Nail fungus (onychomycosis) on the hands is the most common dermatological problem. The reason for its appearance is the activity of pathogenic microflora, which damages the keratin layer, causing plate modification and other unpleasant symptoms. However, a violation of the structure of the nail is not always a sign of a fungus, so before you begin treatment, you need to find out how onychomycosis is manifested and developed.
Features of nail fungus
Onychomycosis is a rather contagious disease that is easily transmitted by the contact-household method. Touching an infected person with his hands or using his things, it is possible to catch pathogens with a probability of 87%. The chances of infection are enhanced by the following factors:
- low immunity;
- violation of the integrity of the skin (wounds, ulcers, scratches);
- cracks in the nails;
- hormonal imbalance;
- non-observance of personal hygiene.
The risk group for developing nail fungus infection includes older people, pregnant and lactating women, and small children.
5-6 days after the infection penetrated the skin or keratin, the symptoms of the disease begin to manifest:
- yellowing of the nail;
- cracks and grooves of the plate;
- itching of the skin, especially between the fingers;
- white coating on the surface of the hands and under the nails;
- rashes of a papular nature (small vesicles with fluid);
- edema of the phalanges;
- keratin stratification and plate thickening;
- unpleasant odor from the hands.
Basically, the nail fungus begins to develop along the edges (as in the photo below). When the symptoms of the disease began to appear, sometimes it is enough to cut off the damaged area of the plate and treat the remaining surface with an antimycotic agent. If you do not start fighting the infection in time, then it will soon occupy a large area.
Types of fungal infection affecting the fingernails
Medicine has thousands of types of fungal pathogens, but only a fraction of them are localized in the structure of the nail plates. These include:
- Dermatophytes. Infection with this type of mycosis is characterized by the formation of light bands along the edges and in the middle of the nail. According to this feature, it can be distinguished from other varieties of pathogenic microflora;
- Moldy. The most common type of onychomycosis. With it, the plate can not only turn yellow, but also turn green, turn blue and even black. Sometimes the keratin surface is covered with spots of different shades;
- Yeast. The simplest type of fungus that is easy to catch even with a short handshake with a pathogen carrier. It affects all layers of the plate, when the form is launched, even its bed reaches, because of which the nail grows already infected. It is treated with almost all existing antimycotic agents of local action.
Stages of Onychomycosis
There are four stages of the development of nail fungus on the hands:
- Initial. Symptoms of the disease are still absent, therefore, it can be detected only at the time of blood donation for analysis;
- Average. The nail loses its luster, becomes dull, the deformation of its structure begins, noticeable when examining the plate under a magnifying glass or using a dermatoscope (at the doctor);
- Active. The pronounced signs of the fungus appear: keratin changes its color, a burning sensation is felt under it, the remaining symptoms begin to appear. At this stage, the plate is affected by 1/3. At this time, you need to immediately take up treatment;
- Launched. The nail thickens, the symptoms intensify in the evening to such an extent that the patient cannot sleep peacefully. The plate crumbles, exfoliates, sometimes falls off in pieces. Fingers swell, hurt. Performing household tasks (washing, cleaning, cooking, etc.) becomes impossible. The only correct solution to the problem in this case is the complete removal of the plate in the clinic. To treat onychomycosis at the third stage of development is already useless.
Methods for diagnosing nail mycosis
It would seem that the symptoms of onychomycosis are such that it cannot be confused with anything else, but this is not so. Destruction of the structure of the nails on the hands can occur for the following reasons:
- finger injury, for example, a blow with a hammer or pinched door, after which the color of keratin changes and swelling of the tissues around it forms;
- lack of vitamins in the body, due to which the plate dims, crumbles;
- the use of low-quality decorative varnishes, causing a change in the appearance of the nail.
To be sure that the plates are really affected by the fungus, you should go to a dermatologist. Only a doctor can distinguish mycosis from other ailments and prescribe the necessary treatment. In addition, the doctor will give direction to a laboratory examination – a set of procedures that help establish the type of disease, the strain of pathogenic microflora, its sensitivity to drugs and the stage of infection.
Diagnosis of onychomycosis is carried out in the following ways:
- PCR (polymerase chain reaction);
- mycological research;
- potassium hydroxide test.
In all these cases, a scraping is taken from the nail plate, which is sent to the laboratory. There it is treated with reagents, examined under a microscope and checked for light (UV) and drug sensitivity. After the laboratory assistant makes a conclusion and sends the results to the doctor, who selects the necessary treatment regimen according to them.
Hand nail fungus treatment
The choice of the method of combating onychomycosis depends on the stage of its development:
- at the beginning it is permissible to use traditional medicine;
- Medium and active medications are necessary, both external and oral (tablets);
- If you are running, you need to consult a surgeon or a cosmetologist.
