Nail Fungus Infection - Health Center
Nail Fungus Infection
By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST
Nail Fungus Infection: Basic Overview
Nail Fungus Infection is a very common condition which tends to begin as a white or a yellow spot under the fingernail or the toenail of an affected person. As the fungal infection tends to go deeper, it may cause discolouration, thickening or crumbling of the edges. This infection can either affect several nails or one of them.
The condition can be mild or could be bothering you slightly. In most cases, treatment is not required. The nail fungus can be painful and can cause thickening of the nails. However, medications and self care can greatly help. Nail Fungus is also known as Onychomycosis. When the fungal infection has infected the areas between the toes and the skin of the feet, it is known as athlete’s foot.
Nail Fungal – Causes
Nail Fungus is basically caused due to a fungus known as dermatophyte. However, yeasts and moulds are also known to cause fungal infections.
Fungus are microscopic organisms which do not need sunlight in order to survive. Fungi are very useful, but can cause illnesses and infection too. Fungi live in warm and damp environments and can invade the skin through the cuts. Nail Fungus are often caused in the toenails rather than fingernails. Since the toenails are often exposed to dark, warm and moist environments, the fungi find it a suitable place to thrive. The toes have less blood as compared to the fingers, which makes it harder for the immune system to detect and stop the infections.
Signs and Symptoms of Nail Fungus:
The Nail Fungus which is also known as Onychomycosis affect the toenails and the fingernails alike. You may be suffering from an infection if you see the below mentioned signs:
- Thickened nails
- Brittle and crumbly nails
- Distorted nails
- Dull nails without any shine
- Dark colour of the nails due to the build up of the debris underneath the nail
The infected nails often tend to separate from the nail bed, resulting in a condition known as Onycholysis. Often this condition tends to improve with self care, however it is recommended to visit a doctor if the self care tips have not proved helpful.
Tests and Diagnosis of Nail Fungus:
The first step towards the diagnosis of Nail Fungus is the physical examination of the nails. Some of the debris which has accumulated under the nails is scraped and is sent to the laboratory in order to check for the kind of fungus which is causing the infection.
In some of the rarer cases, conditions such as Psoriasis could also be the reason for the fungal infection. Certain micro organisms such as yeast or bacteria could also be the reason behind infections. Knowing the correct cause of the infection is the best step towards the treatment of the same.
Treatment and Drugs for Nail Infection:
If the self care and over the counter drugs are not working well towards the treatment of the condition, then the doctors may suggest a combination of drugs and other options for the treatment of the fungal infections.
Oral Antifungal drugs such as Lamisil and Sporanox are used in order to keep the infection at bay. The drugs take 6-12 weeks to heal the infection completely. The success rate for treatments is low for people under the age of 65.
Medicated Nail Polishes such as Penlac can be used in order to treat the infections. The paint is applied onto the infected nails and the surrounding areas.
Surgical Procedures such as nail removal is done in case the infection is of an extreme nature. The new nail tends to grow in the place of the original nail. Surgery along with a combination of Ciclopirox is used for the treatment of the nail infection.
Laser and light based therapies are used along with medications in order to improve the overall health of the nails. Carbon dioxide laser therapy is used along with a combination of antifungal nail cream has proven to be very helpful in the treatment of the infection.