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Skin & Beauty

How to Know if Toenail Fungus is Dying (Ultimate Guide)

BY PUREHEALTH RESEARCH | December 12, 2023

A Person’s Foot With Tiny Mushrooms on It Who Is Unaware on How to Know if Toenail Fungus is Dying

How to know if toenail fungus is dying? Understanding this question can provide considerable relief to those grappling with this common and often visually distressing condition. Toenail fungus is a widespread problem, affecting roughly 10% of the population worldwide. It starts subtly, often revealing itself through minor changes in your nail’s color and texture. Over time, if left untreated, it could lead to a thicker, brittle nail and, in severe cases, even cause the nail to separate from the nail bed.

As important as initiating treatment is, learning how to tell if toenail fungus is healing plays a critical role in the recovery journey. The step-by-step transformation in your infected nail can give essential insights into the effectiveness of the ongoing treatment. This knowledge reassures you that your recovery is progressing well, and can also help in deciding whether to continue with your current treatment plan or not.

The subtle nature of toenail fungus means that those not paying sufficient attention to their feet might overlook a burgeoning infection. Therefore, prompt detection and initiation of treatment are essential. This article will guide you through this journey, helping you understand toenail fungus, its treatment options, and most importantly, how to decipher the signs of its healing process.

How to Know if Toenail Fungus Is Dying?

You may wonder how to know if toenail fungus is dying, but the signs may not always be initially apparent. These types of infections can be difficult to treat, and they can take a long time. Depending on how bad the infection is, it might take from 3 to 18 months to clear up.

Regardless of the type of treatment you choose, whether you are using home remedies, over-the-counter antifungals, or a prescription from a doctor, it will take some time. When you are undergoing your treatment, you will want to pay close attention to your nails, so you can see when it starts to work. you will look for a new, healthy nail that is growing from the nailbed. You can also read our article about the best ways to get rid of your toenail fungus.

Of course, you will want to keep in mind that it can take quite a while for a full toenail to grow back. On average, a nail is going to grow about 1.62 mm per month. This means that it is going to take a few months to start to see significant progress. It is important to remain steadfast with whatever treatments you use to get to that point. If your infection isn’t entirely gone and you stop treatment, it will likely return.

The area of the nail that has been infected won’t ever “get rid” of the infection no matter what sort of treatment you use. What you will need to do instead is continue to trim your nail as it grows until all of the nail that was infected is gone. Make sure you clean and disinfect your clippers when you use them, as well. Otherwise, you might spread the fungus.

This is something to know if your toenail fungus is dying. Remember that it spreads in warm, dark, moist environments. This is true of all fungi including athlete’s foot, ringworm, etc.

What Causes Toenail Fungus?

Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is primarily caused by different types of fungi, including dermatophytes, which are the most common culprits. These microscopic organisms thrive in warm, moist environments and can invade your nail through tiny cuts in your skin or under the nail edge.

However, it’s crucial to note that dermatophytes aren’t the sole cause of nail infections. Yeasts and molds, particularly Candida, and non-dermatophyte molds can also lead to nail infections. Certain bacteria can even result in infections, often leading to a green or black discoloration of the nail.

Another critical aspect to consider is the potential for cross-infection. Fungal foot infections, such as Athlete’s Foot, can spread to the toenails and vice versa. Similarly, an untreated nail infection could also proliferate to other body parts if left unchecked, exacerbating the condition.

Moreover, various factors contribute to the development of toenail fungus, including age, a weakened immune system, sweaty feet, walking barefoot in damp communal areas like swimming pools and gyms, previous nail injury, and underlying conditions like diabetes.

A comprehensive understanding of what causes toenail fungus is vital to both its treatment and prevention. This knowledge is especially important when you’re trying to discern the stages of toenail fungus healing. For a more detailed exploration of this topic, be sure to check out our other article on the causes of toenail fungus!

5 Stages of Toenail Fungus Healing

Comparison of Toenail Fungus on the Left and Normal Nail on the Right

Recognizing the stages of a dying toenail fungus often transpires beneath the surface, largely unobserved, yet it brings significant relief to those struggling with this common, yet troubling ailment. As treatments gradually disintegrate the fungus, they embark on the journey of restoring your toes and nails to optimal cleanliness and health. Despite progress initially seeming elusive, there are five distinguishable stages that suggest the effectiveness of your treatment and mark the path towards recovery. 

1. Initiation of Treatment

This is the stage where the fungal infection is typically at its highest level, causing various discomforts and physical changes to the toenail. What does toenail fungus look like? The infected toenail may appear discolored, thickened, and may emit an unpleasant odor. The commencement of an antifungal treatment, whether a topical solution or oral medication, starts here. It’s important to keep in mind that patience is key at this stage, as it may take some time before visible improvements appear.

2. Nail Color Changes

This stage brings the first visible evidence of improvement. As the antifungal treatment starts to work, the toenail gradually begins to lose the discoloration caused by the fungus. Instead of the yellow or white color often associated with a fungal infection, the nail will start to regain its normal, healthier-looking pink or clear color. This color transformation serves as a motivating sign that the treatment is starting to take effect.

3. Reduction of the Affected Area

As the treatment progresses, the area of the nail impacted by the fungus starts to decrease. This could manifest as a reduced patch of discoloration or an overall healthier appearance in a larger section of the nail. It’s a positive indication that the antifungal agent is successfully combating the fungus, shrinking its presence on the toenail.

