NAIL FUNGI

Causes, Symptoms and Experiences of Users of Spruce Products That Have Nail Fungus

Author: Matic Konc

used literature

published: 6/28/2019

updated: 8/4/2019

Nail fungus or onychomycosis is a common occurrence, usually starting with a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail. As the fungal infection spreads , the nail discolors, thickens, and the tip of the nail begins to disintegrate. Fungus on the nails, if left untreated, can also infect the skin of the foot, which is called athletic foot (Tinea Pedis).

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Nail fungus sometimes has the connotation in humans as if it were something contagious and

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consequence of poor hygiene. However, the truth is that as many as 10% of adults in the Western world become infected with nail fungus at least once in their lives. In adults over 60 years even 20% . Fungus on the toenails is much more common than on the hands. Nail fungus accounts for 50% of all nail diseases.

 

TYPES OF FUNGI ON NAILS

Depending on the onset and course of the infection, several types of nail fungus are distinguished. Even the most common pathogens vary by type. By far the most common type of infection is distal nail fungus. We distinguish the following types:

INTERLAYER NAIL FUNGI

Interlayer fungi on the nails (interlayer onychomycosis) settle and grow between the layers of the nail. In this type of infection, the nail becomes milky white and stratified . It usually does not thicken and does not separate from the nail bed.

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DISTAL NAIL FUNGI ON NAILS

Distal nail fungus on the nails (distal subungular onychomycosis)  are the most common form of infection. They usually appear at the free edge of the nail on the underside of the nail and spread towards the base. The nail becomes thick, yellow and brittle . The nail eventually separates from the nail bed . These nail fungus are more common on the feet than on the hands and most commonly start on the big toe. This form is caused by dermatophytes .

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PROXIMAL WHITE NAIL FUNGI ON NAILS

Proximal white nail fungus on the nail (proximal white subungual onychomycosis) is a rare form of infection and occurs in people with a weakened immune system , such as patients with HIV. The fungus enters along the cuticle and spreads along the crescent. The nail turns whitish . The causative agents of this form are most often molds .

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WHITE SURFACE FUNGI ON NAILS

White surface fungi  on the nails (white superficial onychomycosis) are also a rare form of infection that can occur in otherwise healthy individuals. It is caused by dermatophytes that grow on the top layer of the nail plate. They appear as pale, cloudy areas on the nail that slowly spread across the entire nail plate. The nail becomes soft and brittle.  This form of infection is more common in tropical climates.

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NAIL FUNGI CAUSED BY YEAST

Yeast fungus caused by yeast is quite rare. Yeasts of the genus Candida are better known as causative agents of vaginal fungus, but they are also normally present on the skin and intestines. The fungus can enter if the skin along the nail fold is damaged and inflamed . The nail thickens and separates from the nail bed if the inflammation is not eliminated in time. This type of infection is otherwise more common on the fingers. The most common causative agents are Candida parapsilosis and Candida guilliermondii , the better known Candida Albicans rarely.

NAIL FUNGI AND THE MOST COMMON CAUSES

 
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DERMATOPHYTES

In 68% of cases, nail fungi are caused by fungi from the group of dermatophytes. Of these, 91% are caused by the fungus Trichophyton Rubrum

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YEAST

Nail fungus is 29% caused by a yeast infection, most commonly Candida Parapsilosis (42%) and Candida Guiliermondii (20%), less commonly Candida Albicans (14%) and others.

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DANCE

Mold is a less common cause of nail fungus and occurs as a causative agent in 3% of all infections .

NAIL FUNGI REGARDING THE CAUSE OF INFECTION

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CONDITIONS THAT CAN BE CONSIDERED BY NAIL FUNGI

The unusual appearance of the nail, however, is not always necessarily associated with nail fungus. Other conditions can cause a similar appearance of the nail, so read which:

  • Dents and bumps on the nail are common and are usually normal. They often worsen during pregnancy . The indentation towards the middle of the nail occurs due to the biting of the nail or the cuticle next to the nail . For some people, such changes occur during chemotherapy treatment .

  • Brittle nails that eventually flake off can occur with prolonged exposure of the hands to water (for example, washing dishes without gloves ) can also resemble nail fungus.

  • White or yellow nails can be caused by onycholysis and are not necessarily nail fungus. Onycholysis is the separation of the nail plate from the nail bed. The nail becomes bright because there is air under it , instead of being fused with the nail bed. Onycholysis is usually the result of an injury, but it can be caused by constant and repetitive minor loads such as e.g. typing with long nails. Onycholysis passes on its own when a new nail grows.

  • A reddish or black nail is caused by a hematoma and occurs due to a blow to the nail. These are not fungi on the nails but clotted blood between the nail plate and the nail bed. A healthy nail will eventually outgrow the entire surface and the hematoma will disappear. If there is a black spot under the nail that is not the result of a blow, consult your doctor to rule out the possibility of melanoma with a biopsy. 

  • Green nail is also not a sign of nail fungus but can be a sign of being infected with a bacterium of the genus Pseudomonas. The infection is also accompanied by an unpleasant nail odor. The infection usually heals spontaneously with a nail clipper.

  • Holes and dimples on the nails can be caused by psoriasis and often occur in people with this disease. Many times the nail looks similar to nail fungus and many times a misdiagnosis occurs. 

  • Swelling and redness of the cuticle called paronychia or whitlow and s fairly common phenomenon. It is an infection of the nail fold and is most often caused by bacteria . Prolonged inflammation can also allow the entry of yeasts of the genus Candida and lead to a secondary infection, and in addition to the cuticle, fungi also form on the nails.

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