Exploring Different Types of Nail Fungal Infection and Their Characteristics

Do your nails look different? Their color has changed, or they seem weak. If so, you might have a nail fungus infection. But don’t worry; you’re not alone. This common problem affects many people worldwide, and most importantly, it can be solved.

Our nails do so much for us; they help us express our style and are a part of many of our life’s important moments. So, let’s take good care of them.

In this article, we’ll talk about the types of nail fungal infections and how they can be treated.

Understanding Different Types of Nail Fungal Infections

Have you ever heard of nail fungus? It sounds scary, but it’s a common problem. We can learn how to handle it better by getting to know it better. Ready? Let’s start!

What causes this problem? It’s simple: tiny organisms called fungi. They are all around us. They love warm, wet places, like the inside of a shoe, or wet areas like a public shower. Sometimes, they settle under our nails.

 

How do you know if you have nail fungus? Look out for these signs: your nail might get thicker, break easily, or change color to yellow, white, or brown. It may also smell unusual, or you may feel pain.

 

Remember, anyone can get a nail fungal infection. But some things make it more likely. For example, 

  • Do you like hot showers or often go to public swimming pools? 
  • Do you have a skin condition, diabetes, or are you older? 
  • Do you often wear the same shoes? 

All these things could make you more likely to get a nail fungal infection.

Knowing about the problem is the first step to solving it. Now that we understand the basics let’s look at different types of nail fungus.

Types of Nail Fungal Infections

Did you know there’s more than one type of nail fungus? Each looks different and has its way of showing up. Let’s get to know them better by knowing the symptoms and cause of each type of nail fungus!

1. Distal Subungual Onychomycosis (DSO)

DSO starts at the nail’s end and works towards your hand or foot. You’ll see your nails get thicker and turn yellow. This is the most common type of nail fungus.

2. White Superficial Onychomycosis (WSO)

WSO is easy to spot. It makes white spots or streaks on the top of your nail powdery. Your nail might even feel rough, just like a cat’s tongue! It’s not as common as DSO, but it happens often.

3. Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis (PSO)

This one starts from your proximal nail fold (that covers the root of your nail) and slowly spreads toward the tip of your nail. Your affected nail might turn white, brown, or yellow. It’s not very common [2]and primarily affects people with weak immune systems, making them more likely to get infections. 

4. Candida Onychomycosis

Candida can make both your nail and the skin around it change. The affected nail might turn thickened, brittle, discolored, or crumbly. This type is rare, but it can happen more often in people who have their hands in water.

5. Endonyx Fungus

Endonyx fungus causes a milky white discoloration inside your nail without hyperkeratosis [6]. It’s not very common either, but if you see a white color inside your nail, it might be this type.

Now, you know more about the different types of nail fungus. Remember, if you think you have any of these, getting help from a doctor or nurse is essential.

Diagnosis and Misconceptions

Alright, now we know all about the different types of nail fungus. But how do we make sure that’s what we’re dealing with? And what about all those stories and myths we’ve heard about nail fungus? Let’s dive into that!

1. Finding Out If It’s Nail Fungus (Diagnosis)

Picture this: you’ve noticed something unusual about your nail. It’s discolored, or it’s thick. You’ve remembered our discussion about the types of nail fungus and thought, ‘I might have that.’ So, what’s next?

Well, the best thing to do is to see a doctor. They can look at your nail and ask you questions to help find out what’s happening. Sometimes, they might take a tiny piece of your nail to look at under a microscope. This helps them make sure it’s really a fungus and not something else.

Note: Knowing when to seek professional help for nail fungal infection could be your secret shortcut to getting rid of nail fungus. 

2. The Real Story About Nail Fungus (Misconceptions)

Now, let’s clear up some myths about nail fungus. 

  • Only people with poor hygiene get nail fungus. That’s not true at all! 

Even though anyone can get nail fungus, staying clean still counts. A few intelligent habits can make your nails a no-go zone for fungi. Want to dive deeper into this? There’s a handy guide waiting for you to discover!

  • You can’t treat nail fungus. Wrong again! Nail fungal infection treatment is very much a real thing. We’ll talk more about this in the next section, but remember, seeing your doctor is the first step.
  • Nail fungus only comes alive in the summer and sleeps during the winter. But guess what? Fungus doesn’t take a winter break! It can strike any time of the year, whether hot or cold outside.
  • Another fear some people have is that telling their doctor about their nail fungus will mean they’ll have to have surgery [5]. No need to worry about this! Surgery is rarely needed for nail fungal infections. Usually, laser therapies, medications, and creams can clear up the problem.

Skincare tip: Don’t fall for myths. Instead, stay informed, look out for signs of nail fungus, and don’t be afraid to seek help if needed. 

