How to treat nail fungus and what causes it

fungus on the nails

Nail fungus (onychomycosis), like other fungal diseases, is contagious and spreads from person to person.

The skin and nails of the feet are most commonly affected by the fungus. This is due to a favorable environment for the reproduction of the fungus (neutral or alkaline), which is formed during the process of sweating of the feet when wearing closed shoes.

The risk of contracting a fungal infection depends on age, profession, state of health, as well as on the social and climatic conditions in which the person finds himself.

The disease usually begins on the skin of the feet, most often develops between the toes, and then spreads to the nails.

The main causes of nail fungus are:

  • poor foot hygiene;
  • lack of removable shoes in baths, swimming pools, public showers;
  • prolonged wearing of closed (wet) shoes;
  • increased leg sweating;
  • decreased immunity;
  • damage (cracks, sores) on fingernails and toenails;
  • frequent use of oral contraceptives or antibacterial drugs;
  • a number of diseases, including diabetes, obesity.


The fungus is difficult to cure because it easily migrates from diseased parts of the body to healthy ones. And therefore, in the treatment of this disease, it is important to be especially careful when caring for the affected areas of the nails and skin, using individual tools and care items for their treatment or disinfecting them afteruse.

The external manifestation of onychomycosis and how to most effectively treat nail fungus depends on the type of pathogen, as well as the depth and extent of its spread.

There are the following types of onychomycosis:

  • Normotrophic, in which the nail plate changes color, retaining its structure and shine.
  • Hypertrophic - dullness, deformation of the nail plate, ingrown nails add to the color change.
  • The onycholytic type is characterized by the destruction of the nail and its rejection from the nail bed.

At the slightest suspicion of nail fungus, you should contact a specialist for a medical examination and take the necessary tests to identify the type of pathogen. In addition, the attending physician draws up a therapeutic program for the treatment of the fungus and makes recommendations.

The treatment of onychomycosis is complex. Medications are used for local effects on the fungus (creams, ointments, varnishes), and systemic drugs are also taken. It is possible to cure onychomycosis with topical agents without internal medication at the initial stage of the disease, in which the nail is affected no more than 2/3. The duration of treatment is from 3 months to 1 year.

How to treat nail fungus and between the toes using topical medications:

  • Before using topical medications, you should do a foot bath. Components such as laundry soap, soda, salt can be added to the water.
  • Softened nails are treated with nail files in order to remove as much of the surface affected by the fungus as possible. The infected surface of the skin between the fingers is treated with a brush. To prevent the spread of infection, you cannot use the same instrument for diseased and healthy nails at the same time. The same applies to the tool that treats the skin between the fingers.
  • After the procedure of cleaning the affected surfaces of the legs, they must be thoroughly dried.
  • Nail polish is applied to prevent nail fungus. When working with varnishes, you must strictly follow the instructions.
  • The skin between the fingers is lubricated with an antifungal cream or ointment.

The treatment of nail fungus on the hands proceeds in the same way. Many women are frustrated with the unsightly appearance of nails with onychomycosis, especially on the hands.

Some antifungal varnishes allow you to apply a decorative coating to the drug. The advisability of using such means can only be said by a doctor in each case, depending on the form and stage of the disease.

An effective remedy for nail fungus in traditional and folk medicine

Nail fungus is not easy to cure. In advanced cases, it may even be necessary to remove the nail plate. Therefore, the effectiveness of treatment directly depends on the stage of development of the disease.

The earlier the treatment is started, the shorter its duration and the better the result.

There are many remedies for the treatment of onychomycosis, both medicinal and folk.

Their main objective:

  • fight against a fungal pathogen;
  • softening of the nail tissue in order to remove the affected surface;
  • increased local immunity;
  • acceleration of the growth of the nail plate;
  • nutrition and healing of living tissues.

To select an effective remedy for nail fungus, you need to know the type of pathogen, as well as the depth to which it has penetrated the layers of the nail and the nail bed.

Therefore, when self-medicating, people are sometimes surprised that the same medicine will cure one person and turn out to be useless for another.

Modern drugs and drugs to combat onychomycosis

In order to quickly and effectively cure the fungus, it is necessary to take systemic drugs. Modern antimycotic drugs of general action are able to cope with any pathogen of the fungus and provide complete recovery in about 90% of cases.

However, taking such drugs can adversely affect the work of some internal organs, so their use has contraindications.


In the event that taking medication inside is not possible, topical medications are prescribed. Such treatment turns out to be longer and more expensive, but in many cases a well-chosen remedy leads to complete recovery.

Modern and effective means for the local treatment of onychomycosis without taking oral medications are varnishes against nail fungus.

Antifungal varnishes are prescribed if:

  • the disease is at an early stage;
  • there are contraindications to taking systemic drugs;
  • the nail root is not affected by the fungal infection.

