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Fungal nails; the best way to treat and prevent them!

Fungal nails; the best way to treat and prevent them!

By: Susanne Comments: 0

Fungal nails: the best treatment to get rid of your fungal nails

Table of Contents

  1. What is a fungal nail?
  2. How to recognize a fungal nail
  3. Causes fungal nail
  4. Treating fungal nails
  5. Preventing fungal nails

What is a fungal nail?

"Fungal nails" is a commonly used term in the vernacular, meaning thickened and yellow/white discolored nails. The word "fungal nail" is actually incorrect, because the thickened and discolored nails have nothing to do with lime. The word was probably used because the discoloration resembles limescale. It is a disfiguring condition that can be painful, but is usually very manageable.

Another commonly used term is "fungal nail". But what many people don't know is that a fungal nail does not always have to be a fungal nail. A thickened or discolored nail plate can also be caused by skin diseases such as psoriasis or by internal disorders such as diabetes. Nail fungus is actually a collective name for the same symptom (yellow discoloration and thickened nail) due to different causes.

But in the vast majority of cases, a fungus in the nail plate is the cause of a fungal nail. We will therefore further discuss the treatment of a fungal nail in this blog. The medical term for a fungal nail is "onychomycosis". In most cases it concerns the nails of the feet, but onychomycosis can also occur in fingernails.

How do you recognize a fungal nail?

A fungal nail caused by fungi usually starts first under the nail of your big toe or the smallest toe. These toes get the most pressure from your shoes. As a result, the nail plate is often somewhat damaged by the pressure and is more susceptible to fungi. You can recognize a fungal toenail by a brown or yellow discoloration on the sides and top of the nail. The length growth of the nail is inhibited by the presence of the fungus and as a result the thickness of the nail can increase. In a more advanced stage, the discolored nail can become friable or become loose. In short, these are the symptoms that indicate a "fungal nail":

  1. Yellow, white or even brown/green discoloration of the nail plate
  2. Thickening of the nail
  3. Slow nail growth
  4. Cruable structure and brittleness
  5. Leaving the corners and sometimes even the entire nail
  6. Peeling skin near the nails

Causes fungal nail 

In the case of a fungal nail, there is a fungal infection in one or more nails of the feet and/or hands. Onychomycosis is caused by fungi, usually dermatophytes. Everyone comes into contact with this, but not everyone is susceptible to an infection.

In the Netherlands, it is estimated that between 3% and 20% of people have a fungal nail infection. The chance of this increases as one gets older. In children, onchyomycosis is still quite rare, but in the population group over 40 this percentage is estimated to be between 15 to 20%.

Men and women have about the same risk of nail fungus. People with a reduced resistance (for example, people who have undergone chemotherapy or diabetics) also have a greater risk of fungal nails. If you suffer from a fungal infection on the skin of your feet, the risk of a fungal infection under your nails is also higher.

Someone with healthy skin and healthy nails usually has a good defense against fungi. However, if there is damage to the nail, the risk of a fungal infection is greater. If there is no longer a connection between the nail bed and the nail plate, a space is created that often remains moist for a long time and where fungal spores thrive. As you get older, the nails often become a bit more brittle and less smooth in structure. This is also one of the reasons that older people are more likely to get fungal nails.

Mold spores are all around us, but especially in communal areas such as changing rooms, swimming pools, showers and saunas, it is easy to catch an infection if you are sensitive to it. When you walk around with bare feet, you almost inevitably come into contact with mold spores.

If you yourself have a fungal infection on one of the nails, you can also easily infect yourself. You often see that adjacent nails also become infected and if treatment is not started in time and the condition of the nails is weak, then all nails will eventually become infected.

Treat fungal nails

Almost everyone with fungal nails / fungal nails will want to get rid of it as soon as possible. For a healthy person, fungal nails are only a nuisance and disfiguring, but not dangerous. In people with a reduced immune system or in people with diabetes, for example, the infection can spread more quickly and be more intense. It is important for this group that a treatment plan is drawn up as soon as possible and that the GP is informed.

Depending on the type of infection and how long it has been present, different treatments are possible. But in all cases, the treatment of fungal nails is a long process. We make a difference in approach through a professional and what you can do yourself against fungal nails.

With a professional approach, a scrap or biopsy of the affected nail is often first sent to a laboratory to be sure that it is actually a fungal infection and also what type of fungus it is.

different types of nail fungus

The professionals can offer different treatments and they are often combined for the best result.

- Professional help

  1. Doctor (general practitioner / dermatologist) - oral medication in combination, possibly in combination with a local anti-fungal agent. Oral medication often has to be taken for 3 months and can be repeated again. There is a risk of side effects and no guarantee of success. Therefore, it must be carefully considered how serious the infection is for the patient.
  2. (Medical) pedicure - cleaning and removing as much as possible of the affected nail in combination with a pedicure. a topical anti-fungal agent. Treatment of the shoes and socks is also necessary.
  3. Laser clinic - laser treatment of the affected nails. Sometimes 1 treatment is sufficient, but often a number of repetitions is recommended.

- Self treatment fungal nail 

If you prefer to get started yourself, there are several resources you can try. For all resources, it is a long process and you have to treat it daily. There are several remedies for fungal nails on the market. Unfortunately, there is not one panacea that works well for everyone. It's a matter of trying. Whichever product you try, it is important that you remove as much loose material and fungal nail as possible so that the product can do its job properly.

Have a look at our Degros fungal nail removal action package. This gives you everything you need to treat your fungal nails yourself and prevent contamination.

cut fungal nails

Due to the thickening, fungal nails can be very difficult to cut with regular nail scissors or nail clippers. It is a difficult job, especially for people who have less strength in their hands or who cannot easily reach their toes. A good nail tongs, possibly with double transmission, ensures that less force is used need to be.

The following agents are known for their effect against fungal nails;

  1. Vinegar
  2. Tea tree oil
  3. Anti-fungal sprays 
  4. Sea water, salt

A few drops daily on the nail and nail environment of these products ensure that the environment becomes less suitable for the fungus to survive with prolonged and regular use.

Prevent fungal nails

To ensure that the chance of contracting a fungal nail is as small as possible and to prevent reinfection or cross-contamination, we have the following advice and tips:

  1. Wear SLIPPERS in areas where many people walk barefoot, swimming pools or changing rooms.
  2. Keep your feet clean and dry, especially between the toes. One good tip: blow dry your feet!  This often dries the feet much better than a towel and can be used done without having to bend down deeply. For people who have trouble to reach their feet themselves, this is easier than drying them off.
  3. Wear clean cotton socks and well-ventilated or open shoes every day.
  4. Avoid wearing synthetic stockings or tights as much as possible.
  5. If you have a fungal nail yourself: treat it hygienically and take care of your feet in a place that can be cleaned properly afterwards. This way you prevent infections within the family.
  6. It is important to also treat your socks and shoes. Socks can be washed at a high temperature (preferably 90 degrees, but at least 60 degrees). Shoes must be treated with anti-fungal spray or powder.
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