Onychomycosis

Have you ever gone over someone’s house and been ashamed to take off your shoes? Ever gone to the beach and buried your feet in the sand? Do you wear closed toed shoes because you are ashamed of toenails? Don’t worry, you are not alone. This is what millions of Americans experience. If you have dry, yellow, brittle, and discolored toenails, you may have Onychomycosis, better known as fungus nail. With Onychomycosis, the nail has been penetrated by bacteria or some type of fungi. In this article we will discuss Onychomycosis and treatment options.

How would you know if you had onychomycosis? Your podiatrist will be able to diagnose your condition. In order to do so, debridement of the nail plate saving the most proximal section is advised. Three tests can be performed on the nail clippings. The most accurate diagnostic test of onychomycosis is the PAS test. PAS is very specific and less operator dependent. Onychomycosis usually doesn’t affect children and is increasingly common as one gets older.

In order to manage Onychomycosis, your podiatrist can suggest three treatment options; debridement of the nail, oral therapy, and topical therapy. Debridement of the nail is going to give the patient satisfaction temporarily because the fungus nail can and will possibly grow back. Oral therapy requires the patient to follow a pill regimen and may have drug reactions with other medications that a patient is taking. Oral medications may also irritate your liver. Topical therapies cause no harm to the patient. They can be taken with other medications without harm to the liver.

There are many non-prescription treatments for onychomycosis. Natural oils have been shown to be effective in its control. Camphor, menthol, eucalyptus oil, cedar leaf, nutmeg oil, thymol, clove, and tea tree oil have all been used. The way these over the counter products work is that they kill fungus on the surface of the nail where the discoloration, brittleness, and dryness occur. Many podiatrists prescribe topical products which contain the essential ingredients. These ingredients not only clear up the current fungus on the nail but promote healthy nail growth. One such topical anti-fungal is NailEsse. NailEsse can be used on both hands and feet. Effective relief requires daily application on the hands for 6-8 months and 8-12 month period for toenails. The current fungus on the nail will be killed and the new nail that grows will be fungus-free. This product should be available at your local podiatrist office.

The key to treating fungus nail is to make sure that you visit your podiatrist so you can accurately be diagnosed and treated. Just because you have an abnormal nail, it may not necessarily be onychomycosis. Self-diagnosis and home remedies are not recommended. Only your podiatrist or medical practitioner can provide qualified diagnosis and treatment. The correct combination of oils in topical anti-fungals is key to effective treatment.