What Is Toe Fungus?

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Many people have become victims of toe fungus. It occurs in the nails of our toes making the nails look ugly. Many women who have this problem tend to cover it up with nail polish. There are treatments that can get rid of this fungus within the nail.

Nail Fungus

Nail fungus isn't harmful. It can be an eye sore for those who have it. It causes nails on the toes to become discolored, yellowish and to thicken. Nail fungus is caused by an infection of fungi. It develops on nails that are always exposed to moist, dark places like your toe nails in a sweaty shoe.

Symptoms

There are signs to look for to determine if you have nail fungus. One sign to look for is the thickening of the nails as the fungus builds up underneath. The nails may also become discolored, many turning yellow or a brownish color. The nails will also become brittle or ragged. Also, the shape of the nail may become distorted. A more serious condition called onycholysis, can cause a toe nail to separate from the bed of the nail. When this happens a person may experience pain and a slight foul odor coming from the nail.

Causes

Toe nail fungus is caused by microscopic fungi. These fungi thrive in warm, dark and moist places. People who sweat when wearing shoes can develop this fungus. It also thrives in swimming pools and showers. They attack the toe through tiny cuts invisible to the eye. It also happens when the nail separates from the nail bed slightly. Another cause is poor circulation to the toes. This makes it harder for our immune systems to detect the fungus and to get rid of it.

Treatment

There are a number of treatments for nail fungus. People may use over-the-counter treatments but these may not be very effective. Also, there are oral medications that can be taken. They work from the inside out to treat nail fungus. There are three oral medications to treat nail fungus. These medications are Lamisil, Sporanox, and Diflucan. There are topical medications that may be used but they normally don't work unless used in conjunction with the oral medications. A home remedy that many have used to treat the early stages of nail fungus is Vick's Vapor Rub. Vicks works because there is an active ingredient called Thymol. Thymol is used to wipe out mold. Mold is a type of fungus as well. You use Vick's twice a day. Rub it on the infected nail in the morning and again at night.

Prevention/Solution

Most people who get toenail fungus could have prevented it. One way to prevent toenail fungus is to wear synthetic socks. This may keep moisture away from the toes. Also, keep your nails short, clean and dry. When out, don't go bare foot in public places. Women should not cover their infected nails with polish. This can keep moisture trapped within the toe making the problem worse.

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