Toenail fungus can be a nasty condition. It is especially common during summertime when our feet and toenails are exposed to different environments and relatively naked.
You don't have to be a doctor to diagnose this fungal infection. Just have a look at your toenails, and if they are discolored (brown, yellow, or white), this is a sign that something is afoot.
Some people may think that the fungus is only visual.
Unfortunately, not treating this condition can lead to fungus spreading and affecting more nails. Even worse, they may start thickening and cracking, which is the last thing you need!
Luckily, it's easy to find an optimal toenail fungus treatment.
Besides your regular drugs that you can buy almost anywhere, there are lots of different natural remedies that might help you out.
Generally speaking, drugs are a safer solution.
However, some people may experience mild side effects while using them. That is precisely why natural remedies may serve as a viable solution.
Going to the doctor's office
Although this condition is relatively easy to spot and self-diagnose, that doesn't mean you should skip on a doctor's appointment.
Make sure to book an appointment as soon as possible. You can even skip the general practitioner and, instead, go straight to a dermatologist or a podiatrist.
Before you do so, make sure to create a list of all the drugs you're currently using, that you're allergic to and history of fungal diseases.
As previously mentioned, this is mostly a cosmetic problem that might lead to complications. It is especially problematic if you have other medical conditions.
For example, if you have diabetes, having these two conditions may lead to foot ulcers and other complications. It is also common for those affected by it to have bacterial cellulitis.
In fact, these complications, as well as a potential toenail fungus treatment, are the main reason why you need a doctor.
During the medical exam, a doctor will check your nails.
It is also common for the specialist to take nail clippings or debris from under the nail. Then, he will send the sample to a lab for further examination. It can help determine what kind of fungus you're having.
Occasionally, it might be that you don't have fungus.
For example, people who have psoriasis have symptoms similar to those of a fungal infection. Bacteria and yeast can produce similar results.
3 Common drugs for toenail fungus
In most cases, the doctor will prescribe you an antifungal drug. They are usually taken orally or applied on the nail:
Oral drugs are perhaps the best solution. They act quickly, unlike topical drugs, which require some time. When using them, your new nail will be able to grow without any infection. In fact, new tissue will slowly start replacing the infected section. In most cases, oral drugs are taken for anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks. During this period, your toenail should be completely cured. Keep in mind that the treatment is over once a new nail has sprouted. Sometimes, the whole process may be prolonged, taking four months and more. Unfortunately, there are certain issues you have to consider. For example, they are less efficient for patients older than 65. They might also cause various side effects, such as rash or liver damage. This is why some doctors recommend blood tests during the toenail fungus treatment. In fact, if you have liver issues, there is a good chance that a doctor will not give you an oral drug in the first place.
Medicated nail polish
Special nail polish is the second option. Naturally, these products work as antifungals. They work similarly to a regular nail polish where you have to paint the nail. Make sure to paint only the infected area once per day. Continue applying the polish each day for a week. After a week, you will have to remove the layers and continue applying. Nail polish products are much better in terms of side effects. However, they provide mild results. Some treatments may last for a year or more. The good thing is that they are entirely harmless.
Nail cream is the third topical solution you have at your disposal. Unlike nail polishes, which are brushed, this one needs to be rubbed. Before that, you have to soak the nail in the cream. Each cream or polish works better if you previously thin the nails. This makes it easier to penetrate the thick layers and get to the fungus. You can use lotion or a file for thinning.
9 Natural solutions for toenail fungus
Some of these alternatives can be very severe.
As previously said, oral drugs can lead to various side effects. As a result, a lot of patients will go for nail polish or cream. However, you can also try different natural solutions:
1) Apple cider vinegar soak
Because it’s mildly acidic, apple cider vinegar helps to prevent toenail fungus from spreading and also kills bacteria and fungi. For soaking, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and then let your feet soak in the solution for 30 minutes. Make sure you completely dry your feet once you’re done soaking.
