Toenail fungus, known as onychomycosis, is known to have affected millions around the world. Toenail fungus might look like a present-day disease, but toenail fungus has always been around for centuries. In the latter part of this article, we will briefly examine how to know if toenail fungus is dying.
History of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus has been plaguing the human race for centuries, and documents date back to ancient Egypt. During ancient times toenail fungus prevailed due to the poor hygiene that was practiced and the lack of medical care treatment. In this ancient times, the treatment used in combating the toenail fungus was a mixture of herbs and spices, which could be likened to the natural remedies of recent times.
During the Middle Ages, toenail fungus was popularly associated with poor hygiene and was often taken as a result of moral decay. It was rumored that the disease was also a result of demonic possession, which further led to an unusual form of treatment, such as exorcism.
Even more in this recent times has, toenail fungus becomes more prevalent due to the rise in the aging population and diabetes and other chronic health conditions. While the situation is still a minor issue, it can lead to more severe complications if left untreated.
Primary Causes of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus stems from a fungal infection that targets the nail bed, the skin beneath the nail, and the nail itself. The primary culprit responsible for this condition is a fungus known as dermatophyte. Yeasts and molds can also contribute to the development of toenail fungus.
Multiple risk factors heighten the probability of experiencing toenail fungus. These factors encompass:
1. Age: Advancing age changes the nails, making them more fragile and prone to dryness. Consequently, the susceptibility to fungal infections rises.
2. Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes face an elevated risk of toenail fungus due to immune system alterations and circulatory complications associated with the condition.
3. Genetics predisposition: Certain individuals possess a genetic makeup that renders them more susceptible to toenail fungus than others.
4. Poor hygiene: Inadequate foot hygiene practices, such as irregular washing or wearing unwashed socks, heighten the chances of developing toenail fungus.
5. Nail damage: Nails that have experienced trauma or are affected by pre-existing conditions like psoriasis or eczema are more vulnerable to fungal infections.
6. Exposure to public spaces: Walking barefoot in public areas like swimming pools, gyms, and locker rooms increases exposure to fungi, consequently increasing the risk of toenail fungus.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus can be identified by several symptoms, including:
- Discoloration: The nail turns yellow, brown, or black.
- Thickening: The nail starts to become thicker than usual.
- Cracking: The nail shows signs of cracking or splitting, and the edges may become jagged.
- Deformation: Misshapen or distorted the nail
- Odor: Foul odor emits from the nail
- Separation: There is a dis-join between the nail and the nail bed
Treatment for Toenail Fungus
There are several treatment options available for toenail fungus, including:
1. Application of topical antifungal medications: These medications are directly applied to the affected nail and the surrounding skin. They are frequently recommended as the initial treatment for mild cases of toenail fungus.
2. Administration of oral antifungal medications: These medications are taken orally and commonly prescribed for more severe toenail fungus.
3. Laser treatment: This therapeutic approach utilizes a laser to target and eliminate the fungus in the nail bed.
4. Surgical intervention: In advanced cases, surgical procedures may be required to remove the infected nail altogether.
S5. Over-the-counter creams: Mild cases of toenail fungus can be addressed with over-the-counter creams. However, stronger prescription medications like oral antifungal drugs may be necessary for more severe or persistent infections.
6. Exploring natural remedies: Natural remedies, such as tea tree oil, vinegar, and coconut oil, have shown efficacy in treating toenail fungus. These remedies have antifungal properties that combat the infection and facilitate the growth of healthy nails. While natural remedies may have a more extended treatment duration than prescription medications, they generally have a good safety profile and fewer side effects.
How to Know if Toenail Fungus is Dying
The global cause of toenail fungus is widely known to be a fungal infection that initially starts at the edge of the nail as a small yellow or white spot, which can cause the entire nail to become inflexible, thickened, and discolored. Now that you know what toenail is about, you have to proceed with some signs you need to take note of while treating toenail fungus, so you can know when it is dying. Here are some signs to look out for:
1. Nail Color Restoration: An early indication that your toenail fungus is subsiding is the restoration of natural nail color. As the fungal infection recedes, you will notice a gradual fading of the yellow or white discoloration, allowing the original color of your nail to resurface. Over time, the bruise will diminish, becoming less prominent and more inconspicuous.
2. Nail Surface Transformation: An additional indication that your toenail fungus is receding is a transformation in the texture of the affected nail. As the fungal infection subsides, you will observe a noticeable improvement in the smoothness and reduced thickness of the nail. Furthermore, the nail’s surface will become less brittle, facilitating easier clipping or filing.
3. Reduced Odor: When toenails are infected with fungus, an unpleasant odor can often accompany the condition. However, as the fungus diminishes, you should notice a significant decrease in odor, indicating that the toenail fungus is subsiding. The lessening of smell is a positive indication of the fungus dying off.
4. Reduced Pain or Discomfort: When a toenail is infected with fungus, it can cause pain or discomfort, particularly when pressure is applied to the affected area. However, as the fungal infection begins to subside, the pain or discomfort should gradually decrease, and you will likely experience a reduction in sensitivity around the nail. This reduction in pain or discomfort serves as a positive indication that your toenail fungus is undergoing the healing process.
5. Regrowth of Healthy Nails: Witnessing the growth of new, vibrant nails is an encouraging sign that your toenail fungus is receding. As the fungal infection gradually clears up, new nails will emerge, displaying vitality and strength superior to the previously infected ones. Additionally, you may observe that these newly growing nails exhibit a smoother and more uniformly textured surface, indicating positive progress in combating the toenail fungus.
It is crucial to remember that despite the positive indications that your toenail fungus is subsiding, ongoing treatment of the affected area is imperative. Fungal infections can be persistent, necessitating consistent treatment until the entire nail fully regains and regained health. Prematurely discontinuing treatment may lead to a recurrence of the infection, requiring you to initiate the treatment process anew. By diligently adhering to the treatment regimen, you increase the likelihood of complete eradication and prevent the re-emergence of the toenail fungus.
To prevent toenail fungus recurrence, it is crucial to adopt preventive measures that hinder the spread of the infection. These include maintaining proper foot hygiene by regularly cleaning and drying your feet, refraining from walking barefoot in communal spaces and opting for breathable footwear and socks. It is also advisable to refrain from sharing shoes or socks with others and to sanitize any nail clippers or tools used on your feet to minimize the risk of reinfection. Implementing these preventive practices can significantly reduce the chances of toenail fungus returning.
Effectively addressing toenail fungus involves diligent care and treatment, making it crucial to monitor the progress of the healing process. By observing signs of improvement, it’s critical to remain committed to the prescribed treatment regimen until the entire nail has fully grown and appears healthy. Prematurely discontinuing the treatment may result in a resurgence of the infection, as toenail fungus can persist stubbornly. Therefore, maintaining consistent and thorough care is essential to eradicate the condition.
With unwavering vigilance and adherence to appropriate treatment protocols, combined with preventive measures, you can successfully manage toenail fungus and restore the health and beauty of your nails. Remember the importance of seeking professional guidance and advice, as their expertise will contribute to achieving favorable treatment outcomes. Embrace the journey towards healthier nails with confidence and determination.