What Is Toenail Fungus: Treatment, and How to Get Rid of It

Toenail fungus is an infection that enters the nail through cracks or cuts in the skin. Read this article to learn about how it spreads, the treatment, and how to get rid of it.

lifestyleug.com__What is toenail fungus
Toenail fungus is very common. PHOTO via @Everyday Health

KAMPALA | LIFESTYLE UGANDA ( https://lifestyleug.com/) — A toenail fungus is an infection that enters your nail through cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin; it makes your toenail appear more brittle or thicker.

Toenail fungus may occur if you’re overweight or stressed. They may also spread if you put your toenail in the shower. It’s common if you play sports or are exposed to sweaty feet. 

Toenail fungus is very common. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that 50% of all people will get toenail fungus at some point in their lifetime. 

Most of these cases will get better on their own, but if you’re bothered, you should visit your doctor. They’ll diagnose the problem, and suggest treatments. 

Toenail fungus can cause serious problems if left untreated. It can grow into thick white calluses, spread to other toes, and make your toe turn blue. Toenail fungus is usually treated with antifungal creams.

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Toenail fungus doesn’t spread from person to person, and it’s not contagious. But people with compromised immune systems may need special care. This could include people with AIDS, cancer patients, people with kidney disease, or people who have undergone bone marrow or organ transplants.

The good news is that once your nail fungus  is treated, you can just stop using antifungal creams, and your toenails will return to normal. 

Toenail fungus is caused by an infection of the skin that makes contact with fungal or bacterial growth. There are over 300 types of fungus that can grow on toenails. 

People with diabetes, diabetes complications, or a history of infection with a certain kind of fungus are more likely to develop toenail fungus. 

How to get rid of Toenail Fungus 

There’s a variety of ways to treat toenail fungus. Depending on the stage of the infection, you may need to treat it with different drugs. 

Topical antifungals like clindamycin  and fluconazole  are the most common treatment. You may need to apply these to your toenail every day. You may also have to cut the toenail and apply a topical cream called heparin to cover the nail. 

Antibiotics may also be used to treat toenail fungus. You may need to apply one of these drugs to your nails daily or for several weeks.

In severe cases, surgical treatments may be necessary. These include having a nail divided into two toes or removing the entire nail. The American Academy of Dermatology  recommends avoiding this option if it’s not needed. 

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Treatment works best if you treat the nail fungus with antifungal creams. Otherwise, it can take months to a year to get rid of it. 

Note: I do not recommend letting this fungus go untreated. The longer it goes untreated, the more likely it is that it’ll spread. 

If you think you have nail fungus, see your doctor. 

A Quick Glossary of Nail Conditionals 

Antifungals: these are the most common drugs used to treat nail fungus. They work by blocking fungal growth. 

Heparin: used to protect the nail from bacteria and fungi, and to stop the nail from discoloring. 

Fluconazole: an antibiotic that may help to treat toenail fungus. It’s the most common drug used to treat nail fungus. It may work for severe cases of the disease. 

Anatomy of Nails 

Nails are made up of three major sections: the nail bed, the nail plate, and the cuticle. The nail plate forms underneath your nails and attaches to the bottom of the nail. 

This is where you’ll find the blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands, and other things that make nails useful. 

The nail bed is a thin, flat layer of cells. Nails aren’t hard, but they are harder than skin. The blood vessels and nerves of the nail bed connect to your other cells, like skin. 

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The nail plate is the hard, flat top of the nail bed. You can see the cuticle at the bottom of this layer. The nail plate contains your nails’ growth rings, which make them appear colorful. 

Your toenails grow in layers, called the cuticle. The cuticle is the layer that separates the layers of your nail. It’s made up of keratin, the same material as hair and fingernails. 

Treatment of Toenail Fungus

It can be a while before your nail fungus is completely cured. You may need to use topical antifungals to keep it in check. Topical antifungals work by stopping the fungus from growing. 

  1. Fluconazole: the most common antifungal drug used to treat nail fungus.
  2. Metronidazole: an antifungal used to treat a number of infections.
  3. Januvia: an anti-diabetic drug that helps to prevent your nails from discoloring. 
  4. Phenylbutazone: It is an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis and glanders. It is also used to treat nail fungus.
Musasi Isaac Christopher

An aspiring Lifestyle blogger who specializes in health, food and restaurant sectors. WhatsApp me on +256759100143.