Among the diseases of the toenails, a special place belongs to onychomycosis, because this pathology affects every 10 inhabitants of the planet. Treating toenail fungus is a rather time consuming process, as therapy often begins when the disease is in an advanced stage. According to research data, the disease more often affects men aged 40-45, and after 60, the risk of developing pathology increases 3-4 times. Timely treatment will help solve the problem.
Reasons for the development of pathology
Very rarely, a fungal infection affects only the nail plate. Most often, the inflammatory process spreads to the toes and feet. The disease can be caused by three types of fungi: yeast, mold and dermatophytes. The latter most often cause disease. The reasons for the development of infection can be:
- Elderly patients usually suffer from various chronic diseases, do not have the opportunity to conduct thorough foot hygiene, have a weakened immune system, slowed blood circulation. The combination of these factors often leads to fungal infections.
- Patients with diabetes mellitus are at risk because they have concomitant vascular pathologies, especially small capillaries on the feet. A common complication of these disorders is the appearance of small ulcers on the surface of which fungi develop rapidly.
- Frequent microtrauma of the nail plate during cutting or bruising. Everyone faces this problem from time to time. As a rule, for this reason, a fungus occurs on the toenail, the treatment of which is complicated, because it is an area that is more often injured than others and has a denser structure.
- Systemic and chronic diseases that affect the vascular system: varicose veins, scleroderma, lupus erythematosus. Such diseases are most often accompanied by a violation of the blood supply to the tissues, which negatively affects the protective barrier and causes the appearance of fungi.
- If the patient already suffers from a fungal infection of any part of the body, the risk of nail plate infection increases several times.
- Weakening of the immune system and defense makes a person susceptible to any type of pathogenic microorganisms. It is enough to catch a cold and the pathological process begins.
- Fans of public saunas and baths are 4 times more likely to suffer from onychomycosis, because the hygiene of rooms, swimming pools and showers is not always at the appropriate level.
The disease belongs to the group of infectious. You can be infected by a sick person, domestic animals, as well as contact with soil, water and plants infected with pathogens.
Common forms of onychomycosis
Very often the treatment of nail mycosis depends on the form of the pathological process. The most common are the following:
- The distal-lateral form is considered the initial stage of the disease. It mainly affects the free or lateral edge of the nail plate, the whole area of the nail gradually suffers. As a rule, this form of the fungus turns into another, more complex one.
- The superficial white type of pathology is most commonly caused by mold. In the early stages, the nail plate begins to whiten, it can peel off and fall off. This form most often occurs in people whose professional activity is associated with prolonged hand contact with water. As a result, the nail softens and lesions appear. This variety is observed in case of incomplete destruction of the infection.
- It is very rare to find a proximal shape that causes thickening of the nails on the feet. A feature of this type of disease is that the lesion starts from the root of the nail, next to the cuticle. Therefore, patients with this form rarely go to the doctor in the early stages. As the pathology progresses, even a healthy nail can peel off.
- The most dangerous form is total dystrophy. The pathology becomes a consequence of the lack of treatment of one of the previous forms. It is characterized by slow progress over the years. If the process develops rapidly, they indicate the presence of concomitant systemic disease. It is observed mainly in elderly patients.
Any form requires qualified treatment. In its absence, the infection penetrates deeper, which does not make the fight harder.
Symptoms of a pathological condition
The first signs of onychomycosis are similar to other diseases of the toenails. Damage to the structure of the nail can be manifested by its thickening or thinning. Atrophic processes indicate the presence of serious concomitant pathologies. The disease is manifested by the following symptoms:
- Even discoloration of the nail plate, which depends on the type of pathogen. Usually the plate turns yellow.
- The surface becomes rough and porous. As it progresses, this symptom worsens.
- White spots may appear under the nail, which appear as a result of its peeling at the base.
- Gradual deposition of the structure starting from the free edge.
- There is a loss of shine associated with the separation of a thin top layer or skin, the nail looks unnatural.
- Slowly peel the whole plate. As a rule, the process starts from the growth zone.
- Appearance on the surface of crumbs, which are peeled nail surfaces.
- Complete destruction of the slab, starting from the free edge.
Accompanying signs are changes in the skin around the affected area: peeling of the epidermis of the feet, toes, intense formation of warts. Any of the symptoms requires qualified medical attention.
