What causes the fungus on the nails: causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention

Onychomycosis is a disease that gets infected quickly but is much more difficult to cure. It is not only a cosmetic problem, but also causes unpleasant and painful sensations in a person. According to statistics, one in ten people on the planet suffers from it, and you could also be in the risk zone. What causes the disease, factors in the development of onychomycosis and how to beat the fungus on the toenails?

How does nail fungus appear and why does it occur?

The disease is caused by dermatophytes, yeasts and molds. According to statistics, one in 10 people on the planet is affected by this disease.

determination of nail fungus

Where can you get nail fungus? The main areas at risk are swimming pools, baths, saunas. You can get infected while wearing someone else's shoes, socks, or during a pedicure procedure. Onychomycosis more commonly affects people with chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, anemia, gastrointestinal, hormonal, immune and cardiovascular disorders, as well as long-term treatment with steroids, antibacterials andto chemotherapy.

Heat and humidity contribute to the development of spores. The main routes of infection are wounds, microcracks and other skin lesions in the fingers. Yeast infection develops when the nail plate is damaged - if we cut it briefly or break it, the fungi easily get inside. Wearing tight shoes also weakens the fabric, as does acrylic, gel, and nail polish.

We make a diagnosis

The visual manifestations of the disease are already the second stage of the disease. The first sign of infection - itching, burning, is most often attributed to excessive dryness of the skin, bad soap, a side effect of taking medication. Timely diagnosis and initiation of treatment allows you to quickly and effectively get rid of the problem.

How to diagnose the disease yourself

The main symptom are external changes, especially in the early stages of the development of the disease. The first signs usually appear on the free (front) edge of the nail plate or on the sides. At the onset of onychomycosis, it may be an unpleasant sensation during physical activity. Patients describe paresthesia (numbness), pain, discomfort, and loss of physical condition. Typical external changes include the following symptoms:

  • discoloration - spots of white, yellow, brown, greenish and gray shade appear on the tips of the nails;
  • peeling and delamination of the fabric, its fragility is clearly enhanced;
  • thickening of the stratum corneum, characteristic symptoms of excessive keratosis;
  • unpleasant foot odor.
an external change in the nail is a sign of fungal infection

Fungal infections are more common on the legs than on the hands. They can be limited to one finger or cover everything. However, the disease usually affects the first and fifth toes of the foot, due to the proximity of the shoes.

How is the fungus diagnosed in a medical clinic

The method of self-diagnosis is not always effective, asThere are a number of diseases that have a history similar to a fungal infection. These include:

  • Psoriasis - It may sound similar, but the hallmark of this disease is that it affects symmetrically. Typical signs are the appearance of white spots due to accumulations of air, redness of the hole, thimble syndrome (bumps), loss of shine, roughness. In addition, the patient presents with typical skin lesions.
  • Candidiasis. It is characterized by the appearance of purulent discharge, as well as painful sensations when pressing on the affected area. The disease is more common in women, especially in people who often have to wear closed, airtight shoes in hot and humid environments. To develop this type, it is necessary to injure the finger in the nail area. Leakage: The follicles in the plaques swell, become very red and painful.
  • Trophic changes caused by mechanical damage. The problem usually focuses on the proximal part of the plate (i. e. at its base).
  • Lichen. It is characterized by typical lesions of the skin and mucous membranes. The lamina affected by the lichen is usually covered with yellow-white stripes.

Also, there are different types and forms of nail fungus, depending on the causative agent that caused the problem, and the duration of the infection. The clinic determines the type of disease and prescribes a treatment regimen based on the tests performed.

Processing methods

Treatment for onychomycosis should be started immediately after the problem is detected. If you delay treatment, a complication may arise: infection of neighboring fingers, transition to a chronic form and gradual course of the disease. Therefore, always make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any suspicious changes or if you are using proven traditional methods.

Folk remedies for fungus

treatment of fungi with folk remedies

In the early stages of the disease, home remedies work well to fight fungal infections. To get rid of the fungus, you can try these recipes:

  • Tea tree oil. The mixture is a powerful natural antiseptic and fungicide. It is applied drip to the affected area 2 times a day. The duration of the course is 21 days.
  • Apple vinegar. From there, prepare foot baths by mixing equal parts with water.
  • Iodine from the fungus. An old proven method to get rid of nail fungus. Method of application: once a day apply 1-2 drops of the composition to the affected plaque. In order to prevent infection of neighboring fingers, it is recommended to lubricate them with iodine, but less often - once every 2-3 days.
  • Listerine mouthwash. It contains an antiseptic and a small amount of alcohol in its composition, which adversely affect the treatment process.
  • Lemon juice. It is applied as a compress for 30 minutes. to affected areas.