Antifungal varnishes are oil or alcohol based. For successful treatment of onychomycosis, it is important to choose the right varnish, depending on its active ingredient and concentration. Lacquers easily penetrate the layers of the nail and block the development of infection, adversely acting on the pathogen and preventing it from multiplying.

In the event that there is not enough varnish for the treatment of the fungus and there are no contraindications to taking systemic drugs, oral tablets are prescribed for the timely and effective treatment ofonychomycosis. These drugs are selected individually by the attending physician.

Systemic preparations in the form of tablets are produced on the basis of the following active ingredients:

  • Terbinafine. A powerful substance and therefore the most effective. It is used daily at 250 mg. Terbinafine tablets have many side effects and should therefore be taken with caution.
  • Ketoconazole. Take 200 mg tablets. every day for 3 months. During treatment, it is necessary to monitor the condition of the liver and kidneys due to the high toxicity of the substance.
  • Fluconazole. It is used for 3-6 months once a week, 150 mg. It has a detrimental effect on almost all types of fungi, and therefore is considered universal.
  • Itraconazole. Take 200mg. 1 per day. The duration of treatment is 3 months. Such a rapid treatment is explained by the high degree of absorption of the active substance by the body, but there are also many contraindications.

With a complete lesion of the nail plate, its deformation and delamination, the nail must be removed. For this, special drugs are used.

Folk remedies for the treatment of nail fungus

kombucha for nail fungus

Despite the variety and high effectiveness of drugs against nail fungus, folk remedies are no less popular.

Each of them will help get rid of the disease, if chosen correctly and used at an early stage of the disease.

The advantage of this treatment, as opposed to antifungal therapy, is that there are few or even no side effects when the drug is used correctly.

The disadvantage of treating onychomycosis with folk remedies is the lack of a positive effect and aggravation of the situation due to lost time. During this time, the fungal infection can spread and make the nails harder to heal. Therefore, you cannot self-medicate. Before using selected folk remedies for nail fungus, it is imperative to consult a specialist.

What does traditional medicine offer for the treatment of onychomycosis:

  • The vinegar. Effective even in the advanced form of the disease. This is due to the fact that the fungus grows in an alkaline environment, and an acidic environment is detrimental to it. This drug is used in the form of lotions, foot baths, as an ingredient for making a cream. Use wine, apple cider vinegar and vinegar essence at a concentration not exceeding 9%.
  • Iodine. It is an excellent antiseptic with fungicidal properties. However, the effectiveness of its action is high only at the initial stage of onychomycosis, when there is no deep penetration of the fungus and the nail is affected less than half. It is applied by application to the affected surface of the nail, as well as a bath component.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. Opinions on the benefits of this remedy to combat the fungus vary. In any case, in the treatment of onychomycosis, hydrogen peroxide will help disinfect the nails during the procedures, since it easily penetrates into the deep layers of the nail plate.
  • Celandine. A powerful remedy that can be used in advanced forms of the fungus. Treatment should be precise, within reasonable limits, as this plant is poisonous. Used as a tincture (lubricated nails), as well as a component for the preparation of ointments and baths.
  • Tea mushroom. Able to kill pathogenic bacteria and delay their development. It is used as a compress or in friction.

Creams and ointments for nail fungus and leg skin

Often, onychomycosis is accompanied by a fungal infection of the skin of the toes.

In this case, it is advisable to apply ointment or cream for nail fungus for local treatment.

It is not only a universal remedy, but also cheaper than antifungal varnishes.

Another benefit of this topical remedy for the condition is that the nail fungus ointment is easy to apply.


Salicylic, sulfuric and zinc ointments are also successfully used against fungal nail infections.

Any ointment or cream for nail fungus is applied not only to the affected surfaces of the nails and skin, but also to the healthy tissues adjacent to them. Thus, the spread of infection is blocked.

Features of the treatment of fungi in advanced form and prevention

If the fungus is not treated, the entire surface of the nail plate becomes infected, which leads to deformation of the nail and detachment of the nail bed.

It is very difficult to cure a fungus in a neglected form. Local therapy alone is not enough and systemic drugs are needed.

In some cases, treatment is unnecessary and the nail plate is removed by the following means:

  • drugs that loosen the nail;
  • surgical scalpel;
  • laser.

Removal of the nail plate can lead to various complications, for example, violation of the correct growth of the nail (curvature or ingrown nail plate). In order not to expose yourself to such troubles, the fungus should be treated in time, and even better to prevent its appearance.

Prevention of fungal nail diseases:

  • maintain foot hygiene;
  • mandatory wearing of removable shoes in public showers, baths, swimming pools;
  • refusal to share clothing, shoes and personal care items (towels, washcloths) with other people;
  • treatment and disinfection of wounds and cracks of fingers and toenails;
  • prompt access to a doctor if a fungal infection is suspected;
  • prevention of immunosuppression.