Not everyone knows what toenail fungus looks like, and can initially identify the disease and begin treatment. Itching, redness of the skin, peeling and cracking are all 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. So, the final diagnosis can be made by a doctor only after he has received the test results. And the patient's task is to consult a doctor in time if warning signs appear.
The main symptoms of mycoses
The characteristic symptoms of foot mycosis are peeling, and most often of a certain shape in the form of rings or plaques. Sometimes it is so insignificant that such a situation can last for many months, if not years, and at the same time does not even cause much concern. At the same time, some people try to fight such manifestations of mycosis themselves. They use folk remedies like iodine, vinegar and brilliant green, and for a while, the disease really disappears. More precisely, it seems so, but in fact this treatment leads to the fact that the fungus on the feet simply freezes, and then continues to multiply when a more favorable situation occurs.
Moreover, if at an early stage such a disease is not completely cured, but only the symptoms are removed, then very soon it will spread to the nail and smooth skin. Not to mention, other family members can get the fungal disease.
The degree of lesion in foot mycosis depends on many factors. If there are prerequisites such as microtrauma, various pathologies of the endocrine system, diabetes mellitus, if a person undergoes a certain treatment with glucocorticoids or cytostatics, then all this contributes 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 - it is not only peeling on the skin, but also blisters, tears, cracks in the legs, suppuration. All of these are classic symptoms that are present in the later stages of pathology development. At the same time, the initial stage of toenail fungus is visible. Although the type of microorganisms can be examined in more detail only under a microscope, their activity is much more noticeable - this is a change in the shape and color of the nails, then their thickening and destruction.
Fungus on the nails and its manifestations
The flexibility of fingernails manifests itself in different ways. It all depends on the stage of the disease and what kind of fungus is the cause. Normally, the nail should be smooth, pink and even shiny. If the condition of the nails is far from the described ideal, then something is happening 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 weak strip on the nail plate still remains. And if a person's life is quite nervous, then there may be some such lines. In addition, onychomycosis (and this is the scientific name for nail fungus) is not the only disease that leads to a change in the color of the nail plate or its shape. Pathologies such as immune failures, hormonal imbalance and other disorders of the endocrine system lead to the same results. This is why it is necessary to do a case-by-case analysis.
How the fungus looks mainly depends on the microorganisms that cause onychomycosis. And can be provoked by several types. For example, if we are talking about dermatophytes, then the fungus looks exactly like a nail blur. This is a manifestation of the initial stage of toenail fungus. After that, yellow spots may appear along the edge of the plate and even in the middle of it. Then longitudinal lines appear, and the nail begins to collapse.
Otherwise, problems caused by yeast appear. In such cases, the nail plate becomes noticeably thinner, takes on a gray tinge and after a while already leaves its normal position. This is mainly due to the fact that metabolism deteriorates in damaged cells. At the same time, the grooves appearing on the nail fold finally confirm the diagnosis - yeast fungus.
Mold should be mentioned separately. It usually only touches the nail plate, causing it to become cloudy and whitening; can be pale yellow, green, brown and even black.
The peculiarity of these fungi is that they cause only superficial damage and do not penetrate deep inside.
It is clear that the diagnosis can only be made by the attending physician, who will take into account all the symptoms and perform tests. Self-treatment without going to a doctor is fraught with very unpleasant consequences.
Stages and types of onychomycosis
Considering the stages of onychomycosis, many confuse them with the types of this disease, of which there are three. This is normotrophic, hypertrophic and atrophic onychomycosis.
For example, with normotrophic onychomycosis, the color of the nails changes, streaks and spots may appear on it, but its thickness and shine remain normal. Many people think that this is a nail fungus, the initial stage of which is ready to develop into a more serious pathology, but in fact the fungus in such situations responds well to treatment.
With hypotrophic onychomycosis, the color of the nail changes, its luster is lost, the nail itself thickens and its deformation occurs, in some cases even destruction along the edges. Onycholytic types are often called atrophic. This is not the same toenail fungus, the initial stage of which is expressed in cracks and stain, here the treatment will be different, as the affected part of the plaque atrophies.
Treatment of mycosis of the feet and nails
The first thing you need to do with this disease is to see a doctor who will help you choose a medicine that meets the following requirements:
- high antifungal activity, which allows you to fight various types of infectious agents;
- a fairly high concentration of the active substance 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;
- ease of use.
Given these requirements, it is not surprising that the drug selection phase is so important. As a rule, in the absence of complications, drugs based on substances such as ciclopirox and naftifine are used. They are produced in the form of oils, less often in the form of tablets. In a more serious stage of mycosis, its treatment with terbinafine and fluconazole-based drugs is recommended.
Tablets should be taken if oils and creams for external use have not given effect. The dosage of tablets should be checked with the attending physician. As a rule, all these are quite strong remedies, so the course of treatment is about 7-10 days, although there are medications that can be taken for as little as 3-4 weeks.
The attending physician prescribes such therapy, taking into account what other medications the patient will be taking. These medications can have the side effect of vomiting or dizziness. This is considered valid. Generic drugs are milder than the original ones, but their effect is small.
Previously, in advanced cases, surgical removal of the affected tissue was practiced. This was especially true for nails. Now they use a drill like the one used in dental offices. Even in the most advanced cases, cutting almost all nails will take about half an hour. And if the problem is only on one affected nail, then it will only take about 5 minutes.
There is no need to take any additional precautions after the procedure. This procedure does not cause painful sensations, you can make a normal lifestyle, do jogging in the morning. It is only important to ensure that the affected areas of the skin are not injured.
A nail treatment with such a preparation is not enough, the same will have to be repeated at least once more, 3-4 weeks after the first treatment, when the nails grow a little. In general, you should agree on the fact that this process is long, it can take a month, and if things have gone far enough, then a few months. For example, there are cases when for the first 3-4 months a patient performs nail treatment with such a tool every 2-3 weeks, and then takes medication for several months.
Are folk remedies effective?
Any doctor means that traditional medicine prescriptions for such a disease are not effective and even harmful. First, neither vinegar, nor herbs, nor even honey, despite its antiseptic agents, practically do not affect the fungus. Yes, you can hear from friends that some of these recipes helped to get rid of itching or cracking. Well, then these signs are simply not attributed to fungi. The same psoriasis or eczema have similar symptoms and are perfectly treated with the above popular methods.
Second, these medications help eliminate the signs of the fungus, that is, they mask it for a while, and that is enough for everyone in the family to become infected.
However, the vinegar mentioned above will be effective for other purposes - it can be used to wash the bed and shoes to prevent re-infection of the fungus. The only shoes that are not washed but thrown away are house slippers because they cannot be disinfected. Vinegar can also be used to disinfect the bathtub.