Toenail fungus ranges in severity, but there are ways to treat it, including homeopathic remedies, topical treatments or a prescription from the doctor. Although some treatments cause various side effects, there are antifungal products available without a prescription that promise effective results with little to no side effects in 90 days. However, this may be an overstatement and most over-the-counter treatments take considerably longer than 90 days to treat toenail fungus. The treatments must also be used continuously to be effective.
What is Toenail Fungus?
The medical term for toenail fungus is Onychomycosis. Toenail fungus is an infection caused by fungi or a microorganism called dermatophyte, which also leads to athlete's foot. According to the Nail Fungus Cure Organization, this fungi or dermatophyte lives on keratin, a protein toenails are made of. Dermatophytes especially thrive in dark, moist environments like sweaty feet and shoes. The Nail Fungus Cure Organization states that although 20 per cent of the American population suffers from toenail fungus, smoking also increases the risk of contracting toenail fungus because it restricts circulation in the feet.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
Determining if symptoms of toenail fungus exist is easy. According to Nail Fungus Cure, the symptoms include brittle or thickened toenails that have a foul odour. Toenail fungus is also easily spotted by checking for dull nail colour with white or yellow spots. In more severe cases, expect to see brown or black spots or streaks on the toenails.
Treatments for Toenail Fungus
While prescription treatments like Lamisil or Sporanox are effective, the Mayo Clinic states that they may cause serious side effects ranging from skin rashes to liver damage. The Nail Fungus Cure Organization states that topical treatments like Zetaclear and Funginix are the most effective treatments with little to no side effects and are available without a prescription. Zetaclear is a two-part treatment that fights toenail fungus both internally and externally. Funginix, formerly known as Fungisil, is a topical solution that starts working immediately with results seen in two weeks. However, these topical treatments must be used continually until the new fungus-free nails are completely grown out.
The Nail Fungus Cure Organization states that while most topical treatments don't effectively target stubborn nail fungus, Zetaclear does both internally and externally with it's two part system. Zetaclear is administered under the tongue with an oral spray to attack fungus internally and with a topical solution to attack fungus externally. Funginix, contains the active ingredient undecylenic acid to attack fungus under the nail bed and cuticle. Unlike prescription antifungal medications, these topical solutions are inexpensive and do not require a prescription from the doctor. The Mayo Clinic suggests using topical solutions in conjunction with over-the-counter foot lotions containing urea to help speed up absorption.
According to the Mayo Clinic, toenail fungus can reoccur if the toes are constantly exposed to warm, moist environments even after treatment. To avoid this, it is recommended that the feet and between the toes are kept clean and dry. The Mayo Clinic states that wearing synthetic socks designed to wick moisture away from the skin as opposed to cotton or wool socks will keep the feet dryer and wick away moisture. The use of antifungal foot sprays and powders on the feet and in shoes will help to prevent and reduce recurrent toenail fungus infections. It is also a good idea to alternate between open-toe and closed-toe shoes.