Healers offer a lot of "grandmother" recipes that can quickly save a person from the mild stage of onychomycosis. Below are the best and safest of them:
- Vinegar baths. A liter of hot water (40-43 degrees) is poured into a ceramic plate, 2 tablespoons of apple essence and a handful of plain or sea salt are added to it. Everything is thoroughly mixed. Only the fingertips are dipped into the resulting solution and aged in it for about 10-15 minutes. After the hands are dried, the nails are trimmed well and polished with a nail file. Repeat the procedure every day until the signs of the fungus disappear;
- Celandine compresses. 300 g of a fresh plant is passed through a meat grinder, after the pulp is squeezed out, and orange juice is poured into a glass. Boiled water is added there. A piece of gauze (5×5 cm) is moistened in the liquid, folded in the form of a small pad and applied on top of the diseased nail, fixing with a plaster on a fabric basis. The compress is removed after half an hour. Treatment lasts about 3 weeks, provided that gauze is applied at least twice a day;
- Hydrogen Peroxide Lotions. Peroxide has a strong antifungal effect, despite the fact that it is a simple and affordable antiseptic sold in a pharmacy without a prescription. In the fight against onychomycosis, it is used as follows: cotton wool is wetted in solution, applied on top of the affected plate and fixed with adhesive plaster. An hour later, it is removed, and the fingers and the area between them are rubbed with peroxide. Rinse hands do not need. Therapy with this tool takes 2-3 weeks. Lotions are applied three times a day with an interval of 4 hours;
- Nail treatment with iodine. An alternative to using hydrogen peroxide was the deposition of iodine on a keratin plate. To do this, you need a jar with a disinfectant and a cotton swab. It is moistened in a solution and the infected nail is rubbed twice a day until the fungus is completely cured. The disadvantage of this method is that iodine stains the plate in a dark color, which does not look too nice;
- Baths with potassium permanganate. Potassium permanganate is in almost every house. It is added to the water when bathing children, a solution based on it sterilizes dishes and things or disinfects wounds. However, these are not all situations in which it may be useful. Manganese also helps to cure the first stage of onychomycosis and for this you need to dissolve 4-5 crystals of the drug in a liter of warm water. Hands are dipped in it for 20 minutes, after which they are dried in air (do not wipe with a towel). Baths are carried out daily for a month. To enhance the therapeutic effect of potassium permanganate and get rid of the fungus faster, it is recommended to combine water procedures with compresses from celandine or lotions with peroxide.
How to cure nail fungus in the second and third stages
At the middle and active stage of the development of onychomycosis, pharmacy preparations of local action should be used. All of them are divided into several categories:
- medicinal varnishes;
These drugs differ from each other not only in the form of release and method of use. They have different composition and degree of effectiveness.
This type of drug is recognized as the most convenient option for combating mycosis of the nail plates on the hands. The antimycotic solution is colorless and odorless, is applied to the keratin layer using the applicator brush and creates a dense film on its surface, under which the pathogenic microflora is destroyed. The duration of treatment for onychomycosis with varnishes is only 3 weeks, and the processing of the plates is carried out once every 3 days.
The following drugs are included in the list of popular drugs of this pharmacological group:
Ointments are less in demand than varnishes and other dosage forms of antifungal agents. The reason for this is too long absorption of the composition into the nail. However, they have one significant advantage – they can process both the plate and the skin of the hands, on which the spores of pathogenic fungi are also located.
The list of the best ointments for onychomycosis:
Each of the listed drugs has a list of contraindications, therefore, before choosing a medicine, you need to consult a doctor. In particular, a visit to a dermatologist is required if mycosis of the nails on the hands has been detected in a child.
The liquid form of antimycotics for external use is good because the solutions are quickly absorbed into the dense keratin layer, reach its bed and remove all the unpleasant symptoms of the disease. In addition, they include substances to which pathogenic microflora do not develop resistance, so drops are allowed to be used even with a large area of damage to the plate.
The following drugs in the form of solutions are able to effectively cure onychomycosis:
- Fungi Nail;
Gels from onychomycosis
Gels, unlike ointments, are easily distributed on the surface of the plate and soak all its layers. They can be used both for normal nail processing, and in the form of compresses. In the latter case, the drug is squeezed onto gauze, folded several times, after which it is applied on top of the keratin layer and fixed with a medical tape. The procedure is carried out 2-3 times a day for the period specified in the instructions.
The list of effective gels that can easily cure nail fungus on the hands includes such drugs:
- Misol from Evalar;
Treatment of neglected nail fungus in the clinic
It happens that a person is not able to immediately determine that he is infected with a fungus, and slowly responds to changes in the appearance of the nail plate, which is why the disease progresses rapidly. As a result, pathogenic microflora affects more than half of the keratin layer, and the only way out in this situation is to remove it. After the operation, a new, healthy nail grows in its place, and the risk of relapse of the fungus is reduced to zero.
At the medical center, the patient will be offered two procedures to choose from – surgery or hardware manicure. The first method is painful, requires local anesthesia and is accompanied by bleeding. The second method does not have these disadvantages, therefore it is more popular among patients, but it has a minus – high cost. One procedure will cost 500-600 rubles (for 1 nail).
A hardware manicure session takes place in stages:
- Examination of the hands and determination of the stage of development of onychomycosis;
- Processing the plate with antiseptic agents;
- Application to the nail of preparations with a softening property (keratolytics);
- Layer-by-layer plate removal with a milling cutter with interchangeable nozzles;
- Final finger treatment with an antimycotic drug.
After the procedure, the specialist gives the patient recommendations on the prevention of onychomycosis, advises drugs to prevent the inflammatory process and the formation of ulcers at the site of the removed nail. After this, you can immediately go home and not worry that the fungus will return again.