Tinea Unguium, popularly known as onychomycosis, is a popular type of fungal infection. Tinea Unguium is not the sole cause of onychomycosis, candida species and molds are other popular causes. Tinea Unguium is a prevalent fungal infection affecting both fingernails and toenails. It affects all gender and age groups but is more prevalent in men, older adults, as well as people with underlying health issues that compromise the body’s immune system – peripheral vascular disease and diabetes are common examples.
Though Tinea Unguium affects both fingernails and toenails, it is more common with toenails. It mostly begins with a tiny spot beneath the tip of the nail and then develops to alter both the structure and color of the nails if left untreated.
Causes of Tinea Unguium
Nails can play host to diverse kinds of fungus, one of which causes Tinea Unguium. Several factors could make you vulnerable to this infection which includes:
- Sweaty feet: fungus thrives in moist, warm, and dark environments making sweaty feet great breeding grounds for them. People with sweaty feet are more vulnerable to Tinea Unguium.
- Sharing nail tools: nail tools are part of personal equipment that should not be shared with others because sharing nail tools with someone that has Tinea Unguium exposes you to the infection which is naturally highly contagious. Tinea Unguium spreads easily and quickly from nail to nail as well as to the surrounding skin therefore requires great caution.
- Walking barefoot in public spaces: public spaces such as a locker room and community swimming pools are great breeding grounds for fungus hence walking barefoot in these places opens you to Tinea Unguium.
- Nail polish or artificial nails: there are diverse nail polishes with harsh ingredients that could leave nails with cracks creating rooms for fungus and bacteria to hide.
- Other fungal infections: having other fungal infections such as athlete’s foot makes you more vulnerable to Tinea Unguium. This could be either previous or present infection.
- Heredity: People with a family history of fungus infection are more likely to have Tinea Unguium in their lifetime.
- Underlying health issues: health issues such as diabetes that weaken the immune system are key causes of diverse health problems including Tinea Unguium.
Symptoms of Tinea Unguium
Tinea Unguium typically begins with a tiny spot beneath the tip of the nail. other signs that could point to a case of Tinea Unguium include:
- Nail discoloration: the infected nail will change from the clear pinkish coloration to yellow or brown.
- Nail thickening
- Brittle or crumbly nails
- Irregular in shape
Treatment of Tinea Unguium
Treating Tinea Unguium is not a walk in the park. The first step is getting an effective treatment option, then consistency and patience are required because the treatment will typically take a few months. Tinea Unguium also has a very high rate of recurrence. There are a number of effective treatment or prevention measures for Tinea Unguium, they include:
Home Remedies for Tinea Unguium
Tea Tree oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil with proven effectiveness in the treatment of fungal infections. It is loaded with antifungal and antibacterial properties. Key components of tea tree oil destroy the infection hence bringing about the restoration of the nail’s health. Being a very powerful oil, it is important to dilute it properly with a carrier oil to avoid skin reactions. If any discomfort follows the usage, it is better to discontinue it. It is for external usage
Coconut oil is a carrier oil with extensive therapeutic benefits. It is used for the treatment of a wide range of body issues including fungal infections. It is loaded with antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Though it is not as potent as tea tree oil, it is an effective remedy for Tinea Unguium. It is safe for both internal and external usage.
This is a very common household item with great potency against diverse health challenges. It has proven effectiveness in the treatment of fungal infections. Allicin contained in garlic stops the growth of fungi and bacteria. It can be used both internally and externally. It can be used in any of its forms – clove, powder, crushed, and oil.
Hydrogen Peroxide is an infective antifungal agent. It destroys nail fungus and restores the nail. soak the infected foot or hand in the solution of hydrogen peroxide and water for about 30 minutes daily until cure is achieved. It can also be used together with vinegar.
Other home remedies include oregano oil, snakeroot extract, olive leaf extract, vinegar, Epsom salt, ginger, etc.
Note: home remedies are particularly good because they can be obtained easily and are mostly without side effects though may not be as fast as other treatment options
Besides home remedies for nail fungus, over-the-counter products and medications are other effective treatment options for nail fungus. Over-the-counter products are also mostly without side effects as far as you don’t have allergy for any of the ingredients. Their formulations often include key ingredients like tea tree oil. They generally work faster than home remedies but not as fast as medications.
Medications are very effective and fast treatment options for Tinea Unguium but are often with side effects which could include damage to key internal organs. Therefore, it is vital to consult a physician and undergo necessary tests before usage.
Good hygiene: this is the very foundation of overall wellbeing. Paying attention to the little details of body care will help prevent or form the building block for effective treatment of an infection. If good hygiene is not embraced, any attempt to treat Tinea Unguium will be sabotaged as it will most likely spread, and even when it goes, it will most likely be back. The necessary hygiene includes keeping feet and nails dry and not sharing nail tools.
Tinea Unguium caused by fungus is a common problem with fingernails and toenails. It has several risk factors and symptoms, most of which have been highlighted. Tinea Unguium must be treated promptly to avoid complications such as a spread of the fungus. key prevention measures founded on good hygiene should be embraced.