What happens if toe fungus is not treated?

A severe case of nail fungus can be painful and may cause permanent damage to your nails. And it may lead to other serious infections that spread beyond your feet if you have a suppressed immune system due to medication, diabetes or other conditions.

What happens if you let toenail fungus go untreated?

The problem with not treating toenail fungus goes beyond continued discomfort and discoloration. If the fungus is allowed to continue growing, it can penetrate the skin under the nail and ultimately infect the toe itself. From there, the infection can spread to other parts of the body.

Can toenail fungus be life threatening?

It's not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and difficult to treat. The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted. Toenails are more frequently affected than the fingernails. The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.

Can you live with toenail fungus?

Fortunately, for most healthy adults toenail fungus doesn't pose any serious health risks. Toenail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. As the infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge.

Can toenail fungus get in your bloodstream?

Toenail fungus, after all, is hardly life-threatening. “It feeds on the skin; it doesn't go into the bloodstream, doesn't spread to other parts of the body,” says Dr. Richard Scher, nail specialist and professor of dermatology at Columbia University.

Meet a Toenail Fungus Expert

What is the number one cure for toenail fungus?

Terbinafine for toenail fungus treatment

The best pill for toenail fungus is terbinafine. Evidence suggests it works better than the alternatives with the fewest side effects. Terbinafine results in resolution of toenail fungus 76% of the time.

Can you get sick from toenail fungus?

Widespread infection.

If a toenail fungus spreads to the skin and causes it to crack, bacteria can get in. This may cause cellulitis, a condition that produces swollen, red, tender skin and must be treated with antibiotics, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Should I cut off toenail fungus?

Nail removal: If you have a severe infection or other treatments just don't work, your dermatologist may recommend removing the nail(s) to get rid of the infection.

Can toe fungus cause sepsis?

Approximately 15% of all infections are caused by fungi, and invasive fungal infections are an increasingly frequent cause of sepsis, particularly in critically ill patients. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that can result from an infection anywhere in the body.

Does sunlight help toenail fungus?

Fungus thrives in moist and dark places so give it some light. Keep them naturally dry by exposing them to the sun whenever you can.

How do you know if toenail fungus is severe?

If your nail gets brittle and breaks easily, it's a sign the fungal infection is changing the composition of the nail. If it becomes soft and chalky and starts to crumble away, the infection is starting to become severe.

When should I go to the doctor for toenail fungus?

Fungal nail infections can get worse over time. See your doctor if you notice your nail has turned brown or black, if it suddenly hurts, or if it pulls away from the nail bed.

How do you treat years of toenail fungus?

Your health care provider may prescribe antifungal drugs that you take by mouth (orally) or apply to the nail.
  1. Oral antifungal drugs. These drugs are often the first choice. ...
  2. Medicated nail polish. Your health care provider may prescribe an antifungal nail polish called ciclopirox (Penlac). ...
  3. Medicated nail cream.

How long can fungus live on toenails?

As fungal spores can stay dormant but viable for up to three months in their favoured environments, your family may still remain vulnerable long after you've started covering up your feet or taking other protective measures.

What are the stages of toenail fungus?

The Earliest Signs of a Fungal Toenail Infection
  • Unusual white or yellow streaks or spots in the nail.
  • Crumbling along the edges or tips of the nail, particularly where it's discolored.
  • Flaking of the nail in certain areas.
  • Increasing distortion of nail shape.
  • Potentially more noticeable foot odor.

Can toenail fungus spread internally?

Answer by dermatologist Corey Georgesen, MD:

Toenail fungus doesn't usually spread to inside your body, like the stomach. The fungi require keratin, found in your hair, skin and nails. They survive best on the skin.

Does toenail fungus indicate other health problems?

A severe case of nail fungus can be painful and may cause permanent damage to your nails. And it may lead to other serious infections that spread beyond your feet if you have a suppressed immune system due to medication, diabetes or other conditions.

What can toenail fungus lead to?

Most fungal nail infections are not serious. However, some people may experience pain or be bothered by the appearance of their nails. Fungal nail infections may cause nails to become discolored, thick, fragile, or cracked. The nail may also become separated from the nail bed.

What happens if fungus gets in your blood?

When Candida is in your bloodstream, the condition is called Candidemia. Candida infection can spread from your bloodstream to other parts of your body (such as your eyes, kidney, liver, and brain). If this happens, it is called Invasive Candidemia.

Is it OK to paint toenails with fungus?

Nail polish gives fungus an environment to thrive in. Non-medicated nail polish can be applied over antifungal nail polish. But it is best to avoid non-medicated nail polish entirely when you want your fungal infection to clear up. Non-medicated nail polish will make the antifungal treatment penetrate the nails slower.

Will toenail grow back after removal for fungus?

The wound should heal within a few weeks. Fingernails may take 6 months to grow back. Toenails may take 12 to 18 months to grow back.

What is the fastest way to cure toenail fungus?

The fastest way to eliminate the infection is through toenail laser treatment. Laser nail therapy specifically targets the microorganisms under your nail while leaving the keratin intact. In just a few treatments, the infection can be entirely eliminated.

Can toenail fungus spread to lungs?

While it's important to understand that toenail fungus simply cannot and will not adapt to life in the lungs, it's equally important to address what it can do.

How long can fungus live in nail polish?

Created: January 14, 2015; Last Update: June 14, 2018; Next update: 2021. Nail fungus can be very persistent. Topical treatment with nail polish may take up to one year.

What are 3 signs of a fungal nail infection?

Symptoms of a nail fungal infection
  • Discolored (usually white or yellow)
  • Brittle.
  • Crumbly, or have rough, jagged edges.
  • Thick.
  • Separated from the nail bed.
  • Curled up or down, or are distorted in shape.
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