4. Normalization of Nail Thickness

Toenail fungus often leads to a thickened nail, a symptom that can be both unsightly and uncomfortable. In this stage, as the fungus continues to be eradicated, the affected toenail starts to regain its normal thickness. It might become easier to trim, and the appearance will look more natural, reinforcing the progress of the healing process.

5. Symptom Relief

The final stage is marked by the alleviation of negative symptoms associated with the infection. Any foul odor originating from the fungus will dissipate, and any pain or discomfort that was present will start to subside. The overall health and appearance of the toenail will improve significantly. It’s crucial at this stage to continue with the prescribed treatment until completely healed to ensure the fungus is fully eradicated and doesn’t return.

Why Do You Need to Treat Toenail Fungus?

For starters, the fungus is unsightly, and you won’t want to be around anyone if you have to take off your shoes and socks. This means no pool parties, no soaking in a sauna, or even going barefoot around the house. The longer toenail fungus persists the worse it becomes.

Still, quite a few people end up letting it go untreated. They might feel that it is just an aesthetic issue, and they might not care what their toenails look like. This attitude tends to be more common with men than it does with women, but it can happen with anyone. However, it is important to understand that this is more than just cosmetic.

When you don’t get treatment for the toenail fungus, it could cause some other issues. As mentioned above, there is a chance that it could spread beyond the toenails to other parts of your body. It can also be contagious, which means you could end up infecting a lot of other people if you aren’t careful.

When left untreated, the nails will also often become misshapen, which can cause ingrown toenails. These can be extremely painful and difficult to deal with. They can dig into the flesh of your toes, and they could even result in a more serious infection.

There is some evidence from a study in 2012 published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that found having chronic toenail fungus could increase the risk of bacterial cellulitis in the legs. For those who have diabetes, toenail fungus can cause other dangers. It could lead to various foot problems and ulcers.

As you can see, the health risks associated with toenail fungus are a lot more serious than many people realize. If you see signs of fungus on your toenails, don’t wait. Make sure you are getting the treatment you need to get your nails back in good shape as soon as possible. The sooner you act, the better. Of course, not everyone bothers to see how serious the problem can be.

5 Common Toenail Fungus Treatments

A Treatment Is Applied to the Nail Affected by the Fungus

Navigating through various treatment options for toenail fungus can be overwhelming, given the array of choices available. To make your decision easier, we have curated a comprehensive list of five common treatments, ranging from topical and oral medications to surgical procedures.

1. Topical Antifungal Medications: These are creams, gels, or lacquers applied directly onto the affected nail. They work by killing the fungus or inhibiting its growth. While easy to apply, topical treatments might be less effective for severe infections because they struggle to penetrate the hard nail plate completely. Products like ciclopirox and efinaconazole are commonly used.

2. Oral Antifungal Medications: These include medicines like terbinafine and itraconazole that are taken orally to kill the fungus. They tend to work faster than topical treatments and are generally more effective as they circulate in the bloodstream and reach the infection site beneath the nail. However, they may have side effects, including potential liver damage, and are usually reserved for more severe infections or when topical treatments fail.

3. Laser Therapy: Also known as photodynamic therapy, this treatment uses lasers to kill the fungus. It’s a relatively new method and may be recommended when other treatments are ineffective. It’s generally painless and doesn’t have the same side effects as oral medication, but it can be costly and might not be covered by insurance.

4. Medicated Nail Polish and Creams: Medicated nail polish, such as ciclopirox (Penlac), and creams, like urea cream, are useful in treating nail fungus. You apply the polish or cream on the affected nails daily, and over time, it gradually kills the fungus. Urea cream can also soften the nail, making it easier for antifungal medication to penetrate.

5. Surgical Treatment: In severe cases or when pain is significant, the entire nail may need to be removed surgically. This allows direct application of antifungal drugs to the infected area and gives a new, healthy nail the opportunity to grow. Although it’s effective, this method is typically considered a last resort due to the discomfort and long recovery time associated with nail removal.

Addressing Toenail Fungus with Dietary Supplements

Toenail fungus, if left untreated for an extended period, can become quite stubborn and may require professional medical intervention. In such cases, doctors typically diagnose the condition and prescribe antifungal treatments or antibiotics.

For less severe instances, home remedies or over-the-counter antifungal treatments, available online and at local pharmacies, could be an effective first line of defense.

Minimizing the environment where the fungus can thrive is crucial in reducing recurrence. Consider discarding old socks potentially harboring the fungus or thoroughly treating shoes worn without socks with an antifungal spray instead of entirely disposing of them.

Incorporating dietary supplements into your regimen could offer additional assistance in combating toenail fungus. An option worth considering is PureHealth Research’s Fungus Eliminator. This supplement comprises a host of fungus-fighting and immunity-boosting ingredients, including garlic, wormwood, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, and oregano.

Fungus eliminator product by PureHealth Research

Endorsed by Dr. Holly Lucille, the Fungus Eliminator aims to not only fight off existing toenail fungus but also prevent future infestations. It’s easy to use and has proven effectiveness as part of a comprehensive toenail fungus treatment plan.

Final Thoughts

No one wants to go through the trouble of dealing with toenail fungus. It is difficult to catch early, which means it can spread without you being fully aware. However, following through with the right treatments can make a difference and can start the healing process. Now that you know how to tell if toenail fungus is healing, you will have a better understanding of just how long it might take for your nail to heal fully.

However, you will want to remain vigilant. Just because you were able to get rid of the fungus on your feet one day doesn’t mean that it can’t come back. Be wary of where you are putting your feet, clean them regularly, and look for signs of toe fungus. When you are undergoing treatments, make sure that you are vigilant and that you follow through with everything.

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