Basic diagnostic methods
During the initial examination, the doctor should distinguish onychomycosis from other dermatological diseases (psoriasis, keratoderma) that have similar clinical manifestations. Based on these data, a preliminary diagnosis is made, which can only be confirmed by more precise examination methods.
A sample of the affected nail is then taken to determine the presence of a fungal infection in its structure. The final conclusion about why nail destruction occurs and what type of fungus caused the process can be made using a culture study. During the procedure, a specific type of fungus that caused the disease is identified. After this study, a final diagnosis is made. With the correct determination of the type of pathogen, the specialist selects the appropriate treatment regimen to deal with the disease as quickly as possible.
Drug therapy scheme
Drug therapy aims to destroy the pathogen in the lesion and throughout the body, if the disease is in an advanced stage. Conservative therapy includes local and systemic treatment.
Mild degree of fungal pathology, when small changes are observed on the plate without disturbing the structure and accompanying symptoms, is treated with local drugs:
- Preparations from the azole group aim to slow down the growth and development of pathogens. Medications are available in the form of creams, ointments and solutions. Apply morning and evening until symptoms completely disappear. After that, it is recommended to use the medicine for another 5-7 days in order to consolidate the result and exclude recurrence.
- Agents that destroy fungal cells, which prevents their further development. The standard scheme assumes the use of funds twice a day.
- Hydroxypyridone derivatives prevent the reproduction of pathogens. Most often, the funds are prescribed in the form of cream or nail polish, which is used in the morning and evening.
- Salicylic and sulfur ointment belong to the group of keratolytics. The use of the product helps to soften the dead tissue so that the fungi cannot develop further due to lack of nutrition. Gradually, the ointment helps the damaged nail to peel. The number of applications per day depends on the degree of damage to the board.
- To prevent the addition of bacterial infection, an alcoholic infusion of iodine in the form of compresses is used.
- Multivitamin complexes are prescribed to strengthen the immune system. This helps the body cope with the symptoms of onychomycosis faster.
If the surrounding tissues are involved in the pathological process, there is no effect of local treatment and complete destruction of the nail plate is observed, the use of systemic drugs is indicated.
The duration of treatment and dosage is determined only by the doctor. It is unacceptable to use medications on your own because there is a high risk of developing side effects.
Alternative ways to solve the problem
In some cases, surgical removal of the affected nail is indicated. This method is almost never used in modern medical practice. The indication for the procedure may be the addition of a bacterial infection and the complete absence of a visible effect from the use of local and systemic drugs. However, taking the pill does not stop after removing the foci of inflammation.
An alternative to surgery is to dissolve the plate with special solutions that encourage tissue death layer by layer and help the affected plate to separate safely. This method is applied at home. You should not start the procedure without consulting an expert.
To date, the effectiveness of laser therapy has been proven in the treatment of onychomycosis. The procedure consists of exposing the affected area to laser beams that penetrate deep into the structure and destroy pathogens. The principle of action is similar to the principle of local antifungal drugs. Such treatment is indicated for intolerance to such agents. A prerequisite for laser therapy is its combination with tablets.
Recipes of traditional medicine
Onychomycosis was known to ancient healers, so there are many folk remedies that successfully deal with the signs of pathology. The most effective are medicinal baths with the addition of medicinal herbs, as well as home solutions for local use:
- An effective remedy is a bath with the addition of a decoction of celandine. The soup must be prepared from 200 g of chopped raw materials and 2 liters of water. Cook the mixture for 20 minutes, cool to a comfortable temperature. The duration of the procedure is 20-30 minutes, repeat daily until the symptoms disappear.
- Consecutive baths are allowed daily for 2 weeks. To prepare the soup you will need 2 liters of water and 40 g of dry grass, the mixture is boiled for 15 minutes and is ready for use after 20 minutes of infusion. The session lasts 30 minutes.
- For the treatment of the affected nail it is necessary to prepare an infusion of 100 ml of medical alcohol and 10 g of fresh lilac flowers. The drug should be insisted for 7-8 days. After that, the solution is used to treat inflammatory zones in the morning and evening until complete recovery.
Alternative medicine is recommended to be used in combination with medications and only after a doctor's approval. It should be understood that fungi are not only a cosmetic defect, but also a serious blow to the whole body. In the absence of treatment, a bacterial infection occurs, which significantly complicates therapy. It is recommended to consult a specialist at the first signs of illness.