Toenail fungus, is a common fungal infection of the feet. Over 30 percent of all Americans suffer from toenail fungus at some point in their lives, usually after puberty. Fungi thrive in warm, dark, and damp environments where there is little light or air, so people often get toenail fungus after walking barefoot on shower floors or in locker rooms, or after continually wearing sweaty socks. The fungi break down, and then live off, the skin cells of the feet. They are contagious and can spread quickly from person to person, especially in public swimming-pool areas or locker rooms. Fungi take a stronger hold on people whose beneficial intestinal flora are out of balance.
Toenail fungus frequently begins between the third and fourth toe webs, then spreads to the arches and soles of the feet. There can be small ulcers between the toes. The fungus causes redness, scaling, blistering, burning, and itching of the feet. It can also lead to a secondary bacterial infection. If the toenails are affected, there can be crumbling, thickening, and discoloration of the nails.
In mild cases, toenail fungus can usually be treated pretty well at home. However, if a secondary bacterial infection develops, if the nails are affected, if the case is chronic and severe, or if the affected individual has a compromised immune system, a doctor’s expertise will be necessary. Your doctor can confirm the diagnosis of toenail fungus by looking at some loose scales of skin under a microscope and culturing skin scrapings for fungi.
Cure for toenail fungus using conventional treatment
Over-the-counter clotrimazole (Lotrimin), undecylenic acid (in Desenex and other products), and miconazole (Micatin, Zeasorb-AF) cream or powder is effective for early, mild cases of toenail fungus.
Prescription creams containing as ketoconazole (Nizoral), miconazole (Monistat-Derm), itraconazole (Sporanox), or fluconazole (Diflucan) are very effective, although expensive. A convenient terbinafine (Lamisil) spray has also been developed. More recently, oxiconazole (Oxistat) cream has been found to be safe for children as young as one month of age. This medication has convenient once-a-day dosing.
Recurrences can be prevented by washing the feet with selenium sulfide (Excel, Selsun) or ketoconazole (Nizoral) shampoo several times a week.
Oral griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Grifulvin, Grisactin, Gris-PEG) is used for more severe, resistant cases that do not respond to topical treatments. This medication can cause gastrointestinal upset and, in rare cases, liver toxicity, so caution needs to be used. However, oral antifungals are necessary if the toenails are involved.
Oral ketaconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fluconazole (Di-flu can), and terbinafine (Lamisil) are the newest oral drugs in the dermatologist’s arsenal against fungal infections. They are quite expensive, but oral treatment is necessary if the toenails are involved.
If your feet sweat a lot, use medications such as aluminum chloride, or Drysol, on your soles to decrease sweating. This will make you less susceptible to getting toenail fungus.
Toenail fungus home remedy dietary cures
Eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables.
Include in your diet plenty of yogurt and other acidophilus-containing foods.
Avoid coffee, cola, tea, and chocolate. These foods increase alkalinity of the skin, making it more desirable for fungi.
Avoid sugary foods, including honey and fruit juices. Fungi thrive on sugar.
Avoid yeasty foods such as beer and breads made with yeast.
Nutritional Supplements for toenail fungus natural cure
Acidophilus supplements replenish the « friendly » bacteria that inhibit pathogens such as fungi. Take 1 teaspoon of acidophilus powder or two capsules on an empty stomach twice a day.
Take a multivitamin that includes the B vitamins and vitamins A and E daily.
Vitamin C increases immunity against fungi. Take 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C with bioflavonoids daily.
Zinc increases immunity, inhibits fungi, and helps to heal skin tissue. Take 50 milligrams daily, with food.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a good source of sulfur, which is believed to fight fungi. It is now available in cream or spray form to apply topically to affected areas.