The problem of fungal infection of the nail plates of the legs is familiar to many. According to medical statistics, this disease worries about 20% of the world's population. Only on the territory of our country more than 15 million people suffer from the fungus. Therefore, the problem of how to treat toenail fungus is extremely relevant today. This disease in the medical environment is also called onychomycosis. The disease is more common among the stronger sex. This is due to the fact that they are more likely to wear closed shoes. And this, in turn, prevents the flow of air to the feet, which contributes to the emergence of a favorable environment for the rapid reproduction of pathogenic microorganisms.
The information in this section should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. In case of pain or other exacerbation of the disease, only the attending physician should prescribe diagnostic tests. For proper diagnosis and treatment, you should contact a specialist.
symptoms of the disease
There are around 50 different types of fungi that can infect the human body. Therefore, to determine how to treat toenail fungus, you need to know the exact type of infection. The symptoms of the disease also vary depending on the pathogen that caused it. When infected with a normotrophic fungus in a patient:
- there is a change in the color of the nail;
- spots and stripes appear on it;
- Observed onycholysis.
With the atrophic type of the disease, the patient notices that his nail is slowly being destroyed. The damage occurs at the outer end and moves into the nail fold. At first, only a change in the color of the plaque indicates an ailment. She becomes:
In the future, there is a complete loss of the nail. With hypertrophic fungi, a thickening of the plate is observed. This occurs due to increased growth of skin scales. As a result, the nail can thicken up to two millimeters and become severely deformed. The following symptoms indicate the onset of this disease:
- change in the shape of the nail (the lateral parts are destroyed);
- plate gloss loss;
- yellowing of the nail
Treatment of toenail fungus should be started urgently when signs of lateral and distal lesions appear. These two types of disease often occur in combination. This ailment will be indicated by:
- the appearance of transverse grooves on the nail;
- plate color change (from blue-green to black);
- roughness of the affected areas.
The disease ends with the complete loss of the nail, as well as inflammation of the nail folds. Regardless of the type of lesion, there are symptoms that bother every patient with a fungus:
- itching in the affected area;
- plate delamination;
- crumbling and loss of the nail.
The fungus occurs due to tissue damage by fungal bacteria. In almost 90% of cases, the disease is caused by dermatomycetes. In rarer cases, fungi of the genus Candida, as well as mold microorganisms, become pathogenic. Pathogens can penetrate deep into the nail:
- through the dorsal part of the nail;
- from below the distal edge;
- through the proximal fold.
In the first case, the fungus penetrates deep into the nail. This route of infection is characteristic of dermatomycetes. In the second case, the lesion occurs directly under the plate. This greatly complicates the treatment of toenail fungus, since it is difficult to act with drugs directly on the infection site due to its inaccessibility. Through the proximal roller, infection rarely penetrates. In order for the fungus to get into the nail, certain conditions are needed. Increase the risk of infection:
- mechanical damage in the nail area;
- wearing narrow and uncomfortable shoes;
- constant contact with water;
- increased sweating;
- exposure to chemicals on the feet;
- non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene.
You can catch a fungus from a sick person. The causative agents of the disease are perfectly preserved in damp and warm rooms, therefore infection most often occurs in showers, swimming pools, water parks and public toilets. The fungus can also be transmitted by sharing such items:
- pair of scissors;
What doctor treats?
When the first symptoms appear, which indicate the development of the disease, it is recommended to immediately seek medical help. Self-medication is possible, but during attempts to cope with the disease on your own, there is a high probability of infecting all loved ones, as well as provoking the development of complications. Therefore, it is better to trust the professionals. Treatment and diagnosis of nail fungus are carried out by: dermatovenereologist, cosmetologist, podiatrist.
At the first appointment, the patient will be examined. The doctor must study the condition of the nail plate, determine the nature and prevalence of the disease. The patient should tell as much as possible about all the complaints, indicate her assumptions about the causes of the onset of the disease. To decide how to cure toenail fungus, it is important to have a survey conducted by a doctor. The specialist will ask the patient:
- Have there been similar problems in the past?
- Are there other health complaints?
- Have you visited saunas, baths or swimming pools lately?
- Do family members suffer from nail fungus?
- Are there chronic diseases?
- How did you try to solve the problem yourself?
It is very important that the doctor understands what type of fungus affected the nail. Diagnostic tests help find out. The patient will be scraped from the affected part, which will be sent for laboratory study. The study will determine the type of pathogen, as well as study its sensitivity to drugs.
Effective treatment for toenail fungus.
You can cope with the disease quickly enough, if you strictly follow all the recommendations of a specialist. The doctor will develop an individual therapy plan for the patient, select the drugs and indicate their maximum allowable dosage. For the treatment of nail fungus, drugs are used in the form of:
They need to be applied regularly. It is important not to mix several products, since their effect is reduced. It is impossible to independently acquire and use such drugs, because they have a number of contraindications. Only a doctor knows how to treat toenail fungus in such cases:
- with lactation;
- During pregnancy;
- in the presence of liver diseases;
- in childhood.
It is very important to follow the rules for applying these drugs. For example, before you cover the plate with a special antifungal varnish, you must:
- remove the affected part of the nail with a nail file;
- steam the leg;
- degrease the nail plate.
The medicine is applied in one layer. Remove it every week with a simple nail polish remover. Then apply it again. Some types of these products can be coated with regular nail polish. The duration of therapy depends on the type of pathogen, the prevalence of the disease and the individual characteristics of the patient's body.
Which is the best treatment?
The sooner a person sees a doctor, the easier and faster he will get rid of the problem. However, not all people immediately go to the hospital when the first signs of fungus appear. Many try to cope with the disease on their own, which leads to the fact that the disease enters an advanced stage. In this case, it will not be possible to quickly cure it. The patient will need a long and serious therapy, during which he will have to:
- take antifungal tablets;
- use funds for topical application;
- wear patches all the time.
The doctor will determine how to treat toenail fungus in the advanced stage based on the extent of the lesions. If the plate is completely affected, its removal is prescribed. Surgical methods can be used for this. However, most often it is possible to remove the nail with the help of special preparations. The way to use them is as follows:
- On a steamed and well dried leg, a thick layer is applied.
- From above, the nail is fixed with a plaster.
- After 4 days, it is removed, and the affected nail is scraped off with manicure tools.
In this way, the fungus can be completely eliminated. In place of the affected nail, over time, a new, completely healthy one will grow. If the therapy was carried out correctly and to the end, then you can completely get rid of the disease and not worry about relapses.
Prevention of reinfection
Even after defeating the disease, there is a chance of encountering a problem again if certain rules are not followed. In this case, the treatment of toenail fungus will have to start all over again. Re-infection can be prevented by strictly observing the following prevention methods:
- Keep your feet dry, don't walk in wet shoes.
- Don't wear other people's shoes.
- Use closed disposable slippers in saunas and baths.
- Do not walk barefoot on the beach.
- Wear only socks made of natural fabric.
It is important to abandon uncomfortable and too narrow shoes in which the feet sweat a lot. In addition, the prevention of the disease includes strengthening the immune system. If the body's defenses work in full, then even if the fungus penetrates the nail plate, they will fix the problem on their own. Therefore, it is very important:
- eat properly and nutritiously;
- avoid hypothermia;
- do sport;
- observe the regime of work and rest;
- treat all diseases in a timely manner.
Remember that only a qualified doctor can make an accurate diagnosis, determine the causes and nature of the disease, and prescribe effective treatment.