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Onychomycosis, nail mycosis

What is it?

Onychomycosis is an infection that affects the nails, caused by fungi. The sources of infection may be the soil, animals, other people or pliers and scissors contaminated.

The nails most commonly affected are the toes' nails, as the humid, dark and warm environment found inside shoes and sneakers, favors fungi's growth. Furthermore, keratin, the substance that forms the nails, is the "nutriment" of the fungi.

Characteristics and symptoms

There are various manifestations of onychomycosis. Some of the most common types are:

  • Detachment of the free edge: the nail detaches from the nail bed, usually starting in the corners. There may be accumulation of material under the nail. It is the most frequent presentation.

onychomycosis

  • Thickening: nails increase in thickness, becoming hardened. This form may be accompanied by pain.
  • Leukonychia: white patches on the surface of the nail.

onychomycosis

  • Destruction and deformities: the nail becomes fragile and breaks in the anterior portion, getting deformed.

onychomycosis

  • Paronychia: the nail's contour becomes inflamed, painful, swollen and reddish. The inflammation alters the formation of the nail, which grows with a wavy or deformed surface.

onychomycosis

Treatment

Hygiene habits are important to prevent fungal infections and the tips below should be followed:

  • Do not walk barefoot on floors constantly wet;
  • Note the skin and hair of your pets (dogs and cats). Any changes as scaling or failures in the hair, look for the vet;
  • Avoid working with soil without using gloves;
  • Use only your own manicure material;
  • Avoid wearing closed shoes as possible. Opt for wider and ventilated ones;
  • Avoid synthetic fabric socks, prefer cotton.

The drugs used for the treatment of onychomycosis may be of local use, in the form of creams, solutions or nail polish, or oral medication for more advanced cases.

Signs of improvement are slow to appear, since they depend on the growth of the nail, which is very slow. Toenails may take about 12 months to completely renovate and, usually, treatment should be maintained throughout this time. Persistence is key to successful treatment.

Onychomycosis before and after treatment
onicomycosis

The type of treatment will depend on the extent of the onychomycosis and should be determined by a dermatologist. Avoid using drugs indicated for other people because it may mask important features for correct diagnosis of your mycosis, complicating treatment.

Related articles

- Skin mycosis
- Tinea cruris, groin mycosis


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