What is Nail Fungus Infection?
Nail fungus infection develops when fungus attacks one or a few of your nails. This condition is also quite commonly referred to as Onychomycosis. Depending on how severe your infection is it might affect all nail (bed, plate and root) or only part of it. Also you should know that based on the type of fungus infection you have, it might affect nail and skin or only nail. In most cases fungal infection starts when fungi attacks your nail through a space, which is present between nail bed and your nail or it can also enter through skin cuts that are around your nails.
In the beginning of infection you will notice a small spot under your toenail or fingernail, which can be either yellow or white. When this condition progresses you nail will become discolored and thicker. Also for some people this infection causes nail splitting and crumbling, which might even lead to nail separation from the skin.
Is it Necessary to Treat it?
While it is not a very dangerous condition for people who have a strong immune system and are healthy in general it is important to treat it. This is because when this infection is left untreated it can do a permanent damage to your nail bed or nail itself. Also it is not a condition that would go away on its own and if it is left untreated it might even get worse. Many people choose to treat nail fungus, because it doesn’t look good and it might even cause discomfort if the fungus is present in toenails. Some people who have toenail fungus infection complain that it is uncomfortable to wear shoes, stand for a long time or walk. The other reason why you should consider treatment for this infection the minute you notice it, is because it might spread to other nails. When this happens you will need longer and more costly treatment, so the sooner you will start the treatment the better. Also since this infection can be passed to other people you are putting your family members in a greater risk of getting this infection too.
Causes and Types of Nail Fungus Infection.
While it is possible to have fingernail fungus infection you should know that it is more common to get toenail infection. There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that it is much easier for fungus to thrive in toenails, because your feet “spend part of the day” in shoes. Wearing shoes throughout the day create moist and warm environment, which is perfect for fungi to survive and grow. The second reason is that there is less blood circulation in your toes when compared to your fingers, which makes it more difficult for your immune system to find this infection and overcome it.
In most cases Nail Fungus infection is caused by different types of fungus such as dermatophyte (~90% of cases), candida and mold. You can get in contact with these fungus and get nail fungus infection while sharing hygiene items (nail clippers and towels) or walking without shoes in public places (swimming pools, locker rooms and public showers). It is also worthwhile to mention that you can get this condition if you have Athlete’s foot, since it is caused by the same type of fungus that can spread from your skin to nails.
Depending on what type of fungus that caused your infection, the symptoms might be a bit different. In case your infection was caused by dermatophyte fungi you can either have Distal Subungual or White Superficial Onychomycosis. When fungus affects both nail bed and skin, which is beneath the nail, this means that you have Distal Subungual Onychomycosis. You can recognize this type of infection by yellow spots that are present in the nail bed and build up of debris bellow the nail. Also nail usually becomes thicker and discolored and it can even become separated from the skin. The other type, which is White Superficial Onychomycosis is a bit less serious since it only affects nail surface. You can recognize this type of infection by white color spots that appear on the surface of nail. Since it only affects your nail it will not become separated from the skin, like the first mentioned type of nail fungus. Once this infection progresses surface of your nail might become crumbly and change color to either gray or brown. When nail fungus infection is caused by candida, this condition is called Candida Onychomysis. However this type is very unusual and happens only for a very small number of people.