The technical term for a nail fungus infection is Onychomycosis. Let’s break this word down: ‘Onycho’ means the nail, and ‘mycosis’ means fungus. Onychomycosis makes up half of nail disorders by most estimates and affects around 7% of adults at any one time.
The tiny microscopic fungal organisms take hold in the nail and feed off keratin – the proteins in the nail. Some of the same organisms also cause athlete’s foot where they feed off skin cells.
Once a fungal infection has taken hold and has spread to the nail base it can be hard to get rid of. But if you are able to be persistent you will be able to cure your nails over time. As most infections don’t go away on their own but get worse over time, it’s important to take action as early as possible.
You have a number of choices when it comes to treatment for nail fungus. These include oral prescription medications, topical treatments (some are prescription, others are over the counter and some are natural) and home remedies. It’s important to discuss available treatments with your doctor before making a decision. The general advice is to start a topical treatment before beginning a course of oral medication, as there have been cases of severe side effects with the latter.
Some users have had success using a combination of treatments. For example by applying a topical antifungal treatment (most come in the form of lacquers or cream) in combination with a home remedy or natural remedies such as tea tree oil, beer bath, Dead Sea salt or vinegar soak.
The topical treatment of nail fungus will require daily or weekly applications. Most courses last for many months and will only work if you follow a consistent schedule. Read and follow the instructions closely. Many will ask you to scrape away the top layers of the nail so that the lacquer or cream containing the anti-fungal agent can come into direct contact with the fungus to slow its growth and ultimately destroy it.
Recent years have seen considerable experimentation with different toenail fungus cure methods so there is now a large body of experience to draw from. Some of this research suggests that nail fungus must be treated from the inside, but not with the usually prescribed oral medications that have serious side-effects. Instead, what is suggested is a regime of a natural detox to flush the fungus out of the body, followed by a diet that includes the nutrients required to regenerate damaged organs and repair the immune system, and finally, a foot bath comprising natural ingredients to regenerate the damaged foot tissue and get rid of invading fungus.
Research the condition carefully, look out for new treatments and discuss your options with your doctor.