Nail fungus, otherwise called Onychomycosis, is caused by the reproduciton of fungus cell due to many reasons…
First of all, aging is the primary factor for nail fungus. In fact, as you grow older:
- The blood circulation becomes more poor
- You become more exposed to fungi
- Nail growth becomes slower
- Nails grow thicker (thus increasing the risk of infections)
Although, being young does not make you immune to Onychomycosis at all.
There are a few other lifestyle causes that might lead to this infection such as:
- Excessive sweating
- Exposing the affected areas to humid or moist environment
- Lack of proper breathing in the affected area (wearing sock and shoes for too long for example)
- Walking barefoot on damp floors
More than half of nail infections around the world are actually due to fungus that have eventually developed on their nails from the inside.
Now, do not think that, if you aren’t of old age and that you take amazing care of the hygiene, ventilation, etc, of your fingernail or toenails, you are all set to beautiful looking and healthy nails throughout your whole youth.
If fact, it can sadly occur anytime and even without you expecting it. Why?…
Because of something in which you have very little to no control over: your genetics.
If you have a family history of members experiencing nail fungus, chances are it could also happen to you. That is directly due to the information inside your DNA. Whether it’s from your mother’s or your father’s side (or worse: both), expect it to happen to you too.
Of course, it also might not happen. However, the odds of it appearing is higher if its contained in your genes.
Although, you can treat or prevent this issue by using antifungal remedies and changing your habits. It can often help you maintain healthy and beautiful nails regardless of your genetics.
Obviously, the sooner you do something about your nail fungus, the easier it will be to solve the problem. The more you wait to act upon stopping the infection, the harder and more effort it’ll take to end it.
Signs & Worsening of Nail Fungus
What are the first signs of nail fungus?
Usually, people don’t notice that their nails are infected until it becomes obvious. Fortunately, there are ways to see the presence of fungi even before that. It is, then, simpler to start treating it since the infection is still on a very early stage.
So, what exactly are these beginning signs?
You can tell that your nail(s) are getting infected by fungi when:
- You begin to notice white lines on your nails or that
- The actual nail is getting darker
- When you touch it, it might feel dry and dull .
Remember, it is on THAT stage that you need to start using antifungal treatment. This is the moment where fungus is easier and faster to kill and get rid of.
Consequences of Not Implementing Adequate Nail Fungus Treatments
If you are familiar with the section above and do notice early stages of fungus infection, but you decide to just ignore it and do nothing to improve the upcoming issue, there are serious adverse effects that will eventually show up.
The affected nails will turn yellow and get even darker as time without treatment goes by.
They will become much weaker and brittle, making it easy for them to break or flake. You will also gradually notice how much thicker they will become. The fungus might begin to grow apart from the affected area (whether it is your finger or toe). In medicine, this situation is called Onycholosis. I wish it was only this bad…
…but it can get even worse! Beyond only appearance problems, you will also start feeling physical pain around the affected area, serious and disturbing itchiness as well as unpleasant smell.
Complete nail destruction is awaiting if you just let it be without taking immediate action.
By letting the fungi live on, it might spread throughout some of or the rest of your toenails through close contact (fingernails are next on the list!). Due to its contagious tendencies, other people surrounding you can get infected as well. Who knows, this might have been the cause of your nail fungus if you know someone experiencing it prior to you.
If untreated, it can go beyond the nail and infected the surrounding skin. Paronychia, which is the term used to describing the bacterial infection of tissues around the nails, can cause pain to the skin, redness, burning sensations and more…
The Nail & Its Infections
There are many different conditions that can negatively affect the appearance of your nails.
In fact, although fungi is the most common nail infections cause and tends to develop in moist and warm environments, many other types of microorganisms can also be infectious, but tend to develop in dark and damp environments.
So, although they all cause the gradual death of the nails, they are born from different reasons and you should know how to differentiate them in order to understand how to treat them. That is actually the first step in treating them. You must figure out the origin of the issue and change your habits to avoid to keep feeding the bacterias.
