Nail Fungal Infections
Nail fungal infections are a nail disease relatively easy to get – and without proper treatment can be difficult to get rid of. You should treat at the first sign of a fungus infection.
If you read the description on fungal medications, you will see the word tinea followed by a medical term indicating the location of the fungus on the body. For nails, it is tinea unguium or onychomycosis.
Onychomycosis means the nails are infected with fungus and half of all nail funguses fit into this category. The fungi have different classifications and one of the classifications is dermatophyte.
The types of the fungus are broken down into four main types. Candida is one. It is caused by excessive moisture, but in order for candida to take hold and flourish, there must have been an injury or infected area such as a torn hangnail. This can be the same fungus that causes yeast infections. As it grows between the nail and nail bed, Candida is the infection that can cause a person to lose the fingernail or toenail.
Next is a fungus called white superficial, which does not go deep into the nail bed, but rather focuses on the center of the nail or nail plate. Trichophyton mentagrophytes is the culprit behind this one and is noticeable by the way it creates small, light colored areas on the nail that if untreated, will take over the entire nail.
Proximal subungual begins at the fold of the nail and affects how the nail looks as it grows. This type, caused by Trichophyton rubrum is not a common form – and for people who get this type, it can be a warning sign that something is wrong with the immune system. This type produces thick white areas on the nail.
Most people get the common type of fungus in the nail, which is called distal subungual and the fungus Trichophyton rubrum is responsible for this one. This type affects the middle of the nail and beneath the nail. With this one, you may notice cracked, painful and sometimes bloody fissures beneath the tip of the nail.
The first symptoms that you may see indicating you have a fungus in the nail are that the color and shape of your nails may change. The nail may start to look yellow and thick. The nails may break easily or look multi-layered with jagged edges.
The shape will change, because many fungal infections can cause the existing nail to deteriorate and slow the growth of new nails. The nail may also start curving and lift away from the nail bed.