2) Tea tree oil
There are lots of different oils that can help you with fungal infections. Tea tree oil is definitely one of them. Otherwise known as melaleuca, this substance has antifungal and antiseptic properties making it ideal for various conditions. It needs to be applied with a cotton swab similar to other creams and ointments.
3) Ozonized oils
Ozonized oils refer to olive and sunflower oils. They are injected with ozone gas, which makes them ozonized. Because of this process, ozone in the oil can have a strong impact on various microorganisms.
According to a study, ozonized sunflower oil has a better success rate than some traditional topical antifungals prescribed by the doctors. It is applied twice a day, similar to the tea tree oil treatment.
4) Baking soda soak
Baking soda is great for killing bacteria and also helps to neutralize foot odors. For soaking, mix ½ a cup of baking soda with ¼ cup 3% hydrogen peroxide, ½ a cup of Epsom salt and 4 cups of warm water. Mix it all up and then lastly add ¼ cup of white vinegar. Soak your feet in the solution for about 10 minutes then wash and dry properly. Use it twice daily for the best results.
5) Oregano oil
Oregano oil is the third item on our list, and you're probably noticing a pattern! The secret of oregano oil lies in thymol, a substance that works very well against fungi. However, keep in mind that oregano oil is a bit stronger than the previous two natural products on this list. As such, they can lead to irritation.
6) Snakeroot extract
Drugs are usually based on natural substances such as snakeroot. This plant is also from the sunflower family, which is why it has a similar impact as sunflower oil. According to a study, the patient should apply this extract every third day during the first month, twice a week during the second, and once a week during the third month.
Vinegar is more traditional natural medicine. In fact, even our grandmothers used it for various microbes and conditions. During the toenail fungus vinegar treatment, you need to soak your feet in a tub and keep it there for a while.
8) The Cornmeal Mush
Corn hosts a form of fungus harmless to the human body yet deadly to Candida, one of the most common fungal parasites that cause infections of the foot and toenails. For the mush, mix one cup of cornmeal with two quarts of water. Let the cornmeal and water mingle for at least one hour before inserting your foot (or both feet) into the mix, and then let it soak for at least half an hour. You can use this remedy as often as you like to help treat and prevent toenail and foot fungus.
Garlic is also known as an amazing plant with various benefits. There is a lot of evidence showing us it can be used efficiently for the treatment of fungus. Just chop it and put it on the affected area for 30 minutes. Repeat the process every few days. Perhaps a better alternative is to buy garlic capsules. This way, your feet will not be so stinky!
10) Olive leaf extract
Olive leaf has an active substance called oleuropein. According to several studies, this substance has numerous beneficial properties, and among others, it can be used against fungus. Besides the extract, there are also capsules. You can find them in most drugstores and natural remedy stores. You just have to take three capsules per meal, for two meals. You also need to drink a lot of water during the treatment.
Listerine has not one, but several substances that can help you out with fungus. For example, it has the previously mentioned thymol, but also menthol and eucalyptus. You just have to fill a vessel with it and soak it for 30 minutes a day.
12) Oral Supplements
Taking oral supplements can help treat and cure toenail and foot fungus. We especially love Olive Leaf Extract because it cures fungal infections and is also anti-bacterial and antiviral. Another great supplement to consider is probiotics because an imbalance of the healthy micro-flora in your boy can reap havoc and cause all sorts of infections. Taking a great probiotic supplement along with either one of the remedies we listed her will improve the effectiveness of tenfold.
13) Changes to your diet
Changes to your diet can help if you want to be both reactive and proactive. Needless to say, our diet can have a significant impact on stifling or stimulating fungus. There are lots of different stuff that you can use, such as probiotics, proteins, iron, essential fatty acids, foods that are full of calcium and vitamin D. A combination of all these things can do wonders for your nails!
As you can see, there are lots of different toenail fungus treatments.
With this article, you should know what works and what doesn't. Even if you have trouble with oral drugs, you can try some of the more old-school solutions against fungus.
We promise they will help!