What does toenail fungus look like, symptoms and treatment?One in three people on earth has faced a problem such as delamination and crumbling of the nails, the opacity of the plate; this is onychomycosis. The disease affects different age groups. Toenail fungus (photo below) spreads quickly and adapts to new conditions.
Consider in more detail the main factors of occurrence, types and methods of treatment of the fungus at home.
The causative agents of this disease are saprophytes, molds, candida and other pathogenic microorganisms.
The main types of pathogens:
- Epiderrnophyton floccosum. Anthropophilic fungus that affects the stratum corneum of the epidermis. After infection, scaly pink patches with characteristic fuzzy edges begin to appear on the skin. Transmits through tactile contact or through household items.
- Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. These are two yeast-like fungi of the genus Trichopyton. They have a toxic effect, they can lie dormant for a long time, and after exposure to negative factors, they become more active. The first signs of the disease are itching between the fingers and an unpleasant smell, then a rash and peeling appear. The color of the integument can remain unchanged.
Mycologists distinguish four types of mycosis, which can be caused by various foot fungi:
- The erased form is the clearest. It is characterized by a slight itch between the fingers and a slight peeling of the skin. The reason is the Candida saprophyte. Its incubation period is 2 weeks. Most of the time, patients simply do not notice the signs of infection and are spreading the fungus. Even in the absence of treatment, the disease goes away on its own.
- Squamous-hyperkeratotic. The neglected shape of this foot fungus can lead to deep cracks and tissue damage from the leg to the ankle. It is noteworthy that in the initial stage of the disease there are no external manifestations. The sole does not itch and does not hurt, occasionally small cracks appear;
- Intertriginous or interdigital is the most common. Most often, the primary injury begins with the folds of the thumb and index finger and then spreads along the foot. Possible causes of occurrence: contact with an infected person (surface), injuries and non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene;
- Dyshidrotic or vesicular form: mycosis, which causes local eruptions and erosions on the epidermis. It is transmitted exclusively from the patient and is rarely diagnosed on the skin of the legs. This mushroom is believed to like hands and palms better. In the absence of proper treatment, fungal eczema occurs due to exposure to pathogenic microorganisms.
Over time, yeast infections progress, although this happens very slowly. Sometimes people live with fungus for decades and begin to worry only when the nail is completely gone, painful sensations appear. There are several stages in total.
- Initial stage. The fungal infection is just beginning to destroy the nail, its color changes, the transparency disappears.
- The appearance of hyperkeratosis. This phenomenon, when, with mycosis, the nail begins to thicken, it becomes very dense, sometimes it grows strongly. At the end of this stage, the nail plate becomes loose, sometimes its upper layers can be simply scraped off with a finger.
- In the next stage, the fungal infection moves under the nail. The cuticle is shed from the nail plate and the nail fold can become red, swollen and inflamed.
- Execution stage. The nail is atrophied, completely changes color. At this stage, the nail plate is often dislodged or completely destroyed.
It is advisable to suspect nail fungus in the initial stages, in its advanced form it is difficult and time-consuming to treat, sometimes requiring complete removal of the nail plate. Do not start the mycosis.
Onychomycosis most often affects the toenails and less often the hands. The disease begins with the thumb and little finger (the outer edge is affected), gently affecting all the plates.
The main symptoms of onychomycosis will help determine a fungal infection:
- the appearance of stripes and spots of a whitish or greenish tint under the nails;
- plaque cloudiness, color change (from yellow to dark brown);
- redness and peeling of the skin around the nail;
- the appearance of roughness on the feet and between the toes;
- the formation of mold on the nails.
To find out how to recognize the disease in the initial stage, you can see the main manifestations of nail fungus in the photo. This will allow you to understand at least roughly how the development of the infection begins, and if you find similar signs, see a doctor.
How does the mushroom look in the photo?
In any case, the initial examination of the leg is carried out independently.In order not to confuse the fungus with possible calluses or ordinary mechanical damage to the foot, we recommend that you study the photo of nail fungus in the initial and advanced stages.
There are more than 50 subspecies of fungi that cause onychomycosis, so it is possible to accurately determine the type only under laboratory conditions. Preliminary diagnosis at home is possible from the second stage, when symptoms appear.
- The nail plates need to be examined to determine the location of the fungal infection.
- The next criterion is the form of the change in the thickness of the nail, the presence of flaking scales and crumbling.
- The determining factor may be the color of the infection foci.
- It is necessary to assess the condition of the skin and hair at the time of detection of onychomycosis: many fungi attack them first, and then move to the nail plate.
In some cases, the causative agent is various types of fungal infection. Combinations of dermatophytes with yeast-like fungi or candida molds are possible.
Treatment of nail fungus in the initial stage.
If such a disease occurs, 3 treatment options are possible, it all depends on the stage in which the fungus is found. So this:
- the use of local drugs;
- the use of oral medications;
- combination therapy.
Local drugs are represented by various ointments, gels, suspensions, emulsions and other types of external preparations. They act only at the focus of the injury and do not penetrate the bloodstream. They are used mainly in the early stages of the development of dermatomycosis or with a small focus of infection. Treatment generally varies from one week to several months, depending on the degree of negligence of the injury.
