Did you know that one in ten people have nail fungus in the US? This condition, also called onychomycosis, is very common, and it becomes increasingly so as people age. By the time you’re in your 70s, you have a 50% chance of having this fungal infection. While it might start out mild, it can cause pain and even trouble walking if it gets out of hand. At Oceana Luxe Medspa in Corpus Christi, TX, we offer laser treatment to address the condition.
So, how exactly do you know that you have onychomycosis? The answer is that you’ll be able to tell by the color, shape, and thickness of your nails. There are several fungi that cause this problem, and nails can also suffer from bacterial or viral infections. You’ll know that you have a fungus because your nails will become yellow, brown, or white. Other kinds of infections might turn them green or even black.
What Are the Symptoms of Nail Fungus?
The most common symptom of fungus is a change in the appearance of your affected fingernails and toenails. The condition generally begins as a yellow or brown spot under the tip or at the side of your nail. As the fungus grows, it spreads all over the nail, which might change its color, become thicker, and become more brittle. Often, the infection spreads from one nail to several others, and sometimes to the entire foot or hand.
Many people with fungus experience problems such as crumbling and the deterioration of the nails. In some cases, the fingernails or toenails become painful, or they detach completely from the foot or hand. They can also become smelly. However, onychomycosis isn’t always painful or easy to spot, and some people delay getting treated because they don’t experience any discomfort, or they don’t notice their infection for several weeks.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Almost anyone can get onychomycosis, but there are certain factors that make an infection more likely. People who are older and those who already have another skin or nail injury are more likely to suffer from this condition than younger people who don’t have any issues yet. Similarly, people with skin conditions like psoriasis are more at risk.
Several lifestyle factors, such as wearing shoes that make your feet sweat a lot or walking barefoot in public showers and swimming pools, increase your risk of infection. Although conditions like diabetes or issues with blood flow might not increase your risk, they can complicate onychomycosis, so people suffering from these diseases will need to see a doctor as soon as they notice any changes to the fingernails or toenails.
How To Prevent Fungus
There’s a lot you can do to prevent getting fungus on your nails. Always wear slippers when you’re in public places, especially when there is a lot of water on the floor. Make sure your feet don’t sweat too much in your shoes and choose breathable materials whenever possible. If you have sweaty feet, remove your shoes as soon as you can and change your socks at least once a day. Every time you wash your feet, dry your nails, so no moisture is left behind.
You can also prevent nail problems by frequently cutting your nails straight across, so there is less potential for infection. Smooth down the ends with a file if necessary, and file away any thickened sections of your nails. If you’re worried about the risk of fungus, disinfect your nail clippers and your older shoes on a regular basis, and use a nail salon that always sterilizes tools in between users. People who have athlete’s foot need to get it treated as soon as possible.
Do I Need To See a Specialist?
Most people who have onychomycosis don’t start out by seeing a specialist because the condition is sometimes treatable at home. There are many remedies available at local supermarkets and drug stores, and you could try one of them first. However, these creams and ointments aren’t always effective, and even if your fungus goes away, it could recur in the future.
If you have persistent fungus on your fingernails and toenails and you’re worried about pain, how your nails look, or how the condition affects your ability to walk, don’t hesitate to reach out to a specialist. There are various treatment methods available, some of which don’t involve surgery and a lengthy recovery period. Remember, nail fungus gets worse over time, so it’s better to have it seen by a specialist early on than to struggle with it on your own for years.
How Is Fungus Treated?
People who have a new fungal infection on their nails can start by trying over-the-counter medication. Maybe the problem isn’t advanced enough to require treatment at a clinic or a doctor’s office. However, you might find that antifungal creams or pills don’t produce long-term results. What’s more, many treatments, like antifungal nail polish, might take up to a year to work.
Most patients don’t want to wait that long to reclaim their beautiful, smooth nails. For that reason, some of them visit their doctor, who might recommend stronger medication or nail removal surgery. But this isn’t generally necessary, and there is an even better solution out there. Laser fungus treatment is minimally invasive, and it can provide you with fast results.
Laser Fungus Treatment
Here at Oceana Luxe Medspa, we often suggest laser nail treatment for people with persistent onychomycosis. This treatment is simple and effective, but it doesn’t require you to take any time off work or walk on crutches. We will simply apply light energy to your affected nails, which penetrates the tissue and kills any fungus in its path. At the same time, the laser promotes the growth of your nails, so you’ll soon have new, healthy tissue.
What To Expect at the Clinic
Before we approve you for laser nail treatment, we will evaluate your situation to make sure it is safe for you and to come up with a treatment plan. You might have to come to the clinic three to five times, depending on the severity of your fungus and the desired results. Each appointment will take around 30 minutes, and you will be able to walk out and resume your normal routine right away.
Because your nails don’t have sensation, it’s unlikely that you will feel any pain during this treatment. What’s more, there are no harmful side effects, which you might experience if you took oral medication for your fungus. Although laser treatment for onychomycosis is relatively new, the results are extremely promising, and the vast majority of patients have seen clear nail growth, even after just one session.
Supporting Your Treatment
The organisms that cause fungus on the nails are present in our everyday environment, so it’s possible that you will get reinfected after your treatment is over. To minimize the chances of this happening, you can follow the best practices described above, which include not walking barefoot in public places and keeping your feet as dry as possible.
If you have significant pain associated with your nails or they are very thick, we might ask you to trim them and file them down before every session. That way, it is easier for the laser to do its job, and you might already start to feel some relief. Leading a healthy lifestyle and eating foods that contain a lot of biotin, such as seeds, nuts, and certain vegetables, could support your body in fighting off fungal infections.
What Else Can Be Addressed by Laser Treatment?
Onychomycosis is just one of the conditions that can be addressed with laser energy. Here at the clinic, we offer a range of treatments with our noninvasive laser devices. For example, you could get unwanted hair removed from your body, reduce some of the symptoms of aging like wrinkles and sagging skin, or get rid of skin conditions like rosacea. The best way to find out about all our treatments is to book an initial consultation.
Get Rid of Stubborn Fungus on Your Nails Now
Nail fungus is an extremely common problem, affecting millions of Americans. It causes thick, brittle, discolored nails that sometimes hurt or even fall off, and it is frequently caught in public places where people walk without shoes, such as swimming pools and public showers. Get in touch with us at Oceana Luxe Medspa in Corpus Christi, TX to find out more about laser treatment for onychomycosis and to book your consultation.