Fungal Nail Infection Causes, Symptoms and How to Treat Toenail Fungus

Fungal Nail Infection Causes, Symptoms and How to Treat Toenail Fungus

If you want to know how to treat toe nail fungus, you have come to the right place. Here you will learn about what the symptoms are, what causes it and which treatments are most effective. But, first, here’s just a little advice.

Many people shrug and ignore the problem, thinking it will eventually go away. Do not take that approach. It will not go away on its own. In fact, it will probably get worse, sometimes to the point where the nail itself is lost.

The Causes

Now, what is nail fungus, anyway? As you may already know, the symptoms that you see are those of a fungal infection. In some cases, the symptoms indicate the type of fungus that is present.

There are several different types of fungi that can cause the infection. They are considered “imperfect” fungi, because they are asexual. They do not “fit” in with the established classifications of other fungi.

They reproduce solely through the production of spores, which seem to lack the need for fertilization. Because they are imperfect, they multiply quite quickly, which makes them difficult to kill, entirely.

The term “dermatophytes” is often used to describe the fungi that cause toe and finger nail fungus, as well as other skin diseases, such as athlete’s foot. The term is derived from a Greek phase, meaning “skin plants”.

The Symptoms

The symptoms may appear in any order, but will not occur simultaneously. They worsen over time.

Isolated white spots may be the first symptom of toe nail fungus. Or, the nails may start to appear yellow, brown or even black. The discoloration usually starts near the nail bed, and then spreads up the nail, but in some cases, in particular when an injury is involved, the discoloration starts at the edge of the nail.

How to Treat Toenail Fungus

The condition is easier to treat when it is due to an injury; the discoloration begins near the edge of the nail, rather than the nail bed. It takes time, consistency and patience to see results, but if you choose the best treatment, you will see an improvement in the nail’s appearance in about 4 weeks.

Many different treatments exist, because it is such a common condition, affecting as much as 13% of the population of the United States, according to researchers at Highland Hospital in New York. Knowing how many people it affects might make you feel a little less embarrassed.

As the condition progresses, the nails become thickened and loose particles gather under the nails. The treatment plan needed to resolve the condition varies slightly, depending on the severity or the amount of damage that has occurred. Here’s a look at the available treatments.

Oral Prescription Drugs

Terbinafine, sold under the brand name of Lamisil in most parts of the world, is heavily advertised as the solution for how to treat toe nail fungus. Although it is frequently prescribed, doctors should recommend liver testing, before they write a prescription for the drug. It can be toxic to the liver, as can most prescription drugs.

Any tablet taken by mouth passes through the digestive system and is metabolized by the liver. Since the liver is one of the hardest working organs in the human body, even when people are not frequently exposed to toxins, adding extra work doesn’t really seem like a good idea.

The effectiveness of Terbinafine varies. The drug is expensive, even in the generic form, and many health insurance plans refuse to cover the expense.

They consider it a “cosmetic” treatment, rather than one that is necessary to correct a health problem. Alternative treatments are less expensive and may be just as effective, according to comparative studies done by independent researchers.

Topical Drugs

Terbinafine is also used topically in the form of a cream or powder to treat jock itch, ring worm and athlete’s foot. It is not effective against nail fungus when applied topically.

The typical topically applied products for treating toe or finger nail fungus contain clotrimazole, a drug that is also used for the treatment of yeast infections and oral thrush. As with most creams, clotrimazole is not that effective, because it will not penetrate into the nail bed. It is also accompanied by unwanted side effects, including redness, itching and burning.

Oral Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathy is a safer, more natural approach to treating all sorts of health problems. When it comes to how to treat toe nail fungus, the content of homeopathic remedies varies.

Effective ingredients include:

  • Antimomium—an amine, similar in molecular structure and activity to Terbinafine, but not accompanied by the unwanted side effects, if sprayed under the tongue. The solution is absorbed directly into the bloodstream in that way, having no detrimental effect on the liver.
  • Nitricum acidum—a derivative of nitric acid. Homeopathic remedies containing it are greatly diluted, so that they may be used safely.
  • Sulfur—a nutrient, used for skin, hair and nail ailments of all kinds. Sulfur has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties. In homeopathic remedies, it is listed as sulphur on the label of ingredients, with a number followed by an “X” to indicate the concentration. 12X is most effective for nail fungus.

Natural Topical Gels

Research has shown that a combination approach to treatment is the most effective, in the shortest period of time. In other words, using an oral homeopathic remedy combined with a topical gel is most effective.

One scientific study compared the effectiveness of tea tree oil to that of clotrimazole. When combined with other essential oils, such as almond and jojoba, tea tree oil penetrates more deeply than clotrimazole and is therefore more effective against fungal infections that lie deep within the nail bed.

Many homeopathic remedies contain one or more of the ingredients listed above. Only a few contain all of them, as well as other beneficial ingredients. The manufacturer should provide a complete list of the ingredients for evaluation.

Numerous testimonials verify that the consistent use of the natural gel, along with the homeopathic remedy is how to treat toe nail fungus, effectively. The results speak for themselves.