Causes, symptoms and treatment of toenail fungus.

nail fungus treatment with varnish

Among the diseases of the toenails, a special place belongs to onychomycosis, since this pathology affects every 10 inhabitants of the planet. Treating toenail fungus is a time-consuming process, because therapy often begins when the disease is in an advanced stage. According to research data, the disease most often affects men aged 40 to 45 years, and after 60 years the risk of developing pathology increases 3-4 times. Timely treatment will help eliminate the problem.

The reasons for the development of pathology

Very rarely, a fungal infection affects only the nail plate. Most often, the inflammatory process spreads to the fingers and feet. The disease can be caused by three types of fungi: yeast, mold, and dermatophytes. The latter cause the disease more frequently. The reasons for the development of infection can be:

yellowing of the nails with fungus
  • Older patients generally suffer from various chronic ailments, do not have the opportunity to perform thorough foot hygiene, have a weakened immune system and slow blood circulation. The combination of these factors often leads to fungal infections.
  • Patients with diabetes mellitus are at risk because they have concomitant vascular pathologies, especially small capillaries in the feet. A frequent complication of these disorders is the appearance of small ulcerations, on the surface of which fungi rapidly develop.
  • Frequent microtrauma of the nail plate during cuts or bruises. Everybody faces this problem from time to time. As a general rule, for this reason, a fungus occurs in the nail of the big toe, whose treatment is complicated, since it is this area that is injured more frequently than others and has a denser structure.
  • Systemic and chronic diseases that affect the vascular system: varicose veins, scleroderma, lupus erythematosus. Such ailments are often accompanied by a violation of the blood supply to the tissues, which adversely affects the protective barrier and provokes the appearance of a fungus.
  • If the patient already has a fungal infection in any part of the body, the risk of infection of the nail plate increases several times.
  • The weakening of the immune system and defenses makes a person susceptible to any type of pathogenic microorganisms. It is enough to catch a cold and the pathological process begins.
  • Fans of saunas and public baths are 4 times more likely to suffer from onychomycosis, since the hygiene of rooms, swimming pools and showers is not always at the appropriate level.
Damage to nail plates with fungus.

The disease belongs to the group of infectious. It can be spread from a sick person, pets, as well as through contact with soil, water, and plants infected with pathogens.

Common forms of onychomycosis

Most often, the treatment of toenail mycosis depends on the form of the pathological process. The most common are the following:

symptoms of toenail fungus example 1
  1. The distal-lateral form is considered the initial stage of the disease. It mainly affects the free or lateral edge of the nail plate, the whole nail area gradually suffers. As a general rule, this form of the fungus turns into a more complicated one.
  2. The superficial white type of pathology is usually caused by molds. In the early stages, the nail plate begins to whiten, it can peel off and fall off. Most often, this form appears in people whose professional activity is associated with prolonged hand contact with water. As a result, the nail softens and lesions appear. This variety is observed in the case of incomplete destruction of the infection.
  3. It is quite rare to find the proximal form, which causes thickening of the toenails. A characteristic of this type of disease is that the lesion begins in the root area of the nail, next to the cuticle. That is why patients with this form rarely see a doctor in the early stages. As the pathology progresses, even a healthy nail can come off.
  4. The most dangerous form is total dystrophy. Pathology becomes a consequence of the lack of treatment for one of the above forms. It is characterized by a slow progression over the years. If the process develops rapidly, they speak of the presence of a concomitant systemic disease. It is seen mainly in elderly patients.

Either way requires qualified treatment. In its absence, the infection penetrates deeper, making it difficult to fight.

Symptoms of a pathological condition.

The first signs of onychomycosis are similar to other toenail diseases. Violation of the structure of the nail can manifest itself by its thickening or thinning. Atrophic processes indicate the presence of serious concomitant pathologies. The disease is manifested by the following symptoms:

symptoms of toenail fungus example 2
  • Uniform discoloration of the nail plate, which depends on the type of pathogen. Most often, the plaque turns yellow.
  • The surface becomes rough and porous. As it progresses, this symptom worsens.
  • White spots may appear under the nail, which appear as a result of its peeling at the base.
  • Gradual delamination of the structure from the free edge.
  • There is a loss of shine associated with the shedding of a thin top layer or skin, the nail appears unnatural.
  • Slow peeling of the entire dish. As a general rule, the process starts from the growth zone.
  • The appearance on the surface of crumbs, which are exfoliated areas of the nail.
  • Complete destruction of the plate, starting from the free edge.

Concomitant signs are changes in the skin around the affected area: peeling of the epidermis of the feet, fingers, intensive burr formation. Any of the symptoms requires qualified medical attention.

