What is nail fungus?
A fungal nail is a nail which has been infected with a fungus (dermatophyte). As a result, the nail plate from being damaged. First a white / yellow discoloration appears at the tip of the nail, which expands in the course of time towards the nail root / cuticle. This creates a more or less stripe-shaped white / yellow discoloration of the nail (yellow streak). The nail eventualy becomes loose and this leads to increasing fungus under the nail. As a result, damage reaches the bottom of the nail. In a still later stage, the root of the nail will be damaged. If that happens, the damage to the nail is unrecoverable. The nail may change greatly in shape and are very thick.
Fungal nails are common, actually mainly on the feet. Almost always the occurence of athlete’s foot happens as well. Fungal infections of the fingernails are almost non-existent.
What is the cause?
The majority of onychomycosis caused by dermatophytes such as Trichophytonrubrum (70% of the cases) and Trichophyton mentagrophytes (20%). Fungi foot (athlete’s foot) that are not properly treated can spread to the nails. Older people are more likely to suffer more from fungal nails. This is because the nails aren’t as dense, meaning molds can penetrate easily.
What is the treatment?
In the early phase, short-cutting of the nail and the application of an antifungal cream or lotion still be sufficient. For longer existing nail fungus treatment, it is only possible with pills. Nowadays it with a so-called oral treatment with only one week per month for four consecutive months, with terbinafine tablets or itraconazole capsules. The sooner they are treated the better chance of success. A better result is achieved if the loose portion of the nail is removed before the treatment has begun.
After the treatment it takes at least another six months before the nail is fully recovered. The longer the nail fungus remains, the more likely permanent damage to the nail may occur.