Toenail Fungus Remedies, Reported Cures, Treatments, and Natural Applications
Many of us have seen the unsightly signs of a yellowing nailplate which indicates the presence of Onychomycosis which is a ringworm of the nail.Given that the feet when walking in shoes (which is most of the time) are dark and sweaty, onychomycosis is most often associated with the toenails. It is possible, however, to have the fungus involve the fingernail. The incidence of this infection is rather evenly divided among men and women. The most common symptoms are:
1. Nailplate with a yellowish color
2. Nailplates that are thick
3. Disfigured nails that can detach from the bed of the nail
4. Tender toenails - a rather severe pain when the nail is pressured at all
It is the nature of fungal infections that they are very stubborn to treat. Even when an anti fungal medication is identified to treat a fungal infection, it can take much longer to cure the fungal infection than a bacterial infection. Patience and consistency are required. Early termination of treatment can result in relapse.
There are two philosophies behind treating fungals. You can use natural remedies or medicines that are synthetic. The following are natural remedies that have been reported to be highly effective:
1. Iodine-As a child, you may have been treated for a cut or scrape with iodine. It has been known for years to help kill bacteria. It is also effective against candida, a group encompassing a number of fungal infections. Iodine placed at the cuticle of the nail and the skin can be useful. The application should be continued until the discolored section of nail grows out and there is a margin of healthy nail growing. Be aware that iodine can stain the nail and if smeared on socks it can stain them.
2. Vinegar-Vinegar is acetic acid, a mild acid. A mixture of half vinegar and half water by volume makes a great soak for killing fungus. Soak three (3) times a day at least 1/2 hour. A mild acid solution can also lessen itching. The subject should be very faithful of the regimen daily until signs of the disfigured nail are gone (grown out).
3. Hydrogen Peroxide-As with the previous two home remedies, hydrogen peroxide is useful for many different purposes. It has been a standard treatment for many years. Using the hydrogen peroxide (which produces oxygen) is referred to as an oxidative therapy. Purchase 3% hydrogen peroxide from your local drugstore. Some other places like grocery stores also carry the product. Choose water or common vinegar to mix it in. Again, soak the nails for at least a half hour each day, three times a day. It will probably take months of careful soaking, but results can be seen.
4. Bleach-Your average household cleaner is used to bleach as a cleaning product. Because of its whitening properties and anti-bacterial action, it has been used for many, many years. But bleach can also have medicinal uses. The literature on onychomycosis reports that it can be used to kill fungus also. Again, a soak should be made by using a water and bleach solution. Using a bleach bottle cap as your measure, use one with a gallon of H2O (water). Remember, bleach has an average pH of 12.4 and is alkalinic. Therefore, bleach in excess will burn. Follow the directions for the soak; don't be tempted to use more. Your skin can get very irritated if you overdo the use of bleach. White vinegar can be used to neutralize it, however if any adverse effects occur (as is the case with any substance), consult a physician.
5. Sunlight- Keeping your feet dry and exposing them to sunlight can kill fungus. Fungus enjoys dark moist environments. The heat of the sun and the radiation help to eliminate fungus. Exercise followed by treatment has been reported to help in the cure of fungal infections.
6. Tea Tree Oil- Melaleuca oil, another name for tea tree oil, is an oil recommended to be applied to the area after each of the above remedies. After the feet have soaked according to the regimens above, dry them and apply the oil to the matrix area and skin near the cuticle. Two to three times a day is the recommended treatment. The treatment should last for 6 months. As is the case with ANY treatment, if you start to improve in the condition of the nails, don't stop application! Fungi reproduce quickly, so interrupting the applications by not following through can lead to longer treatment. Health food stores and any kind of store for specialties will have the tea tree oil.
With all the applications above, if you file the nail with an emory board until it is the thickness of an ordinary nail, it is reported that the substances listed above will work even better. In addition, white iodine and Tea Tree Oil oil have been reported to be very effective (a combination of the two outlined above).
*And one last note. Vitamin E oil applied with a Q-tip over a period of weeks showed good quick results, reportedly.
You can avoid toenail fungus and the ugly, yellow, thick nails associated by keeping your feet dry, removing shoes, and exposing feet to air and sunlight whenever possible, and using the remedies above at the beginning signs of this particular candida. It usually starts as a light brown to yellow spot emanating from the nail matrix. Since many of us encounter this infection by total surprise, it is useful to know about home remedies. Don't forget that there are many anti-fungal medicines that your doctor can prescribe, including creams, liquids, and pills.
The most often used prescription drugs for toenail fungus are Terbinafine and Itraconozole pills. It is reported that with these meds a 60-80% cure rate occurs. Nail polish that contains Amorolfine can also be used, but is used less frequently. Keep feet cool and dry; the fungus that causes athlete's foot works its way into the matrix and causes onychomycosis, so stay away from communal baths and after a shower at a swimming pool, don't walk bare-footed.
Latest Developments 7/15/2013
A foot laser machine has shown promise in treating toenail fungus. At the same time, a spruce tree resin from Norway is promising when applied as a lacquer to the nail.
© 2012 John R Wilsdon