Nail fungus is made up of tiny organisms (Tinea Unguium) that can infect fingernails and toenails and is not the same as athlete’s foot, which primarily affects the skin of the feet; However sometimes the two may coexist and be caused by the same type of fungus. It is more commonly found among older adults because nails grow more slowly and thicken with aging, making them more susceptible to infection. The infection also tends to affect men more often than women and those with a family history of the disease. It grows more often in people with weaker immune systems, which allow the fungus to become established. Nail fungus can be very difficult to treat, and repeated infections are common. The infection must be treated with medication once it occurs and is becoming more common in the U.S.
Fungus Infections account for about half of all nail disorders. These infections usually develop on nails that are continually exposed to warm, moist environments, such as sweaty shoes or shower floors. An infection may begin as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. Toenails are more susceptible to fungal infections because they are confined in a warm, moist environment. Bacterial Infections cause redness, swelling, and pain of the nail skin folds. Fungal infections of the nail can cause discoloration and abnormal growth. A nail fungus infection is often very difficult to treat, and may recur. Look out for signs of infection, including redness, pain or pus.
The best treatment of course is prevention. Non-surgical treatments include the use of topical or oral medications. If the topical treatments fail, more potent medications can be taken orally if your health care provider thinks it is necessary. However, because other nail conditions sometimes mimic fungal infection, most doctors will confirm the diagnosis by sending a nail clipping for laboratory evaluation — especially if treatment is being considered. To monitor side effects your physician must order periodic blood tests (usually monthly) during treatment. At least 20 percent of patients will have a recurrence of the original nail infection at some time, making re-treatment with medication necessary.
If the nail infection does not cause any of these problems, then doctors often discourage treatment because of the potential side effects, the need to monitor the blood throughout therapy and the high recurrence rate. Without effective treatment nail fungus infections can spread and may even cause pain or tenderness. The good news is your primary care physician, podiatrist, dermatologist or healthcare professional can help you find an effective treatment. They can examine your nails and find a treatment that’s right for you. Questioning the doctor about your condition can help you feel better about the treatment you receive.
An infection of nail fungus occurs when fungi infect one or more of your nails. As it spreads deeper into your nail, it may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges – an unsightly and potentially painful condition, But there are medications available to help clear up nail fungus. People suffering from this infection should include more probiotics (good bacteria) in their diet. Your doctor can diagnose whether you have a nail fungus infection and prescribe medicine, if needed. Many people fail to seek treatment initially because the symptoms of nail fungus may appear to be nothing more than a blemish. If you suspect that you are infected, you should seek medical treatment because these infections can last indefinitely when left alone.