Medical Treatments for Nail Fungus: What You Need to Know

Ever stub your toe and take a good look at your nails, only to notice something’s off? There could be a slight yellowing or thickening that wasn’t there before. 

If so, you might be dealing with a nail fungus infection. It’s more common than you’d think, affecting millions nationwide. But don’t fret! 

Whether it’s a confirmed infection or you’re looking to protect your ten little digits, our comprehensive guide to treatments for nail fungus will keep you in the loop. 

So, let’s jump right in and tackle this pesky problem together.

1. The Importance of Early Detection

Let’s face it: no one enjoys a surprise doctor’s visit. However, when it comes to treatments for nail fungus, detecting it early is the best course of action. Why? Because each type of nail fungal infection is unique. 

Discovering this stubborn infection in its early stages can save you considerable time, leading to a more effective recovery.

Ignoring a fungal infection is similar to turning a blind eye to a dripping tap. It starts as a minor annoyance – a slight discoloration, some thickening. But give it weeks or months, and the problem grows. Your nail might harden, crack, or even part ways from the nail bed.

Ouch! That’s something you’d want to avoid during a routine toenail trim.

So, how can you tell if you’re grappling with nail fungus? It can be more complex than waking up to a discolored toenail one morning.

Sometimes it can sneak up on you, starting as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your nail. As it spreads, your nail might thicken and crumble at the edge. 

It could also become dull and darkened, with the color resulting from debris buildup under your nail.

Remember, early detection is crucial when it comes to nail fungal infection treatment. So the next time you’re lounging on the couch, take a moment to check on your nails. They might be trying to tell you something important.

2. Conventional Treatments for Nail Fungus

If you find yourself nodding along to the signs of nail fungus, don’t worry. Help is at hand. Let’s explore the standard conventional treatment options for nail fungus available to you.

2.1 Over-the-Counter Creams and Ointments

If you spot an early sign of nail fungus, over-the-counter creams and ointments may be your first go-to. They’re packed with anti-fungal ingredients, easy to use, and widely available. All you need to do is apply it to the affected nail and let the product work magic. But remember, they may not be strong enough for more severe cases [2].

2.2 Prescription Oral Medications

For more stubborn infections, prescription medications, whether topical or oral, are the next level up. They launch a more aggressive attack on the fungus, and in turn, they’re more likely to yield results. However, they might come with side effects, ranging from skin rashes to potential liver damage.

Note: Taking oral antifungal drugs is not recommended for people with liver disease, congestive heart failure, or those taking certain medications [1].

2.3 Medicated Nail Polish or Cream

If you’re in it for the long haul, medicated nail polish or cream can be a game-changer. It’s a gradual process that involves daily application, taking up to a year to clear the infection. It requires patience but can provide satisfying results.

When considering treatments for nail fungus, remember that each has pros and cons. Your choice should depend on the severity of your infection, your health, and a discussion with your healthcare provider. Remember, what works best for you and your body might be different from someone else’s solution.

3. Laser Treatment for Nail Fungus

In nail fungal infection treatment, a groundbreaking solution has been grabbing the limelight: laser treatment. So, what is it all about?

3.1 Understanding Laser Treatment for Nail Fungus

As high-tech as it sounds, laser treatment is becoming an increasingly popular choice for dealing with nail fungus. Unlike creams, ointments, and medications, it introduces a whole new approach to tackling this stubborn problem. 

Laser treatment uses focused light energy. This energy targets the nail bed, the fungus’s home turf, and cranks up the heat. The result? The heat destroys the fungus without harming the surrounding tissue, allowing a new, healthy nail to grow back over time.

How Effective is Laser Treatment? 

Clinical research trials have backed the effectiveness of laser treatment in treating nail fungal infections [5]. It’s shown to be a potent tool, with many patients reporting significant improvement or even total clearance of the infection. 

Besides, laser treatment gets bonus points for being a non-invasive procedure with minimal side effects. No downtime is involved, meaning you can return to your daily routine right after your session. 

Most importantly, it frees you from the potential side effects of oral medications.

Regarding laser treatments, always prefer a trusted dermatologist specializing in this area. It’s your best shot at tackling that stubborn nail fungus effectively.

4. Post-treatment Care for Nail Fungal Infections

Beating a nail fungal infection is only half the battle. The other half? Preventing its comeback. Let’s explore some essential aftercare tips to help you maintain healthy nails post-treatment.

4.1 Caring for Your Nails After Treatment

Just like you wouldn’t stop brushing your teeth after a dental cleaning, you shouldn’t slack off on nail care after your treatment. Keep your nails clean and dry, trim them straight across, and file down thickened areas. These simple practices can go a long way in maintaining your nail health.