Basic diagnostic methods

symptoms of toenail fungus example 3

During the initial examination, the physician must differentiate onychomycosis from other dermatologic conditions (psoriasis, keratoderma) that have similar clinical manifestations. On the basis of these data, a preliminary diagnosis is made, which can only be confirmed by more precise examination methods.

Next, a sample is taken from the affected nail to determine the presence of a fungal infection in its structure. The final conclusion on why nail destruction occurs and what kind of fungi caused the process can be made through a culture study. During the procedure, the specific type of fungus that caused the disease is identified. It is after this study that the final diagnosis is made. With the correct determination of the type of pathogen, the specialist selects the appropriate treatment regimen that will cope with the disease as quickly as possible.

Drug therapy scheme

Drug therapy is aimed at destroying the pathogen at the focus of the injury and throughout the body, if the disease is in an advanced stage. Conservative therapy involves local and systemic treatment.

An easy degree of fungal pathology, when small changes are observed in the plaque without altering the structure and accompanying symptoms, it is treated with topical medications:

nail treatment for fungal infection
  1. Preparations from the group of azoles are intended to slow the growth and development of pathogens. Medications are available in cream, ointment, and solution form. Apply morning and evening until the symptoms disappear completely. After that, it is recommended to use the drug for another 5-7 days to consolidate the result and exclude a relapse.
  2. Means that destroy fungal cells, preventing their further development. The standard scheme assumes the use of funds twice a day.
  3. Hydroxypyridone derivatives prevent the reproduction of pathogens. Most often, the agents are prescribed in the form of a cream or nail polish, which is used in the morning and in the evening.
  4. Salicylic and sulfuric ointment belongs to the group of keratolytics. Using the product helps soften dead tissue so that fungi cannot continue to develop due to lack of nutrition. Little by little, the ointment helps to detach the affected nail. The number of applications per day depends on the degree of plaque damage.
  5. To avoid the addition of a bacterial infection, an alcoholic infusion of iodine is used in the form of compresses.
  6. To strengthen the immune system, multivitamin complexes are prescribed. This helps the body cope with the symptoms of onychomycosis more quickly.

If the surrounding tissues are involved in the pathological process, there is no effect of local treatment, and complete destruction of the nail plate is observed, the use of systemic drugs is indicated.

The duration of treatment and the dose is determined only by the doctor. It is unacceptable to use the drugs on your own, as there is a high risk of developing adverse reactions.

Alternative ways to solve the problem.

In some cases, surgical removal of the affected nail is indicated. This method is almost never used in modern medical practice. The indication for the procedure may be the addition of a bacterial infection and the complete absence of a visible effect from the use of local and systemic drugs. However, taking pills does not stop after removing the focus of inflammation.

before and after toenail fungus treatment

An alternative to surgical intervention is the dissolution of the plaque with special solutions that promote tissue death layer by layer and help the affected plaque to detach safely. This method is practiced at home. You should not start the procedure without consulting a specialist.

To date, the efficacy of laser therapy in the treatment of onychomycosis has been demonstrated. The procedure consists of exposing the affected area to laser rays that penetrate deep into the structure and destroy pathogens. The principle of action is similar to that of local antifungal drugs. Such treatment is indicated for intolerance to such funds. A prerequisite for laser therapy is its combination with tablet drugs.

Traditional medicine recipes

Onychomycosis was known to ancient healers, so there are many folk remedies that successfully cope with the signs of pathology. The most effective are medicinal baths with the addition of medicinal herbs, as well as homemade solutions for local use:

foot bath for nail fungus
  1. An effective remedy is a bath with the addition of decoction of celandine. The broth should be prepared from 200 g of crushed raw materials and 2 liters of water. Boil the mixture for 20 minutes, cool to a comfortable temperature. Procedure time 20-30 minutes, repeat daily until symptoms disappear.
  2. Sequential baths are allowed daily for 2 weeks. To prepare the broth, you will need 2 liters of water and 40 g of dry grass, the mixture is boiled for 15 minutes and is ready to use after 20 minutes of infusion. The session lasts 30 minutes.
  3. To treat the affected nail, it is necessary to prepare an infusion of 100 ml of medical alcohol and 10 g of fresh lilac flowers. It is necessary to insist on the remedy for 7-8 days. After that, the solution is used to treat the areas of inflammation in the morning and in the evening until full recovery.

Alternative medicine is recommended to be used in combination with medications and only after the approval of the attending physician. It should be understood that fungi are not only a cosmetic defect, but also a serious blow to the whole body. In the absence of treatment, a bacterial infection occurs, which significantly complicates therapy. It is recommended to consult a specialist at the first sign of illness.