Not everyone knows what toenail fungus looks like and can first identify this disease and begin treatment. Itching, reddening of the skin, peeling, and cracking are signs of this condition. However, there are other diseases with similar symptoms such as eczema or psoriasis. And even toenails can change their appearance not because of a fungal infection, but because of psychological stress or a number of diseases of the internal organs. The final diagnosis can therefore only be made by a doctor after receiving the test results. And the patient's job is to consult a doctor in a timely manner if warning signs appear.
The main symptoms of mycoses
The characteristic symptoms of mycosis of the feet are peeling and usually a certain shape in the form of rings or plates. Sometimes it is so insignificant that such a situation can last for many months, if not years, and at the same time not even cause much discomfort. At the same time, some people try to fight such manifestations of mycosis on their own. They use folk remedies, such as iodine, vinegar and bright green, and for a while the disease really goes away. To be more precise, it seems so, but in fact this treatment results in the fungus simply freezing on the legs and then multiplying further when a more favorable situation occurs.
If at an early stage such a disease is not completely cured, but only the symptoms are eliminated, then very soon it spreads to the nail and smooth skin. Not to mention that other family members can get the fungal disease.
The degree of lesion in mycosis of the feet depends on many factors. If there are conditions such as microtrauma, various pathologies of the endocrine system, diabetes mellitus, when a person undergoes certain treatment with glucocorticoids or cytostatic drugs, then all of these contribute to the further development of the disease.
One day the period of relative stability ends, and the patient does not see the most attractive picture - this is not only peeling on the skin, but also blisters, weeping cracks on the foot, suppuration. All of these are classic symptoms that appear at later stages in the development of the pathology. At the same time, the initial stage of toenail fungus is visible. Although the nature of microorganisms can only be examined in more detail under a microscope, their activity is much more evident - this is a change in the shape and color of the nails, then their thickening and destruction.
Fungus on nails and its manifestations
The flexibility of the toenails shows up in different ways. It all depends on the stage of the disease and what type of fungus is causing it. Usually the nail should be smooth, pink, and even shiny. When the state of the nails is far from the ideal described, something happens to the body.
Nails grow at a certain rate. When a person is under stress, this rate decreases and the nail becomes thinner and weaker. Then the body returns to normal and the nails return to their original state from the point of growth indicators, but this faint streak on the nail plate remains. And when a person's life is quite nervous, there can be several such streaks. In addition, onychomycosis (and this is the scientific name for nail fungus) is not the only disease that causes a change in the color of the nail plate or its shape. Pathologies such as immune deficiencies, hormonal imbalances and other disorders of the endocrine system lead to exactly the same results. For this reason, it is necessary to conduct an analysis on a case-by-case basis.
What the fungus looks like largely depends on which microorganisms caused onychomycosis. And it can be provoked by different ways. For example, if they are dermatophytes, the fungus will look like a clouding of the nail. This is a manifestation of the initial stage of toenail fungus. After that, yellow spots may appear on the edge of the plate and even in the center. Then longitudinal stripes appear and the nail begins to collapse.
Otherwise yeast problems will arise. In such cases, the nail plate becomes noticeably thinner, turns gray and after a while already deviates from its normal position. This is mainly due to the fact that metabolism deteriorates in injured cells. At the same time, the grooves that appeared on the nail fold finally confirm the diagnosis - yeast.
Mold should be mentioned separately. Usually it only affects the nail plate, making it cloudy and discolored. It can be light yellow, greenish, brown, and even black.
The peculiarity of these mushrooms is that they only cause superficial damage and do not penetrate deep inside.
It is clear that the diagnosis can only be made by the attending physician, who takes into account all the symptoms and conducts tests. Self-treatment without a doctor's visit is fraught with very unpleasant consequences.
Stages and types of onychomycosis
Given the stages of onychomycosis, many confuse it with the varieties of this disease, of which there are three. This is normotrophic, hypertrophic, and atrophic onychomycosis.
For example, with normotrophic onychomycosis, the color of the nail changes, stripes and spots may appear on it, but its thickness and luster remain normal. Many people think that this is a nail fungus, the initial stage of which will develop into a more serious pathology, but in fact the fungus responds well to treatment in such situations.
With hypotrophic onychomycosis, the color of the nail changes, its shine is lost, the nail itself thickens and its deformation occurs, in some cases even destroyed at the edges. The onycholytic species is often referred to as atrophic. This is not the same toenail fungus, the initial stage of which is manifested in cracks and discoloration. Here the treatment will be different because the affected part of the plate will atrophy.
Treatment of mycosis of the feet and nails
The first thing to do with this disease is to see a doctor who will help you choose a drug that will meet the following requirements:
- high antifungal activity, which allows you to fight different types of infectious agents;
- a sufficiently high concentration of the active ingredient both in the preparation itself and in the surface layers of the skin after its application;
- complex antifungal and antibacterial therapy;
- no contraindications and side effects, including allergic reactions;
- User friendliness.
Given these requirements, it is not surprising that the drug selection stage is so important. As a rule, in the absence of complications, drugs based on substances such as ciclopirox and naftifine are used. They are made in the form of ointments, less often in the form of tablets. At a more severe stage of mycosis, it is recommended to treat it with drugs based on terbinafine and fluconazole.
Tablets should be taken when ointments and creams for external use did not show any effect. The dosage of the tablets should be discussed with the attending physician. Typically, all of these remedies are very powerful, so the duration of treatment is around 7-10 days, although there are drugs that can be taken for as long as 3-4 weeks.
The attending physician will prescribe such therapy, taking into account the other drugs that the patient will take. These drugs can cause vomiting or dizziness. This is considered valid. Generics are milder than the original ones, but the effects are small.
Previously, surgical removal of the affected tissue was practiced in advanced cases. This is especially true of the nails. Now they use a drill bit like in a dental office. Even in the most advanced cases, cutting off almost all of the nails takes about half an hour. And if the problem only occurs on one affected nail, it will only take about 5 minutes.
No additional precautions need to be taken after the procedure. This procedure does not cause painful sensations, you can lead a normal lifestyle, jogging in the morning. It is only necessary to ensure that the affected areas of the skin are not injured.
Treatment of nails with such a preparation is not enough, but it must be repeated at least 3-4 weeks after the first treatment if the nails grow a little. In general, you have to be prepared for the fact that this process is tedious, can take a month, and if things have gone far enough then several months. For example, there are cases when a patient performs nail treatment with such a tool every two to three weeks for the first three to four months, and then takes medication for several months.
Are Folk Remedies Effective?
Any doctor will say that traditional medicine recipes for such a disease are not effective, and even harmful. First, neither vinegar, herbs, or even honey, despite its antiseptic agents, have virtually no effect on the fungus. Yes, you can hear from friends that some of these recipes helped get rid of itching or cracking. Well then these signs just weren't attributed to the mushroom. The same psoriasis or eczema have similar symptoms and are perfectly treated using the folk methods mentioned above.
Second, these drugs help get rid of the signs of the fungus, that is, they mask it for a while, and this is enough for everyone in the family to get infected.
However, the vinegar mentioned above is effective for other purposes - it can be used to wash bedclothes and shoes to prevent re-infestation of the fungus. The only shoes that are not washed but thrown away are slippers because they cannot be disinfected. Vinegar can also be used to disinfect the bathtub.