If your nails are prone to dryness, consider applying a moisturizer. But remember to avoid moisturizing between your toes right before putting on shoes and socks, as a moist environment can encourage fungal growth [4].

4.2 Preventing Recurrence of Nail Fungal Infections

Prevention is the best cure. Even after your nails are free from infection, continue practicing good foot hygiene. This includes:

  • Avoiding walking barefoot in damp communal areas like swimming pools and showers
  • Changing your socks daily and making sure they’re not too tight
  • Wearing breathable footwear to minimize sweat
  • Using anti-fungal sprays or powders if you’re prone to fungal infections

Moreover, as discussed earlier, maintaining a healthy diet and staying hydrated can also contribute to strong, fungus-resistant nails.

5. Skincare Tips to Prevent Nail Fungal Infections

Avoiding nail fungal infections begins at home, and incorporating proper foot and nail hygiene into your daily routine can help prevent nail fungus infection. Here’s how you can step up your game. 

5.1 Proper Nail Care and Hygiene Practices

The foundation of preventing nail fungus is proper nail care and hygiene. 

  • Keep your nails trimmed short, clean, and dry. 

  • After washing your hands or feet, take extra care to dry your nails thoroughly [3], especially the areas between your fingers and toes.
  • Avoid sharing nail clippers or other personal nail care tools. These items can carry fungi and bacteria and lead to an infection if used by multiple people. 
  • If you get manicures or pedicures at a salon, ensure they sterilize their tools before use.

5.2 Diet and Lifestyle for Healthy Nails

You know, what you eat can affect the health of your nails! It’s true. Packing your plate with foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins is like giving your nails a spa treatment. 

Why not add some chicken, a bit of salmon, a handful of eggs, a serving of beans, a bunch of spinach, and a sprinkle of nuts to your meals? All these foods are bursting with biotin and other nutrients your nails love.

And here’s another secret: hydration. Just like your skin, your nails need to stay hydrated too. Imagine drinking water as quenching your nails’ thirst, keeping them moisturized from the inside out. This simple habit can save your nails from becoming brittle and developing cracks that sneaky fungi might exploit.

Regular cardio boosts circulation, promoting healthier nails [6]. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. It could be a brisk walk, a session at the gym, or a dance class – whatever keeps you moving!

Remember, these skincare tips are not just for those who have experienced a nail fungal infection. They’re practical habits everyone can adopt to maintain healthy nails and prevent fungal infections. Prevention is always better than cure, and it starts with taking care of yourself.

Conclusion

Understanding the different treatments for nail fungus is crucial to effectively combating and preventing this common condition. 

We’ve delved into everything from early detection, traditional treatments, and novel laser procedures to post-treatment care and essential skincare tips. 

Always remember, whether it’s an over-the-counter ointment or a cutting-edge laser treatment, the goal is to eradicate the fungus and restore your nail health. Armed with this knowledge, you’re well on your way to making an informed decision about the most suitable treatment.

Remember, every treatment has its unique pros and cons. So, consult your healthcare provider to make the best choice for your nail fungal infection treatment. 

Here’s to healthy, happy nails!

FAQs

  1. How do doctors remove toenail fungus?

To prevent you from feeling any discomfort, your doctor will first give you a little injection in your finger or toe. After that, using a unique tool, they’ll gently loosen the skin around the nail. They then separate the nail from the skin. And don’t worry; if only a part of your nail is affected, they’ll only remove that specific part. 

  1. How do you treat nail fungus medically?

You might have heard of them – terbinafine (you may know it as Lamisil®), itraconazole (that’s Sporanox®), or fluconazole (Diflucan®)[7]. Each of these is designed to treat fungal infections. Just remember, always consult your healthcare provider to choose the best option.

  1. Will fungus return after nail removal?

Removing a nail entirely doesn’t promise flawless regrowth. The new nail might be oddly shaped or thickened. The sneaky fungus might stage a comeback, latching onto your fresh toenail. That’s why good skin care is paramount even after treatment. And remember, no two cases are the same. Discussing your options with your healthcare provider is always a good idea.

Reference

[1]https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353300

[2]https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/best-over-counter-nail-fungus-treatment-3564243/

[3]https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-clean-under-nails

[4]https://blog.babyfoot.com/tips-for-moisturizing-your-feet-to-keep-them-soft/

[5]https://health.usf.edu/care/dermatology/services-specialties/cosmetics/nail-fungus

[6]https://www.instyle.com/beauty/nails/how-to-grow-out-your-nails#:~:text=It%20doesn’t%20seem%20like,Stern.

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

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Sabina Gordon
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