How to identify toenail fungus

This article will focus on such an unpleasant, but, alas, quite common phenomenon, like toenail fungus. The symptoms and causes of this disease are known to medical science and can be easily diagnosed at all stages. However, it can only be detected with a careful attitude to one's own health. How to identify toenail fungus? How is it treated? Are the advertised ointments effective?

what does toenail fungus look like

What causes nail fungus?

Nail fungus is a fairly common disease. The disease spreads especially successfully in places with a temperate and tropical climate, that is, where it is humid and warm. However, paradoxically, residents of cold countries most often get sick with nail fungus. This is due to the fact that in harsh climates, you constantly have to wear warm shoes with socks. The foot sweats, the sock becomes wet and the person is forced to stay in this state for a long time without the opportunity to change shoes. This is the best way to promote the formation of nail fungus. Before talking about how to identify toenail fungus, let's figure out who is more susceptible to this disease.

Nail fungus as an occupational disease

At risk are people whose feet cannot breathe during the day due to tight shoes. These are miners, power plant workers, gardeners and representatives of other working specialties. The fungus can be "picked up" by working in the laundry, in the pool, hotel, restaurant.

What diseases can serve as a prerequisite

Often, not only representatives of the above professions suffer from this ailment, but also people who have type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus. In addition, deformity of the feet, varicose veins can be a prerequisite for the formation of nail fungus. Among the causes of this infection is insufficient nail nutrition due to blockage or obstruction of blood vessels. This is why the creams advertised today, as well as nail polishes supposedly designed to protect against fungus, will be completely useless in the fight against disease. After all, it is often caused by internal ailments, and external influences will not eradicate problems.

Who is at risk?

Several decades ago, nail fungus was diagnosed in most cases in elderly people. However, every year the number of patients suffering from nail fungus is increasing, and the disease itself is getting younger.

Official data show that nail fungus develops two to three times more often in men. At the same time, it is women who turn to a dermatologist much more often with this problem. The fairer sex is more concerned about their health and do not find anything shameful in consulting a doctor.

Next, we will consider why it is so important to get recommendations on the treatment of the fungus from a dermatologist, and also talk about how you can determine the fungus on the nails and what symptoms it has at each stage of its development.

peeling of the nail with toenail fungus

What does nail fungus look like?

This disease is not fatal, but, of course, it is necessary to get rid of it. Fortunately, recognizing the onset of an illness is easy for anyone. How to identify fungus on the feet? See below for tips. First of all, take a closer look at your nails.

The first thing to look out for is this nail color. The nail affected by the fungus becomes dull yellow and opaque. Depending on the stage of the disease, the affected can be the edge of the nail plate, the base or the entire nail.

Pay attention to the thickness of the nail

Answering the question of how to determine nail fungus, changes in the nail plate should also be mentioned. Despite the fact that due to the disease, the nail becomes thinner, visually and by sensations it seems to become thicker and swell.

How to identify nail fungus? In order to detect the presence of an infection, a visual examination of the nail plate is not enough. Mix potassium permanganate and water in a ratio of 1 to 5, dip your nails into the resulting solution for half a minute. The healthy nail will be colored and brown. Part of the affected plate will remain white.

Stages of the disease

The disease proceeds in four stages. The sooner you start treatment, the more likely you are to get rid of nail fungus permanently.

The first stage is characterized by damage to the edge of the nail. As mentioned above, the color of the plate changes, bulges appear. The nail grows poor-quality, hollow, and therefore breaks and crumbles.

An increase in the area of the lesion will become a sign of the second stage. In addition, it should be noted that sometimes the second stage can begin as if bypassing the first. The defeat of the nail plate will begin not from the edge, but at the base of the nail. It will be more problematic to recover from nail fungus in the second stage than in the first.

How to identify stage 3 toenail fungus? In medicine, it is called a white surface fungus and looks like the entire plate is affected. It has a dense white color, crumbles strongly at the edges.

The fourth stage is called total dystrophic fungus. The nail has a yellowish-gray color, exudes a peculiar unpleasant odor and crumbles heavily. At the fourth stage, you can often see the exposed part of the skin under the broken nail, since it has grown due to the fungus, in most cases it breaks off.

development of toenail fungus disease

The reason for contacting a dermatologist is often the independent identification of the fourth stage of the nail fungus. You should not search forums or the Internet for advice on how to effectively treat nail fungus. It is better to consult a specialist at the first symptoms of the disease.

What to expect from a visit to the doctor?

Probably, in each of us there is a fear of doctors. However, do not be afraid to contact a dermatologist if you suspect you have nail fungus. The specialist will conduct an external examination, and also take a scraping of the upper stratum corneum of the nail in order to send it to the laboratory for diagnosis. A detailed analysis will reveal what became the causative agent of the disease, determine the type of fungus, and also tell the doctor what kind of treatment should be prescribed.

Treatment of a nail fungus takes a long time. It can last from one month to three. After the course of treatment, you will need to take tests again, even if the above symptoms are not observed.

A few words about effective treatment

So, now we know how to identify toenail fungus. The methods are given above. Now it is worth saying a few words about the treatment that you can do yourself. The drug Naftifine has proven itself quite well. However, you need to use not an ointment, but a solution. This medication can also be used in case of foot fungus infection.

How to use Naftifin? If you have a fungus in the first stage of the disease, then lubricate the affected surface of the nail twice a day. Keep your nails dry and well washed. At the next stages of the disease, you cannot do without taking pills. However, in this case, the use of Naftifin should not be stopped: this will enhance the effect of the effects of drugs.

Before applying the product, thoroughly clean the affected surface of the nail with a manicure device. However, you need to be extremely careful when doing this. After perfect manipulations, it is necessary to apply Naftifin solution to the cleansed area. Repeat 2 times a day.

To summarize

The article provides an answer to the question of how to identify toenail fungus. However, it is worth remembering that self-medication does not always lead to complete recovery. If the thickness or color of your nails changes, you should consult a doctor.

According to the degree of damage to the nail plate, the fungus can be divided into four stages. If at the first stage the disease does not cause alarm, since it does not greatly deform the nail plate, then at the fourth stage you can easily lose your nails. Do not hesitate to contact a dermatologist.

It is strongly discouraged to self-medicate, succumbing to advertising exhortations about the effectiveness of a particular drug. Cream or any other agent applied to the nail plate from the outside will not get rid of the causative agent of the disease, and, therefore, will be ineffective. As a result, you will only delay the treatment process, masking the manifestation of the disease. It is also worth not forgetting that the nail fungus not only looks unaesthetic, but is also a kind of beacon, indicating the presence of disorders in the body.