What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus - green nails, thick
nails, discolored, black nails!
This condition is marked by a thick
and yellowish toenail, a common condition that destroys and disfigures
the nail. Toenail fungus is a fungal infection in one or more
toenails. Like other fungal infections, toenail fungus starts as a small spot
under the nail, but as it spreads, it causes the nail to
discolor and thicken. Half of all nail disorders are caused by toenail
fungus. It invades and feeds on the protein or Keratin, which makes the
surface of the toenails hard. This fungal infection is rarely found in
children. 48% of Americans have at least one toenail infected with these
fungi by the time they are 70
years of age. Having diabetes also
affects and increases the risk of toenail fungal infection. The big toe,
and the smallest toe are the ones mostly affected. It is somewhat
difficult to treat, and often times it reoccurs after typical treatment. On
the other hand, there are medications to treat toenail fungus and
these can be very dangerous to the body.
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Possible causes of toenail fungus
There is a group of fungus called
Dermatophytes, which is where toenail fungus belongs. Yeast and
molds are also suspected to cause toenail fungus. These type of fungi
exists in warm and moist environments, like shower areas,
locker rooms and swimming pools. It
enters the skin through small cuts, or
small separations between the nail and the nail bed. Studies shows
that most toenail fungus occurs in toenails rather than fingernails
due to the warm and moist insides of socks and shoes, unlike the
fingernails that are always exposed, and are not confined.
There are many factors that may cause
toenail fungus. It includes age, history of family infection or
heredity, smoking, heavy perspiration, among others. In addition, moist or
humid environment may also cause bacteria development which may result
in toenail fungus. People suffering from circulatory problems,
weak immune system, or people
with diabetes are at greater risk of
developing this fungi infection.
Possible symptoms of toenail fungus
Thickened and discolored toenails, and
toenails with brittle edges are some symptoms of nail fungus. Check if
they are yellow, green or brown in color, with flat and distorted
looking nails that may look thick and overgrown. Nails that are
separated from the nail bed, and have an unpleasant odor are also signs. You
may also find debris under the
nail that emits a foul-smelling odor.
Eventually, the nail crumbles, and completely falls off or may become
very thick, making it very painful to wear shoes.
Prevention and Avoidance
Knowing what causes the fungus is
important to preventing and understanding it. Avoiding toenail
fungus can be best accomplished by taking preventive steps and making
sure that the fungus has no chance of appearing there in the first place.
Making the toenails short and clean will help prevent toenail
fungus. This will help to stop the growth or worsening of the growth.
Also, be informed that the equipment in salons may also transmit
the fungus. In order to avoid it, we must be sure that the equipment
they use must be cleaned and ready for their next customer.
The discoloration of the nail is due
to bacteria growth. If this is left untreated, it may lead to more
serious infections and may spread on to the other nails. This condition
is serious for diabetics, but still poses a serious danger to anyone
who does not find proper
treatment. This may cause permanent
If an unpleasant odor and searing pain
occurs in the nail area, then it is definitely a toenail fungus
infection. If symptoms are present, before they worsen, consult your
physician to gain proper treatment that is most effective for the toenail