- Oral medications are taken by mouth and act on the causative agent from inside the body. They have side effects and affect not only the affected area, but also the body in general. In some cases, a single application is sufficient, sometimes a course of treatment is required. They are used for serious injuries and advanced stages of fungal diseases.
- Combination therapy is used more often. The action of external drugs reduces the intensity of symptoms, accelerates the healing of damaged areas, and the tablets act from the inside on the causative agent of the disease.
With any treatment option, the course of therapy should not be interrupted. The doctor determines the drug use regimen and duration. As a rule, treatment continues after the disappearance of symptoms and external manifestations of mycoses for several more days (up to a week).
Varnishes and ointments against fungi.
If the nail fungus does not start, but is in an initial stage, it is worth trying to apply varnishes and ointments that help to soften the affected area. In this case, the spores of the fungus die under the influence of the drug.
- The most common antifungal varnishes are "Terbinafin", "Amorolfin", "Cyclopirox". Following the instructions, the varnish is applied twice a week for several months, until the healthy nail fully grows back.
- Also widely known are: creams - "Sertaconazole", "Bifonazole", "Ketoconazole", "Terbinafine"; aerosols - "Terbinafine", etc. Apply to a clean and dry surface of the finger and nail area affected by the fungus. The antifungal liquid containing boric acid and resorcinol helps to dry and disinfect the affected skin and nails.
- An iodine-based antiseptic accelerates the renewal and healing process of the nail itself and the area around it. After applying the spray, manifestations of an allergic reaction in the form of burning, itching are possible.
For nail treatment, you need to choose a type of drug. It is not recommended to alternate, change funds, such manipulations will lead to a decrease in the effectiveness of the therapeutic effect. Before starting to use, be sure to read the contraindications. Pregnant women, children and people suffering from individual intolerances are prohibited from using antifungal varnishes for treatment.
Before applying varnish or ointment, the area of the nail affected by the fungus should be removed as much as possible using a special file that comes with the medicine. After degreasing the nail with a solution of water and alcohol, a layer of varnish is applied, which must be changed every few days. Before the procedure, you can take a foot bath with soap and soda. The varnish is removed in the same way as the decorative ones, using organic solvents.
Nail fungal infection in the initial stage can be treated with home methods. Home remedies are good helpers in the complex therapy of the disease.
- Sea salt. This remedy is best combined with conservative treatments. Sea salt baths are a recommended preparatory procedure before applying topical products. For a small amount of hot water, you need to take a teaspoon of salt, keep your legs for about 15-20 minutes.
- Trays from a decoction of willow branches are used 3 times a week. For cooking, collect the young shoots, finely chop, take 500 gr. raw materials and pour 2 liters of water. Boil, reduce heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Once the broth has cooled, strain and hold the legs for 20 minutes.
- Tea tree oil. Injured nails should be lubricated before bed, bandaged, and left overnight. In the morning, remove the dressings, clean the stratum corneum of the nail, and drip tea tree oil again, but do not wrap it. It is important to continue treatment until a healthy nail begins to grow.
- Vinegar baths. In 2 liters of hot water (37 degrees), dilute 5 tbsp. l. 9% vinegar. The feet should be soaked in such a solution for at least half an hour. Next, clean the softened keratinized layer of the nail with a nail file and treat the affected areas on the feet and between the toes with a pumice stone. After such manipulation, it is recommended to apply an antifungal cream or solution. Perform the procedures regularly (1-2 times a day) for a month.
- Celandine. This plant has long been used against nail and skin diseases. It should be handled with caution due to the active "cauterizing" effect. Celandine juice, decoctions and oils made from this plant are used against the fungus.
Laser therapy is one of the newer treatments for nail fungus, especially in its advanced stages. This method is an alternative to surgical removal, followed by a prolonged recovery period. During laser treatment, healthy tissues do not touch; During the procedure, the patient does not experience pain or other unpleasant sensations.
Disadvantages of laser treatment: high price, you have to take breaks between procedures, they can only be performed by a qualified dermatologist. Regardless of the chosen method of therapy, it is imperative to follow all the rules of personal hygiene. Nail fungus can return and treatment will not be effective if it is not done.
When treating toenail fungus, you need to perform hygiene procedures regularly, often changing your socks and ventilating your shoes after wearing them. The same rules should be followed so that nail fungus does not reappear after treatment.
Of course, it is better to prevent the fungus than to deal with its consequences for a long time.
How to protect yourself from fungi:
- At the first signs of fungus (itching, redness, peeling), you should generously lubricate your feet with salicylic ointment. It has a strong antibacterial effect and hydrates the skin. On the other hand, suede or streptocide are also suitable;
- Before every visit to the pool, sauna, gym or other place where you need to remove your shoes, it is important to treat your feet with a protective cream.
- Treat shoes regularly, wash them if possible and air dry. It is not necessary to use special formulations for this. Most products can be cleaned from the inside with alcohol or other antibacterial solutions.
To strengthen the skin and ensure local immunity, a recipe for a prophylactic mixture based on onions is suitable. An onion is ground with two tablespoons of honey. The resulting paste is applied to the skin of the feet and palms. It is advisable to keep the mask for 30 minutes. Repeat every other day;