Nail fungus also called Onychomycosis is a form of fungal disease caused by tiny organism known as Tinea Unguium infecting the toenails and fingernails. According to the research, these fungi thrive best underneath the nails due to the fact that nails provide a secure, warm, dark and moist environment hence making it difficult to treat this medical condition. Nail fungus begins with redness and irritation on the nail base or sides and then spreads to other parts of the nail causing some changes on the nail bed and the nail itself. With time, the infected nails turn dark yellow-brown or yellow-green with white spots sometimes. Bleeding of the cuticles often occur while other signs that may be observed include: nail thickening, abnormal grooves and development of lines and small punched out holes.
Nail Fungus Treatment
There are numerous nail fungus treatment options ranging from medication to surgery. Medication: there are a variety of medications used to treat nail fungus such as: oral antifungal medications e.g. terbinafine granules which is a form of synthetic allymine antifungal. Terbinafine inhibits squalene epoxidase thereby inhibiting ergosterol. This inhibits the growth of fungus on the nails, however, this antifungal is not recommended for patients suffering from liver disorder.
Fluconazole: this is a form of antifungal drug that treats nail fungus through inhibiting a fungal enzyme called cytochromes hence preventing lanosterol from being converted into ergosterol, a vital component of cytoplasmic membrane of fungus as well as preventing 14a-methyl sterols from accumulating hence causing their death.
Griseofulvin: this is an oral antifungal drug that cures nail fungus by binding to tubulin hence inhibiting mitosis through interfering with the normal functioning of microtubule. In addition, griseofulvin binds to keratin found in precursor cell hence making them to resist fungal infection hence causing the death of these fungi.
Antifungal lacquer: these are used in those nail fungus that are mild or moderate. Ciclopirox is an antifungal lacquer that works by interfering with the normal functioning of certain enzymes i.e. Peroxidase and catalase, as well as other cellular metabolism components; hence interrupt membrane transfer system.
Topical medications: these are antifungal creams containing urea which accelerates its absorption. This allows them to penetrate through the nails hence killing these fungi; however, the nails should be cleaned first in order to reduce the amount of area infected.
Laser treatment: this involves use of ultraviolet beams in treating nail fungus. The procedure involves piercing the infected nails using podiatrist thereby enabling the fungus to vaporize. Normally, these ultraviolet rays are specifically directed to the infected nail area hence removing these parasites completely.
Surgery: in case of severe nail fungus infection, surgery is considered the most effective option as it involves extraction of the infected nails hence creating a room for development of a new nails slowly. Surgery can be used together with antifungal lacquer to cure the nail bed.
Besides these fungus treatment options, there are various preventive measures that can be used such as eradicating any environmental condition that could allow these fungi to grow.