Traditional Treatment Options

So, you’ve spotted a strange change in your nails, and you’re thinking, ‘What now?’ Don’t worry! There are many traditional treatment options that can help. Let’s discuss the most common ones and what to expect from them.

  • Over-The-Counter (OTC) Creams and Ointments

Think of these as your first line of defense. You can find them in your local pharmacy, and you don’t need a prescription[4]. These creams or ointments are applied directly onto the nail. They can help, especially if your nail fungus is not severe or is still new.

  • Prescription Medications

If the OTC products don’t work, your doctor might prescribe more vital medication. These are pills that you take for a few weeks or months. But like all medicines, they can have side effects, like upset stomach or rash. Your doctor will keep an eye on this.

  • Medicated Nail Polish and Creams

Another option your doctor might suggest is a medicated nail polish or cream. You paint it onto your nail like regular nail polish or apply it like a cream. Seeing results can take a while (we’re talking months here) [3].

  • Nail Removal

This is a last resort, and it’s rare. If the nail fungus is very severe and nothing else has worked, your doctor might suggest removing the nail. This gives the new, healthy nail room to grow.

Now, you might wonder, ‘Are these treatments the same for all types of nail fungus?‘ The answer is yes! All these treatments can work for the different nail fungus types we discussed. The important thing is to talk to your doctor and figure out the best treatment for you.

Skincare tip: don’t delay treatment! The earlier you start treating nail fungus, the better the results. 

Laser Therapy 

We’ve talked about the usual treatments for nail fungus. But what if I told you there’s a treatment that’s quick, effective, and pretty cool to boot? Yep, we’re talking about laser therapy!

Lighting Up the Path to Recovery through Laser Therapy

Imagine this: A small device emitting a bright light that zaps away the nasty fungus under your nail. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, right? Well, it’s real, and it’s called laser therapy.

Laser therapy uses light beams to heat up and destroy the fungus under your nail. It doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t take long. Usually, a session lasts for about 30 minutes. And the best part? It works for all types of nail fungal infections we’ve talked about.

Remember, even though it seems super sci-fi and relaxed, it’s a medical treatment. That means you should always consult a professional.

Why Choose Laser?

You might be thinking, ‘Why would I choose laser therapy?’ Good question! Let’s go through some reasons why it might be the right choice for you.

  • First, it has a higher success rate. That means more people get better with laser therapy compared to traditional treatments.
  • Second, it’s quicker. No need to apply creams for weeks or take pills for months. You might need a few sessions, but you’ll see results faster.
  • And third, it has fewer side effects. Remember the side effects we mentioned with some traditional treatments? With laser therapy, you won’t have to worry about those.

Skincare tip: if traditional treatments aren’t working or you are looking for a faster, more effective option, consider laser therapy. 

Conclusion

Alright, we’ve journeyed together through the world of nail fungal infections, right from understanding what they are, to exploring the different types, and finally diving into how to treat them. 

 

Let’s do a quick recap so that everything sticks:

  • Nail fungal infections can look different and have different symptoms, but the good news is they can all be treated.
  • There are many traditional treatments out there, including over-the-counter creams, prescription medications, medicated nail polish, and even nail removal in rare cases. All these can be effective, but they might take some time.
  • If you’re looking for something quicker and more effective, there’s laser therapy. It’s safe, fast, and works for all types of nail fungal infections.
  • Remember, it’s always important to consult with a professional before starting any treatment.

 

So there you hit, all the basics you need to know about nail fungal infection. With this knowledge, you’re ready to take on anything those pesky fungi might throw at you because you deserve healthy and happy nails all year round!

FAQs

  1. What are the most common nail fungus infections?

The most prevalent type of nail fungus is tinea unguium, caused by a mold known as dermatophyte [1]. Tinea unguium predominantly affects toenails, although it can also affect fingernails. Onychomycosis is an alternative term used to describe this condition.

  1. What is the difference between fungal and bacterial infections?

In some cases, pus-filled blisters may be present, particularly when a bacterial infection is involved. Bacterial infections can cause a sudden onset of symptoms. On the other hand, a fua fungus primarily causes the infection the progression is typically slower. Nail changes are common in both cases.

  1. What are rare fungal nail infections?

Proximal subungual onychomycosis is the least common type of fungal nail infection, primarily caused by the trichophyton rubrum fungus. [2]

References:

[1]https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/11303-toenail-fungus

[2]https://ada.com/conditions/onychomycosis-fungal-nail-infection

[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279546/

[4]https://medlineplus.gov/overthecountermedicines.html

[5]https://mychicagofootexpert.com/2020/11/18/fungal-toenail-infections-myths-and-facts/

[6]https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-44853-4_6

 

 

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Sabina Gordon

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