How to treat toenail fungus

Onychomycosis is a condition where a toenail becomes infected by a type of fungus. It is a very common infection that affects around six percent of people on average. Interestingly, in recent years, several studies have suggested that the prevalence of the condition is increasing.

Research has highlighted that the increasing popularity of tight shoes and use of communal locker rooms is helping to spread the condition. There are also more people who are immunosuppressed today and this can make them more susceptible to the fungus.

It is estimated that over 70 percent of cases are caused by dermatophytes. This is significantly higher than the second most common cause of the infection, yeast. The most obvious symptom of the disease is that the nail turns yellow or brown and it is possible to see how the infection spreads around the nail overtime. The body responds to this infection by thickening the nail and the deterioration of the condition can often be quick.

Part of the condition is also that the nail turns from a generally transparent appearance, to being opaque. In all this leads to a larger, thicker nail, that is a different colour and is no longer see through. The condition does not always spread over the entire nail and there may just be yellow patches on parts of it, but these are still signs of infection, and it could spread further.

If you go to the doctor with this condition, then they will conduct an examination of the nail using potassium hydroxide. A biopsy of the infected area will be taken and the doctor will examine the fungal culture which will be grown.

This will be able to detect the type of fungus you have and an appropriate course of treatment will be able to be worked out. The most common way to treat this condition is using a topical antifungal, which is a simple and painless treatment to apply.