Fungal nails are one of the most embarrassing problems that people have with their feet. How do you know if you have a fungal nail? If your nail tends to be yellow, softened, discolored and many times it can become thick and difficult to trim. You may try to hide your nails by wearing socks or not wearing flip flops in the summertime. Other people notice there is a buildup underneath of the nails that is not pleasant or not attractive to them. And when you look at treating how you are going look to treat a fungal toenail there’s basically four options: three treatment options and one other option.
Option number one – you can do nothing. You have an option to just trim your nails or have someone trim your nails periodically if they are thickened and for a lot of older people this is the best option for them because they don’t want to be bothered with the medication or other types of treatment.
Number two – topical medication. If you look on line or on the television there are hundreds of topical types of medications. Anything from tea tree oil to Vicks vapor rub to a special potion that they sell on the internet. All of these are only about twenty to thirty percent effective and they are more effective on nails that aren’t totally thickened. Meaning if you have an edge of the nail or a portion of the nail that’s thickened or slightly discolored they tend to work better for these types of nails. My one tip for you if you want to use a topical medication is to get one that has a money back guarantee. That way if it doesn’t work you can get your money back and have not lost any money. One of the best ones that I am aware of is called Formula 3, it’s sold in many doctor offices.
Number three – oral antifungal. The main type of antifungal that is used to treat fungal toenails is called Lamisil. Don’t confuse this with the Lamisil cream that you can buy over the counter to put on your athletes foot. This medication is generically called terbinafine, it is 250mg each tablet and you take one tablet a day for three months. Even though it takes nine months for your new nail to grow back you only take the medication for three months. Many of my patients are confused at this. The reason you only take it for three months is because it goes into your blood stream and it is excreted or used in your body through the liver and that’s why even though you take it for three months it remains in your blood stream for a period of time while your body is processing it. That is why, before taking it you need to have a liver exam to make sure everything is ok with your liver. So you can see that only three months is necessary of this medication and it’s important not to stop early and it’s also important not to take it longer because just because you take it longer doesn’t mean that it will work longer. Statistics show those three months is enough time to clear and give you a brand new nail.
Number four: if you don’t want to take any medicine at all and your not convinced of the topical medication or maybe you have a problem with your liver the best treatment for you is a new fungal laser. This uses high energy laser beams to clean up the nail and as well the fungus that lives in the nail. Once this is done the fungus dies in the nail and when the new nail grows out it grows out clean without any fungus. The total time of treatment is about the same, nine months for a nail to grow out. There are no side effects with this treatment and it is very effective. These tend to be preferred by a lot of individuals that don’t want to take any medication but still want to take care of their fungal nails. I hope that this is helpful for your treatment of fungal nails.
To your health,
Dr. Donald Pelto