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. Toenail fungus treatment is a rather lengthy process, because therapy often begins when the disease is at an advanced stage. According to research data, the disease most often affects men aged 40-45, and after 60 the risk of developing pathology increases by 3-4 times. Timely treatment will help get rid of 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 toes. The disease can be caused by three types of fungi: yeast, mold and dermatophytes. The latter provoke the disease more often. The reasons for the development of infection can be:

yellowing of the nails with fungus
  • Elderly patients usually suffer from various chronic ailments, do not have the opportunity to conduct thorough foot hygiene, have a weakened immune system, 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 disease, especially small capillaries on the feet. A frequent complication of these ailments is the appearance of small ulcerations, on the surface of which fungi quickly develop.
  • Frequent microtrauma of the nail plate during cutting or bruising. Everyone faces this problem from time to time. As a rule, for this reason, a fungus occurs on the nail of the big toe, the treatment of which is complicated, since it is this area that is injured more often than others and has a denser structure.
  • Systemic and chronic diseases affecting the vascular system: varicose veins, scleroderma, lupus erythematosus. Such ailments are often accompanied by a violation of the blood supply to the tissues, which negatively affects the protective barrier and provokes the appearance of a fungus.
  • If the patient already suffers from a fungal infection of 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, as the hygiene of rooms, pools and showers is not always at the right level.
nail damage with fungus

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

Common forms of onychomycosis

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

Toenail Fungus Symptoms 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 entire nail area gradually suffers. As a rule, this form of the mushroom turns into another, more complicated one.
  2. The superficial white type of pathology is most often caused by mold. 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 contact of the hands with water. As a result, the nail softens and lesions appear. This variety is observed in case of incomplete destruction of the infection.
  3. It is quite rare to find the proximal shape, which causes thickening of the toenails. A feature of this type of disease is that the lesion starts from the root area of the nail, near the cuticle. That is why patients with this form rarely see a doctor in the early stages. As the condition progresses, even a healthy nail can flake off.
  4. The most dangerous form is total dystrophy. Pathology becomes a consequence of the lack of treatment for one of the previous forms. It is characterized by a slow progression over the years. If the process develops rapidly, they talk about the presence of a concomitant systemic disease. It is observed mainly in elderly patients.

Any form requires qualified treatment. In its absence, the infection penetrates deeper, which makes the fight no longer difficult.

Symptoms of a pathological condition

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

toenail fungus symptoms example 2
  • Uniform discoloration of the nail plate, which depends on the type of pathogen. Most often, the plate turns yellow.
  • The surface becomes rough and porous. As it progresses, this symptom gets worse.
  • White spots may appear under the nail, which appear as a result of its peeling at the base.
  • Gradual delamination of the structure starting from the free edge.
  • There is a loss of luster associated with the detachment of a thin top layer or skin, the nail looks unnatural.
  • Slow peeling of the whole dish. As a rule, the process starts from the growth zone.
  • The appearance on the surface of the 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 symptoms require qualified medical attention.

Basic diagnostic methods

toenail fungus symptoms example 3

During the initial examination, the doctor should differentiate onychomycosis from other dermatological diseases (psoriasis, keratoderma) that have similar clinical manifestations. Based on these data, a preliminary diagnosis is made, which can only be confirmed by more accurate methods of examination.

Next, a sample of the affected nail is taken to determine the presence of a fungal infection in its structure. The final conclusion as to why nail destruction occurs and what type of fungus caused the process can be done using 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 in the focus of the lesion and throughout the body, if the disease is at 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 disturbing the structure and accompanying symptoms, is treated with topical drugs:

nail treatment for fungal infection
  1. Preparations of the azole group are aimed at slowing down the growth and development of pathogens. Medicines are available in the form of cream, ointment and solution. 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, which prevents their further development. The standard scheme involves 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 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. Gradually, the ointment helps the affected nail peel off. The number of applications per day depends on the degree of damage to the plate.
  5. To prevent 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 faster.

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

The duration of treatment and dosage are determined only by the doctor. It is unacceptable to use drugs alone, 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 surgery is the dissolution of 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 effectiveness of laser therapy has been proven in the treatment of onychomycosis. The procedure consists of exposing the affected area to laser beams 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.

Recipes of traditional medicine

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 celandine decoction. 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 every day until the symptoms disappear.
  2. Sequential baths can be done daily for 2 weeks. To prepare the broth you 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. Subsequently, the solution is used to treat the inflammatory zones in the morning and in the evening until complete recovery.

It is recommended to use alternative medicine in combination with medications and only after the approval of the attending physician. It should be understood that the fungus is not only a cosmetic defect, but also a severe blow to the whole body. In the absence of treatment, a bacterial infection occurs, which significantly complicates the therapy. It is advisable to consult a specialist at the first sign of the disease.