30 minutes. to the affected areas.
A positive effect is given by restrictions on food for the duration of treatment. Sweet and starchy foods should be excluded from the daily diet, and the amount of protein (beef, fish, poultry), dairy products (yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese) should be increased. Fruit should also be unsweetened (lemon, grapefruit, sour apples, raspberries, cherries). Diet is necessary to strengthen human immunity and reduce the concentration of the nutrient medium for the fungus - simple sugars that are formed in the body when consuming easily digestible carbohydrates.
Modern medicines and procedures
Unfortunately, home remedies for fungal infections are often ineffective. This is due to the fact that the disease has already passed into a progressive form. To get rid of it, you need to see a doctor. The effectiveness of medical therapy depends on the duration of the course, which takes several months even after the elimination of visual symptoms. But patients forget that they need to continue the course after the cosmetic effect occurs. This leads to relapse and the need for treatment from the very beginning.
In the early stages, when the tissue changes are small, a fungicidal ointment will help well. For advanced cases, oral medications are usually prescribed. Foot fungus is prone to relapse, so follow your doctor's recommendations after recovery. In general, the duration and order depends on the type that infected the nails, the clinical course, the number of infected nails and the degree of damage to the plate. In some cases, a systematic approach is required that combines several methods. The combination of systemic and local exposure improves the effectiveness of therapy.
Topical antifungal ointments
Topical medications should be used only in cases where the lesion occupies less than half of the distal part of the plate, and when the patient does not tolerate systemic treatment. Ointments, suspensions include amorolfines, ciclopirox and bifonazole, urea. They are used daily for 5-12 months. The last option for topical treatment of onchomycosis is bifonazole in combination with 40% urea solution.
But external remedies cannot help to completely heal, because they do not penetrate enough into the tissues. It has been found that although the latest generation of ointments capture all layers, they still have low efficacy when used as a single formulation. However, these agents may be useful as adjunctive therapy, complementing oral medications, or to prevent relapse in patients who have previously taken oral medications.
Oral treatment for ringworm is almost always a necessity. New generations of antifungal drugs such as itraconazole or terbinafine have recently replaced older generics in nail treatment. The effectiveness of these funds is explained by their ability to penetrate the nail plate in just a few days after the start of the course. By using them, you can afford a shorter duration of therapy with a faster recovery rate and fewer side effects. Terbinafine (international name, you should look for commercial analogues in the pharmacy), fungicides (kill the pathogen) cure the disease and prevent the subsequent spread of spores. These drugs work with both yeast viruses and dermatophytes, the most common causes of nail fungus.
Surgical treatment of onychomycosis
This method can also be used to treat fungal nail infections. It is a mechanical and chemical removal of the infected nail plate (using 40-50% urea). This is a painless and beneficial method when the build-up is very thick and interferes with the patient's comfort.
Removal of the nail plate for onychomycosis should be considered as an adjunct therapy in patients receiving oral agents. The combination of oral, topical (lubricating) and surgical treatment of the fungus results in the fastest cure rate and is at the same time the cheapest option (least relapses, short course).
A new method that shows the greatest efficiency. In just 4 sessions of "cold" laser irradiation, you can completely get rid of the problem. The only drawback of this type of exposure is the relatively high cost of the procedures.
Having found out what causes the fungus on the feet, it is easier to avoid the disease. By following simple recommendations, you can prevent the problem. Basic rules for avoiding fungus:
- Avoid trauma to the skin around the toes.
- Do not break off the edges, but only cut with well-sharpened scissors.
- Use only your own towels and personal hygiene products (scissors, sanding files and sticks).
- After washing your feet, thoroughly dry the skin between your toes.
- Do not go barefoot in public places.
- Wear cotton socks and breathable shoes.
- Change your socks and shoes frequently if you experience excessive sweating.
- Use pedicure services in trusted locations where instruments are disinfected and sterilized according to an established protocol.
- Do not use shoes or slippers that others have previously worn.
You must take care of your feet and keep them clean. After taking bath procedures, it is advisable to treat the skin with cosmetics with an antiseptic effect. Wet shoes, after a day of wearing, must be dried to an absolutely dry state - you should not wear even slightly damp shoes. If, despite the precautions taken, any changes characteristic of the disease appear, you should immediately consult a doctor.