A positive effect is given by dietary restrictions during the course of treatment. Sweet and starchy foods should be excluded from the daily diet, and the amount of protein (beef, fish, poultry), dairy products (yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese) should be increased. Fruits should also be unsweetened (lemon, grapefruit, sour apples, raspberries, cherries). Diet is necessary to strengthen human immunity and reduce the concentration of the nutrient medium for the fungus - simple sugars that are formed in the body when consuming easily digestible carbohydrates.

Modern drugs and procedures

Unfortunately, home remedies for fungal infections are often ineffective. This is due to the fact that the disease has already passed in a progressive form. To get rid of it, you need to see a doctor. The effectiveness of medical treatment depends on the duration of the course, which takes several months even after the elimination of visual symptoms. But patients forget that they need to continue the course after the appearance of the cosmetic effect. This leads to relapse and the need for treatment early on.

At first, when the tissue changes are small, a fungicidal ointment will help well. For advanced cases, oral medications are usually prescribed. Yeast infections of the foot are prone to relapse, so follow your doctor's recommendations after healing. In general, the duration and order will depend on the type that infected the nails, the clinical course, the number of infected nails and the degree of damage to the plaque. In some cases, a systematic approach is required which combines several methods. The combination of systemic and local exposure improves the effectiveness of treatment.

Topical antifungal ointments

Topical medications should only be used in cases where the lesion occupies less than half of the distal portion of the plaque and when the patient cannot tolerate systemic therapy. Ointments, suspensions include amorolfins, ciclopirox and bifonazole, urea. They are used daily for 5 to 12 months. The last option for topical treatment of onchomycosis is bifonazole in combination with 40% urea solution.

But external agents cannot help to heal completely, because they do not penetrate the tissues sufficiently. It has been found that although the latest generation of ointments capture all layers, they still have low effectiveness when used in a single formulation. However, these agents may be useful as adjuvant therapy, as an adjunct to oral medications, or to prevent relapses in patients who have previously taken oral medications.

Antifungal pills

Oral treatment for ringworm is almost always a necessity. New generations of antifungal drugs such as itraconazole or terbinafine have recently replaced the old generics in the treatment of nails. The effectiveness of these funds is explained by their ability to penetrate the nail plate in just a few days after the start of the course. By using them, you can afford a shorter treatment time with a faster recovery rate and fewer side effects. Terbinafine (international name, you should look for commercial analogues in pharmacies), fungicides (kill the pathogen) cure disease and prevent further spread of spores. These drugs work on both yeast viruses and dermatophytes, the most common causes of nail fungus.

Surgical treatment of onychomycosis

This method can also be used to treat fungal nail infections. This is a mechanical and chemical removal of the infected nail plaque (using 40-50% urea). It is a painless and beneficial method when the growth is very thick and interferes with the comfort of the patient.

Removal of nail plaque for onychomycosis should be considered as adjunct therapy in patients receiving oral agents. The combination of oral, topical (lubricant) and surgical treatment of the fungus achieves the fastest healing rate and at the same time is the cheapest option (fewer relapses, short duration).

Laser therapy

A new method that shows the greatest efficiency. In just 4 sessions of "cold" laser irradiation, you can get rid of the problem completely. The only downside to this type of exposure is the relatively high cost of the procedures.

Principles of prevention

foot protection - prevention of fungal infections

After finding out the causes of the fungus on the feet, it is easier to avoid the disease. By following simple recommendations, you can avoid the problem. Basic rules for avoiding fungi:

  1. Avoid trauma to the skin around the toes.
  2. Do not break the edges, but only cut with sharp scissors.
  3. Use only your own towels and personal hygiene products (scissors, sanding files and sticks).
  4. After washing your feet, thoroughly dry the skin between your toes.
  5. Do not walk barefoot in public places.
  6. Wear cotton socks and breathable shoes.
  7. Change socks and shoes frequently if you are sweating excessively.
  8. Use pedicure services in trusted locations where instruments are disinfected and sterilized according to established protocol.
  9. Do not use shoes or slippers that others have worn.

You need to take care of your feet and keep them clean. After taking bath procedures, it is advisable to treat the skin with cosmetics with an antiseptic effect. Wet shoes, after a day of wearing, should be dried to an absolutely dry state - you should not wear even slightly damp shoes. If, despite the precautions taken, changes characteristic of the disease appear, you should immediately consult a doctor.