What is Nail Fungus?
Nail fungus or onychomycosis (oniko means toenail in Greek) are infections caused by a microscopic fungus (dermatophyte), yeast (candida albicans for hands), or a mold. It affects toenails more often than toenails of the hands and is usually seen in adults. Nail fungus accounts for more than half of all nail infections and is one of the most common fungal infections in industrialized countries.
Fungi that cause nail fungus are usually dermatophytes, more rarely yeasts such as Candida albicans or exceptional molds. Fungus of the toenails: Toes fungus is caused by dermatophytes in 90% of cases.
What Causes Nail Fungus?
The modes of transmission and the factors supporting them are; maceration, dampness, lending of shoes, frequency of bare feet in public places.
Different symptoms can reveal a yeast infection:
l Partial or complete change in color of the nail that becomes opaque, whitish, yellowish or greenish;
l Thickening or change in tissue (nail becomes brittle);
l Separating the nail tablet.
Onychomycosis is mainly caused by dermatophytes (a special group of fungi) and sometimes by other types of fungi such as yeast. Fungi are microscopic organisms that do not need sunlight and like to live in a warm, humid environment. Therefore, onychomycosis is more likely to occur in people who swim or whose feet sweat a lot. Due to their very small size, fungi can invade your skin through a small cut or small gap between the nail and the nail bed.
Onychomycosis affects toenails more often than fingernails because toes are usually confined to a hot and humid environment, i.e. shoes. Also, blood circulation in the toes is less important than in the fingers; The immune system therefore has more difficulty fighting foot infection.
How to Treat Nail Fungus?
Fungal nail infection usually does not cause any serious long-term problems if treated properly; however, it can be more serious in some people. These include people with diabetes or a weakened immune system and having difficulty fighting infections. If you notice any abnormal changes in the nails, it is important to see a doctor immediately for an evaluation, even if the infection is painless.
l Wear shoes and socks that reduce moisture.
l After washing, thoroughly dry your feet and the spaces between your toes.
l Wear shoes or sandals in public places (such as swimming pools or showers).
l Keep your nails clean and short.
l Do not borrow nail clippers or your shoes or use someone else’s.
l Wear shoes that are not too tight or buy custom-made orthopedic shoes.
If you have another medical condition such as diabetes, be sure to get it under control.
Onychomycosis does not require medication in all cases; However, if the doctor has confirmed the diagnosis and the need for such treatment, he may prescribe an oral antifungal (terbinafine, itraconazole *) depending on the type of fungus causing the infection. If you can’t take an oral antifungal or your onychomycosis is mild to moderate, your doctor may choose a topical treatment that is applied directly to the affected nail.
How Long Does The Nail Fungus Treatment Take?
Patience is important, as the treatment takes 2 to 3 months orally and can last up to 12 months topically. Since nail growth takes a long time, recovery of the infection and the appearance of the nails will take time. It develops regardless of the type of treatment used. Treatment may not be effective; In this case, the doctor may prescribe a different medication.
In extreme cases where there is no response to treatment, the doctor may recommend removing the nail during surgery. Usually replaces a new nail, but it can take up to 1 year to grow.