Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Nail fungus

What is nail fungus?

Sources of nail fungus infection

Nail fungus risk factors

Nail fungus diagnosis

Nail fungus treatment

References

What is nail fungus?

A nail fungus infection (onychomycosis) can begin as a white, yellow or brown spot under the tip of a fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection spreads deeper into the nail, it can show yellow, grey, brown or black discolouration. The nail can distort, thicken and develop a soft, crumbling, uneven tip. It looks horrible.

Nail fungus affects 6-8% of adult population. It most commonly affects people older than 60 years, whose circulation and immune system are not as effective as those of younger people, lessening the nail's ability to defend itself against fungal invasion.

Nail fungus can be caused by a fungus or mould infection, including candida which most commonly affects nails that are frequently immersed in water.

Sources of nail fungus infection

Nail fungus risk factors (1)

Nail fungus diagnosis

Similar-looking ugly nails can also be caused by nail psoriasis, lichen planus, contact dermatitis, trauma, nail bed tumour or yellow nail syndrome. It may be necessary to provide some nail scrapings or clippings to a pathology laboratory to get the correct diagnosis.

Nail fungus treatment

Treatment of nail fungus is challenging because the infection is embedded within the nail and is difficult to reach. Toe nails grow at about half the speed of finger nails. Full removal of symptoms and re-growth of the nail may take a year or more.

When healing a nail fungus, try to wear open shoes or sandals, or no shoes. Keep your feet clean and dry.

Do not pick at the skin of a fungal infection with your fingers - it keeps the area infected or makes it spread faster.

References

1. Chi C.C., Wang S.H., Chou M.C. The causative pathogens of onychomycosis in southern Taiwan. 2005. Mycoses 48 (6): 413-20.

2. Gupta A., Konnikov N., MacDonald P., Rich P., Rodger N., Edmonds M., McManus R., Summerbell R. Prevalence and epidemiology of toenail onychomycosis in diabetic subjects: A multicentre survey. 1998. The British journal of dermatology 139 (4): 665-671.

3. Gupta A., Lynde C., Jain H., Sibbald R., Elewski B., Daniel C, Watteel G., Summerbell R. A higher prevalence of onychomycosis in psoriatics compared with non-psoriatics: A multicentre study. 1997. The British journal of dermatology 136 (5): 786-789.