Fungal infections of the nail are not only unsightly and sometimes painful, but they are also extremely difficult to treat. The prescription medications that are available, and often prescribed to treat this type of infection, carry serious side effects and long term hazards. As a result, many people turn to a toe fungus natural cure for relief. But is a natural cure for toe fungus a viable option?
Fungal nail infections are caused by an overgrowth of fungi called dermatophytes or other types of yeasts and molds that thrive in dark, damp environments. Toe nails are particularly vulnerable to this type of an infection because our feet spent most of their time inside of socks and shoes, a perfect environment for the proliferation of such microscopic organisms. The feet are also kept away from the very things that would help protect them, sunlight and air.
Traditional Nail Fungus Treatment Options
Before taking a look at toe fungus natural cures, it is instructive to glance at the problems underlying the traditional medical approach taken by most doctors. There are two types of prescription medications most often called upon to treat fungal nail infections; oral medications and topical medications.
There are currently three oral nail fungus medications available on the market; only two have FDA approval for treating this condition. The most serious side effect of these medications is the potential for liver damage. The risk is so high, in fact, that people who take these medications are required to have their liver functioning monitored. Furthermore, these drugs offer less than a fifty percent cure rate and must be taken for an extended period of time.
Lamisil is the most popular oral medication with the highest success rate. But, in addition to the risk of liver damage, common side effects include gastrointestinal problems, rash, nausea, and a metallic taste and the drug must be taken for as long as twelve weeks. It also can interact with other commonly used drugs such as anti-depressants and beta-blockers. Topical antifungal medications have fewer side effects but have a much lower success rate and they must be used in the very earliest stage of the infection for any chance of results. A toe fungus natural cure looks very appealing when faced with these options.
A Look at Toe Fungus Natural Cure Options
As mentioned, a natural cure for toe fungus is a very appealing option, not only because it seems to have limited side effects but because it is also generally inexpensive. For example, some of the common household items recommended for treating a fungal nail infection include vinegar, household bleach, Vicks Vaporub, beer and Listerine. But before you run to the store to buy one of these toe fungus natural cure products, a reality check is in order.
Let's take a look at household bleach. Treating a fungal nail infection with bleach is often recommended by advocates of natural cures. It is a very inexpensive and cost effective option. However, the treatment plan using bleach requires soaking the feet in a bleach and water solution for approximately thirty minutes, every day, preferably fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the afternoon, for a minimum of two weeks but optimally two months. In addition, bleach is not only a hazardous chemical with hazardous fumes, it is extremely damaging to the skin. There are similar drawbacks with other toe fungus natural cures that make them less than ideal.
Another popular natural toe fungus cure includes one or more essential oils. The most popular essential oils used include Tea Tree Oil, Oregano Oil and Lavender Oil. All of these treatments must be done for an extended period of time, and usually need to be applied at least twice a day for three to six months. What started out as an inexpensive treatment plan quickly becomes very expensive when used for six months. In addition, most research reveals that even after extended use a natural toe fungus cure will not necessarily produce anything more than temporary relief. So before you invest your time and money in one of the many toe fungus natural cures, it is a good idea to weigh all of the pros and cons.