Do not get the wrong information. Some fungi and bacterias can actually be good for you, but others can turn agaisnt you and be the cause of problems that you would like to stop.
It is so easy to be infected by any of these types of microorganisms as they are so small they can enter the skin through any opening without any difficulty (even openings that are hard to see with naked eye). Yes, it is that easy to get infected and that’s the level of care taking you need to be on.
To be exact, the group fungi responsible to nail infections are called “dermatophytes”, which tend to affect, not only nails, but also hair and skin.
Do not be afraid that they might also get more dangerous and infected your internal organs, because fungi don’t enter past the first layers of the skin.
From these dermatophytes, the main one creating the nail fungus we all know is called “Trichophyton”.
But, all fungi infect the same way, right?
The answer to that is no. Some infect the hair, skin and nail in a more intense way than others and also in different ways.
Even though, the different types of infections can happen together, nail fungus usually start at the back or the front of the nail.
What are the different types of fungal infections exactly?
Well, there exists two major types of fungal infections; the Distal Subungual Onychomycosis and the White Superficial Onychomycosis and they affect the nails in a simple, but different manner.
First, The Distal Subungual Onychomycosis is the worst of the two as it affects not only the actual nail but also the skin under it. This makes it much harder to treat the fungal infection. This issue might sadly last forever as, we can say, the fungi has inhabited the skin. At that point, operations might just be of the only options.
On the other hand, The White Superficial Onychomycosis is the more common and more easily treated type of infection. That is because only the nail is infected and not the skin around or under.
Start treating RIGHT NOW though, because it may get worse and worse until it becomes something you have no control over anymore. Click here to learn what to do to treat it easily.
Fingernail Infections VS Toenail Infections
A frequently asked question is: Do I have higher chances of experiencing toenail fungus than fingernail fungus?
The answer to this question is very simple and makes absolute sense: Toenails have actually way more chances of getting fungal infections, because the blood circulation to your feet and toes is weaker than the circulation to your hands and fingers.
As we went over at the very top of this page, poor blood circulation is one of the main reasons why older people are more likely to have nail fungus. That is because insufficient blood flow prevents infections to be washed away.
So, the poorer the blood flow, the higher the chances of getting nail infections, because those microorganisms tend to stay on the affected skin instead of being taken care of by the blood.
This is also why toenails grow slower than fingernail, which is another reason why toenails have more chances of getting infection. In fact, by growing slower, toenails gather more infectious microorganisms. Then, they can only go away after being cut by clippers and cleaned off.
If treated, It takes a complete growth phase for the nail to be regenerated and rid of fungus.
Finally, another major reason why you are more likely to get toenail fungus rather than fingernail fungus is because toes usually stay covered way more than fingers (socks, shoes, etc).
As you’ve learned in previous sections, dark, sweaty, moist environments are ideal for fungi to grow and live in and, by often wearing clothes to cover your toes, it is thus obviously more likely for the toenails to get infected.
Other Causes Of Changes In Nail Appearance
It is important to keep in mind that fungi is NOT the only cause of nail disfiguration.
There are many factors that can contribute to this:
- Previous accidents to your nails (you hit your nails, you broke it, etc): If you see it becoming a lot darker, that just means that blood is being gathered on the spot where the accident happened. Simply give it time or apply some ice and it should go back to normal.
- Breathing issues: This is a good reason why many smokers tend to experience discoloration in their nails and a change in their appearance.
- Melanoma: If the skin under your nail is dark and doesn’t go away after time, it might be melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. Please consult your doctor as soon as you notice this symptom to make sure it is nothing bad.
- Pseudomonas: If you notice that your nail(s) has a green discoloration and bad smell, it might be due to a bacterial infection cause by an organism called pseudomonas.
- Chronic Illness: If you are suffering from a yeast infection, this might be the reason why your nails grow much thicker than usual and change to a yellowish brown color.
If you can relate to the informations above and would love to get rid of nail fungus as soon as possible…
…click the link below to read about the treatments and solutions that you should start implementing to your daily routine today to put an end to fungal infections:
Credits to nationalnailfungus.org for some of the information provided.