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Onychomycosis

 

 

Onychomycosis, the medical term for toenail fungus, is an infection that is caused by fungi that also causes athlete's foot. In fact, the two of them often occur together.

As a child, the fungus can start in the soles of the feet and progresses from there to the toenail bed. As a teenager, it can go to the groin and cause jock itch and sometimes to the body, causing ringworm. But the toenail is the ideal location for the toe nail fungus. Once it's there, it can stay for life.

Onychomycosis is actually very common and infects up to as much as 20% of the American population. As we age, the likelihood of getting onychomycosis increases to about 40% by age 70. The fungi that causes onychomycosis is everywhere, not only in hotel rooms, locker rooms and other public places, but also in most people's homes.

Onychomycosis is caused by a microorganism called a dermatophyte. Dermatophytes are fungi that infect skin, hair, nails and feed on nail tissue. This fungi lives on keratin, which is the protein that toenails are made of. It thrives in the dark, moist environment of sweaty feet.

Smoking raises the risk of contracting onychomycosis because it restricts blood circulation to the feet. So does diabetes, which also impairs circulation. Advancing age, poor health, trauma and wearing shoes that don't allow air circulation to the feet can all contribute to contracting onychomycosis. Experts say that using nail polish has no effect as far as inviting or intensifying onychomycosis.

Onychomycosis symptoms are easy to spot. Brittle or thickened toenails that may smell foul, dull color of the nail with white or yellow spots, and in advanced cases, brown or black spots or streaks are indications of onychomycosis. The toenail can separate from the bed and the edge of the toenail can become severely eroded.

In the past, onychomycosis treatments were poor at best. Because toenails grow so slowly and receive very little blood supply, onychomycosis is difficult to treat. Recent advances in treatment options, including oral (taken by mouth) and topical (applied on the skin or nail surface) medications, have been made. Newer oral medicines have revolutionized treatment of onychomycosis. However, the rate of recurrence is high even with these newer medicines. Treatment is expensive and can have unwanted and dangerous side effects. There are several excellent homeopathic treatments available that do not produce side effects. Among the very best is ZetaClear.

 

 

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