Not everyone knows what toenail fungus looks like, and can initially identify this disease and begin treatment. Itching, skin redness, 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 due to a fungal infection, but due to psychological stress or a number of diseases of the internal organs. So the final diagnosis can only be made by a doctor after receiving 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 mycosis of the feet are peeling, and most often of 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 do 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 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 legs 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 mycosis of the feet depends on many factors. If there are prerequisites such as microtrauma, various pathologies of the endocrine system, diabetes mellitus, if a person undergoes certain treatment with glucocorticoids or cytostatics, then all this contributes to the further development of the disease.
Someday the period of relative stability ends, and the patient sees not the most attractive picture - this is not just peeling on the skin, but also bubbles, weeping cracks on the foot, suppuration. All these are classic symptoms that are present at the later stages of the development of pathology. 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 nails, then their thickening and destruction.
Fungus on the nails and its manifestations
Flexibility of toenails manifests itself in different ways. It all depends on the stage of the disease and on 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 rather nervous, then there may be several such stripes. 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 imbalances and other endocrine system disorders lead to exactly the same results. That is why 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 several types. For example, if we are talking about dermatophytes, then the fungus looks just like a clouding of the nail. 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 its middle. Then longitudinal stripes appear, and the nail begins to collapse.
Otherwise, problems caused by yeast appear. In such cases, the nail plate becomes noticeably thinner, acquires a grayish tint, and after some time already departs from its normal position. This is largely due to the fact that metabolism deteriorates in injured cells. At the same time, the appeared grooves on the nail fold finally confirm the diagnosis - yeast fungus.
Mold should be mentioned separately. Usually it affects only the nail plate, causing it to become cloudy and discolored; it can be light yellow, greenish, brown and even black.
The peculiarity of these fungi is that they cause only superficial damage and do not penetrate deeply inside.
It is clear that the diagnosis can only be made by the attending physician, who will consider all the symptoms and carry out 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 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 shine remain normal. Many people think that this is a nail fungus, the initial stage of which is about 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 shine is lost, the nail itself thickens and its deformation occurs, in some cases even destruction along the edges. The onycholytic species is often called atrophic. This is not the same toenail fungus, the initial stage of which is expressed in cracks and discoloration, here the treatment will be different, since the affected part of the plate atrophies.
Treatment of mycosis of feet and nails
The first thing to do with this disease is to see a doctor who will help you choose a drug that meets the following requirements:
- high antifungal activity, which allows you to fight different types of infectious agents;
- a sufficiently 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 demands, 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 produced in the form of ointments, less often in the form of tablets. At a more serious stage of mycosis, it is recommended to treat it with drugs based on terbinafine and fluconazole.
Tablets should be taken if ointments and creams for external use did not give an effect. The dosage of the 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 drugs that can be taken even for 3-4 weeks.
The attending physician prescribes such therapy, taking into account what other medications the patient will take. These drugs can have the side effect of vomiting or dizziness. This is considered valid. Generic drugs are milder than the original ones, but the effect of them is small.
Previously, in advanced cases, surgical removal of the affected tissue was practiced. This was especially true of the nails. Now they use a drill like the one used in dental offices. Even in the most advanced cases, cutting off almost all nails will take about half an hour. And if the problem is only in one affected nail, then it will take only about 5 minutes.
No additional precautions need to be taken after the procedure. This procedure does not cause any painful sensations, you can lead a usual lifestyle, do morning jogging. It is only important to ensure that the affected areas of the skin are not injured.
One treatment of nails with such a preparation is not enough, all the same it will need to be repeated at least once more, 3-4 weeks after the first treatment, when the nails grow a little. In general, you need to tune in to the fact that this process is long, it can take a month, and if things have gone far enough, then several months. For example, there are cases when for the first 3-4 months a patient treats nails with such a tool every 2-3 weeks, and then takes drugs 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. Firstly, neither vinegar, nor herbs, nor even honey, despite its antiseptic agents, practically does not affect the fungus. Yes, you can hear from friends that some of these recipes helped to get rid of itching or cracks. Well, then these signs were simply not attributable to the fungus. The same psoriasis or eczema have similar symptoms and are perfectly treated with the above folk methods.
Secondly, these medicines help to eliminate the signs of the fungus, that is, they mask it for a while, and this 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 bedding and shoes to prevent re-infestation of the fungus. The only shoes that are not washed and thrown away immediately are house slippers, because they cannot be disinfected. Vinegar can also be used to disinfect the bathtub.