More than Aesthetics

Beware of a Fungal Infection

Otherwise known by the difficult-to-pronounce medical term "onychomyosis", the manifestation of yellow toenails on one's feet isn't just a pure aesthetically unpleasing occurence. While noone certainly wants to have yellow toenails protruding out of their sandals during a family beach and boardwalk outing, this discoloration can actually mean the beginning stages of the progression of a fungal infection. Dependent on where your yellow toenails are currently at in their progression, they may be as harmless as a simple common discoloration (resulting from a decreased supply of nutrients when the toenail becomes disattached from the nail bed) or they may appear brittle, hardened, and cracked. With early and late symptoms spanning a broad spectrum, it is common for one to experience significant amounts of pain as the fungal infection progresses.

Fortunately, there are a great deal of natural and home remedies, as well as, prescribed medicinal treatments, that you can certainly integrate into your arsenal of tools to combat this unpleasant ailment. While a common approach is to use many of these remedies and treatments, in conjunction, as apart of a multi-faceted approach, it is also very important that you speak to your physician about possible ways to cure this fungal infection. Be sure to understand that certain approaches may be more effective than others dependent upon just how far this fungal infection has progressed. What may work for a slightly discolored yellow toenail, may just not work the same for a toenail that has endured months or years of fungal infection decay to the point of becoming very painful and brittle.

Step #1

Develop Realistic Expectations

Dependent upon how far your yellow toenail fungal infection has progressed, it may be impossible to return them to their normal state no matter how many remedies and treatments you use. The natural progression of a fungal infection may not make it realistic to return completely to pristine toenail presentation. If your toenails are very yellow and cracked, some treatments may cause them to become a bit more smooth, while decreasing pain, although a yellow pigment discoloration may still remain to some extent. Developing realistic expectations will help you to also reevaluate your goals and keep your treatment in context of what is realistically possible.

Visiting your physician may be a viable option and may allow you to discuss realistic expectations regarding the potential outcomes of any treatment prescribed. Speaking with your physician will also provide you with the opportunity to discuss other viable treatment options and remedies, and if they would have a negative impact if used in conjunction. Oftentimes, prescription drugs can interact with herbs, and, if herbs are being considered by you for use, these may be a good time to discuss this option with you physician.

Step #2

Determine the Severity of Condition

While most yellow toenails manifest as a direct result of a fungal infection acquired from spending alot of time in public areas, like swimming pools, that are a moist breeding ground for germs and microrganism, it is also entirely possible that these toenails could simply be the result of an expressed genetic trait. If you have had discolored toenails for years, it is likely that your toenails won't progress any further. In these situations, one may consider wearing a colored nail polish in order to hide the evident yellow discloration.

As mentioned prior, the manifestation of significant pain may equate to a situation that is in need of urgent medical attention. If your yellow toenails have become this severe, it is important that you pay your doctor a visit. Generally, the best thing to do is to know and understand the progression of yellow toenails so that you can be as proactive as possible in your own treatment.

Step #3

Explore Home Remedies

Of course, before one sees a physician, it is natural for them to attempt to reverse any condition by using their own home remedies. While some may be very ineffective at reversing yellow toenail discoloration, there are other home remedies that have been proven to work very well. As mentioned, do be sure to seek medical attention if you attempt to use any substance or product in conjunction with home remedies. You may find that physicians may even actually recommend these home remedies on top of any medicinal prescription they may want you to take.

  • One doctor favorite remedy is the use of tea tree oil. With a cotton swab, you can rub this over your yellow toenails in either the morning or at night. You should be assure to apply this tea tree oil liberally, while covering as much nail surface area as possible on both the top and the bottom of the nail. In conjunction with tea tree oil, a paste of lemon and baking powder can also be made and applied to your toenails. These should both be treated as separate treatments, however, they can both be very effective when they are used during different times of the day. For example, you would use one during the day, and the other would be used at night, or vice-versa.

Baking soda is such an effective ingredient because it ultimately helps to deter fungus growth by its alkali binding with our body acids resulting in carbon-dioxide gas release.

  • When mixed together, oregano oil (2 teaspoon) and olive oil (1 teaspoon) can be extremely effective in combating your yellow toenail fungal infection. One reason why this mixture is so effective is because oregano is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial, that is composed of a substance called carvacrol. Carvacrol is very effective against fungal infections.
  • Much like the previous mentioned remedies, vinegar and water can also work very well in conjunction as a team. In a small tub or basin, you will proceed to soak your toenail in this solution once a day. You will then completely rinse and dry your feet once you have soaked them for at least 15 minutes.
  • Commonly placed under the nose to help open stuffy nasal passages, Vicks Vapor rub is a very useful home remedy that has been proven to work like a charm in treating the yellow discoloration accompanying a fungal infection. After spreading Vicks Vapor Rub over the affected toenail, you will then proceed to put on a pair of comfortable socks, and allow your feet to remain in them throughout the night. Water and soap will be used, in the morning, to wash off the Vapor Rub.

Step #4

Seek Medical Attention

While this step was actually mentioned earlier in this InfoBarrel article, it is completely up to you when you deem it necessary to seek medical care regarding your yellow toenail fungal infection. Many people oftentimes find it more convenient just to try home remedies first, while other's fungal infection progression may be so advanced that they have no other option but to seek out a medicinal prescription. Beyond recommended home remedies, you will find that your physician will more than likely also write you a prescription for such oral drugs as Griseofulvin or Sporanox. Both of these prescription drugs will be taking by mouth and can help to kill, and impede the growth, of any fungal infections.

As with any prescription medications, there can be side effects to be concerned about. For these particular oral medications, side effects can be as simple as a rash to as complex as liver failure. Be sure that your doctor has explained any potential medication side effects to you prior to you taking them.