Fungal Nail Infections: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

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Fungal Nail Infections Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Fungal nail infections are a common type of infection that usually causes the toenail or fingernails below the tip to become discolored and brittle. It is more common in people over the age of 60 and in people with other health problems such as athlete’s foot, nail psoriasis, damaged nails, diabetes, and a weakened immune system.

Symptoms of fungal nail infections

Fungal nail infections can manifest in the following ways in affected individuals:

  • Nail discoloration (turns white, yellow, or brown)
  • Nail thickening, lifting, or change in shape
  • Nails that break easily
  • Painful nails
Fungal Nail Infections

Fungal nail infections usually do not cause serious long-term problems if treated properly. On the other hand, it can be more severe in certain people, this includes people with diabetes and people with weakened immune systems who have difficulty fighting infections. If you notice any unusual changes in your nails, it is advisable to see a doctor right away for an examination, even if the infection is not painful.

Causes of fungal nail infections

Fungal nail infections are primarily caused by a special group of fungi known as dermatophytes. In some cases, it can also be caused by other types of fungi such as yeast: these are microorganisms that do not require sunlight and prefer to live in warm, moist environments. For this reason, swimmers and people with sweaty feet are at higher risk of developing fungi nail infections because the fungi is so small, that it can enter the skin through small cuts or small gaps between the nail and the nail bed.

Fungal nail infections occur more often in toes than in fingernails because toes are often in warm, moist environments such as on the floor, or shoes on the lock. Additionally, there is less blood flow to the toe than to the fingers. Therefore, the immune system has a harder time-fighting foot infections.

Clinical importance

It is important that your doctor confirm the diagnosis of a fungal nail infection before starting the treatment, as other medical conditions may present and mimic the symptoms of a nail infection. The doctor will examine the nail, scrape the nail bed, and take a sample to send to a laboratory to check for fungal infection.

Prevention of fungal nail infections

Here are some tips to reduce the risk of fungal nail infections:

  • Wear shoes and socks that reduce moisture
  • Keep your hands and feet clean
  • After washing, dry your feet and your toes completely.
  • Please wear shoes or sandals in public areas ( such as swimming pools and showers)
  • Keep your nails clean and short
  • Don’t lend your nail clippers or shoes or use someone else’s
  • Wear absorbent stockings
  • use antifungal foot powder
  • If you have another health condition, such as diabetes, be sure to manage it.

Treatment of fungal nail infections

Fungal nail infection does not require medication in most cases, however, if your doctor diagnoses a nail infection and confirms the need for treatment due to complications or worsening symptoms, there may be a need to prescribe some oral antifungal medications. If the patient can not take oral antifungal medications, or if the nail infection is mild to moderate, the doctor may recommend topical treatment to treat the affected nail. Topical medications may be less effective than oral medications, but it is well recommended as they have fewer side effects such as stomach upset, headache, skin rashes, and liver toxicity. If you are prescribed oral medications, your doctor will likely ask you to take liver function tests before starting treatment.

Patience is required as the duration of treatment is 6 to 12 weeks for oral administration and up to 48 weeks for topical administration. Because nails take a long time to grow ( 6 months for fingernails and 12-18 months for toenails), it will take some time for the infection to go away and the appearance of the nail to change. it will definitely improve regardless of the type of treatment undertaken.

In extreme cases where treatment is not effective, your doctor may suggest removing the nail during surgery. A new nail will usually grow, but it may take up to a year for it to grow. In some cases, surgery may be combined with local treatment to prevent the infection from coming back.

If you notice any unusual changes in your nails, it is important to see your doctor for a medical examination as soon as possible. In addition to its unhealthy appearance, fungal nail infection can lead to more serious complications such as nail loss, bacterial infection, and cellulitis. Consult your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for your particular case.

William John, the chief editor of The Cropsite, is a man with expertise in general medicine who is enthusiastic about helping people from all corners of the world through his content writing. William John covers all the things related to general medicine and is a person who can be described as a walking encyclopedia of general health. His years of knowledge of general medicine have made him a proficient person who is skilled in understanding all aspects of a person’s physical health. With this decade of experience in general medicine, William John greatly contributes to creating content such as articles and product reviews that each reader of The CropSite can depend on for being authentic and backed by research.

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