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Dispelling Myths About Toenail Fungus Infections and Cures

Updated on August 25, 2009

Ok, so before I took a brief break from hubbing, I was writing about toenail fungus infections. The basic gist, if you're not inclined to go back and read it, was to point out that there are a variety of ways you can get a fungal infection under your toe including damage to the nail, cross contamination from another infected individual and an elevated risk due to a depressed immune system.

I wanted to take the opportunity in this hub (hopefully another short one as I'm trying to get away from the 1500 word hubs I've doing into the wee hours of the night) to dispel a few myths about toenail fungus infections and how to treat them. Let's get right to it.

Let's get this party started!
Let's get this party started!

Toenail Fungus Facts and Fiction

Myth #1: You can't cure a toenail infection with a topical solution. Not true. What is true is that it is difficult and time consuming to do so, may not always work and requires a real commitment to the task. Why? Because, as stated in my last hub, the infection you're fighting lives under the nail and a topical solution must penetrate the nail to get at the infection. I'll go more into that statement on commitment later or in a follow-up hub because it really is important.

Myth #2: In order to treat a toenail infection, the nail must be removed. Not true. Medically speaking, this is often the most expedient means of treating a toenail infection but not your only option. Frankly, the prospect makes me cringe, but the motivation is simply that removing the nail does several things. It deprives the infection of its protective home, it exposes it to air and light (never met a fungus that likes either one) and it allows for the direct application of medicine to the infected area.

Myth #3: In order to treat a toenail infection they drill holes into your toenail. True, but not always. This one has pretty much been answered in the previous myth and the same message applies. Potentially more expedient, exposes infection to air, etc.

Myth #4: Reducing sugar in your diet will kill a toenail infection. Not true but based in some fact. Recent medical theory holds that a sugar rich diet actually benefits the fungus. Eliminating sugar from your diet entirely may help when combined with other treatments, but it isn't a certain fungus killing method on its own.

Funny, but not a cure!
Funny, but not a cure!

If you must pee on a foot, make it somebody else's

Myth #5: Peeing on your infected toe will cure it of the fungus. Not true. Peeing on your foot will cover it in pee and that's about it. The logic behind this one stems from an old wives tale based in the thinking that the acidity or alkalinity (I'm too lazy to do the research) in urine is a foot fungus killer. But, as we've already discussed, the fungus of a toenail fungus infection lives under the nail in the nail bed. Even if urine were an effective anti-fungal, it isn't viscous enough to remain in place on the toe long enough to penetrate to the infection. So, regardless its merits (urine has merits?) it wouldn't do you a bit of good other than to earn you the nickname Ol' Pissfoot. Have fun with that.

Myth #6: Having a toenail fungus infection means you are dirty and unhygienic. Not true. Folks, if you're suffering from a fungal infection of the toenail, you probably feel enough of a blow to your self-esteem without adding fuel to the fire. The slightest nick or scratch to your nail can give the fungus the foothold (sorry for the pun) it needs to start burrowing and then thriving under the nail. While it's true you can contract a fungal infection from an unhygienic environment, that doesn't make YOU unhygienic. And should anybody ever insinuate that you are, let them know about this next little tidbit.

Myth #7: Toenail fungus infections are rare. Nope, nuh-uh, not true. Recent estimates imply that fully 60% of us will contract a toenail and/or foot fungus infection at some point in our lifetimes. So that cocky, snide, rude "friend" who gets all grossed out by something you neither asked for, expected, deserved nor wanted might as well flip a coin because he or she has a pretty good chance of suffering the embarrassment themselves some day. Be sure to act disgusted when they get it.

Myth #8: Toenail fungus can't be cured. Poppy-cock. Utter nonsense. Your infection most definitely can be cured but, depending on the methods you choose to employ, it will take a commitment. In fact, it's the failure to commit and follow through on treatment all the way to an end that so often results in recurring toenail fungus infections. That, in turn, has led a lot of people to the mistaken belief that they simply have to live with the problem. They don't. Neither do you!

I think that's enough myths covered for now. Check back soon and we'll talk about cures for toenail fungus infections.

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