How to treat nail fungus (onychomycosis)

 

Onychomycosis, better known as nail fungus or fungus in your nail is the most common nail diseases attributing to half of all nail irregularities. Nail fungus affects toenails and fingernails, however. Toenails seem to be the most frequently affected areas. Studies have shown that 10-12% of all adults suffer from some form of nail fungus.

There are many causes of nail fungus, such as yeast, fungi and a variety of molds. Often the same fungi that cause athlete’s foot causes nail fungus. So, if you suffer from athlete’s foot, it’s probable to contract onychomycosis. However, it’s hard to determine exactly how you may have contracted the nasty bug.  Nail fungus thrives in warm, humid and moist conditions. Places like showers, pools, or any place you walk barefoot are likely culprits and should be avoided whenever possible.

People with weak immune systems and who are over 60 are likely to present with nail fungus. Diabetes is also an indicator, or if you have moist feet. What can you do to limit your exposure to contracting nail fungus?  Keep your feet dry and clean. Avoid walking barefoot in showers or areas were mold is prevalent. Unfortunately there isn’t a silver bullet fix for this condition, however. Many studies have been conducted to measure the efficacy of systemic and topical treatments, but most prove to be inconclusive. Often, the medications require routine application and require blood testing to determine eligibility.

With the advance in laser technology, there are ways to treat fungus in a safe outpatient procedure. Here at Maine Laser Clinic we use a Nd:Yag 1064 nm laser to superheat the skin tissue beneath the nail causing coagulation of the nail matrix resulting in significant cosmetic enhancement for patients. Preliminary studies are being conducted, but some practitioners are reporting 80-85% clearance.

Check out the before-and-after photos. It’s important to consult your physician before deciding on an option that best suits your overall health and well-being.

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Dr. Amato Polselli