Whilst not a serious illness; it is a very common problem with a big impact. I’m talking with you about Fungal nails.
The state of our nails may say many things about our health and great nails reflect looking good, fresh, healthy and well presented. This is important to most of us and the development of imperfections on the skin or nails may trip up the usually most confident of people.
Simple joys like exposing feet in sandals in summer time or strolling bare foot on the beach are not easy if you feel your nails are not ‘tip top’ and this may cause feelings of embarrassment, anxiety and the avoidance of situations in which these feeling may be encountered.
Fungal nails are stubborn things and once you have them they are hard to get rid off. They often re-appear after treatment that is very slow; as the nails well….. they don’t move fast. This is because they are at the very ends of our limbs are at the bottom of the pecking order come nourishment and are supplied with blood through very tiny blood vessels.
How does it show?
Nail fungus or Onychomycosis is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. This may spread to deeper lying tissues causing disruption to nail health over time.
- Yellow, brown or black discoloured nails
- Thickening of nails
- Foul odour from infected nail
- Loss of nail
- Crumbling nails
- Pain in nail bed or finger/toe tips
Who is at risk of developing fungal nails?
Common risk factors for developing fungal nails are
- Aging (65+)
- Poor circulation due to age or underlying health conditions
- Regularly wearing Rubber Gloves etc
- Injury to nail or surrounding skin
- Moist conditions; eg sweating heavily, constantly exposure to water, badly ventilating shoes, non breathing socks, public pool use
- Wearing artificial nails
- Skin diseases like Psoriasis, Herpes and Eczema may mimic a fungal infection of the nail.
- Yeast and bacterial infections
- Having Tinea or athletes foot
- Weak immune system
- Familiar traits
Conventional treatment is focused on oral or topical antifungal treatments that suppress the symptoms (Pills, Medicated nail polish or Cream). These have various degrees of success and always need to be used for a lengthy time. Oral treatment seems to clear the infections more quickly but carries risk of side effects that are significant (from skin rashes to liver failure) and Treatment success in people over 65 seems to be lower, it may take 4 months to clear an infection.
Sometimes surgical removal of the nail is suggested to allow for direct application of the antifungal drug to the infection under the nail. Not all fungal nail infections respond to medicines. Permanent nail removal may be suggested if the infection is severe or extremely painful.
Prevention of fungal nails
- Wear breathable and absorbent socks, change socks if needed
- Wear good fitting, breathable natural shoes
- Air dry your feet as much as possible, walk bare feet
- Use nail salons, pedi/manicures with good hygiene practices
- Avoid nail polish and artificial nails or abrasive chemicals that could irritate your skin or nail bed or bring toxins into the body through the skin
- Dry feet well after bathing
- Control sugar levels in Diabetes
- Improve circulation with gentle and regular movement and/ or exersize.
- Have a healthful diet supporting nutrition for optimum nail health
Self help tips
- Anti bacterial and anti fungal essential oils; Geranium, orange (very gentle on the skin and not phototoxic), lavender, tea tree and patchouli. (Peppermint essential oil can cause skin irritation!)
- Grape seed oil extract
- Manuka honey
- Apple cider vinegar
- Salt or Baking Soda
To help in any inflammation and also have antibacterial function.
All these methods need to be repeated on 2 times daily and for at least 2 months, but in early stages may well be sufficient to keep the issue at bay and they are definitely worth the try.
Supplements and vitamins
Virtually every nutritional deficiency can affect the growth of the nail in some way. A nutrient-rich diet is likely the best way to achieve strong, shiny, healthy nails. Try to get your vitamins and nutrients from food, but when you can’t a supplement can help you meet your needs.
Some beneficial vitamins and minerals to make sure to include in your diet are Biotin, Collagen peptides, Vit B12, Folate Vit B9, Iron, Protein, Vit C, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, Hydrochloric acid. Before you use Supplements discuss with your GP and investigate if indeed there is an insufficiency.
Homeopathy to help with Fungal Nails
The occurrence of fungal nails cannot be separated from your whole person nor your general health. Addressing your overall health situation will ultimately result in better nail health. Homeopathy can help here with an in depth investigation and individual and tailored approach with the aim to re-balance your body functions and support the development of healthy tissues.
There are at least 262 homeopathic remedies with an effect on the nails. The choice for an effective remedy depends on your whole situation and specific symptoms. This requires the support of a homeopathic practitioner, particularly if this is a well established and chronic issue.
However if you have only recently started to experience fungal nail problems, these are some of the most used Remedies for nails you could look into using.
Silica Cold palms and soles, nails disfigured and infected, the nail is growing inwards and there is pus and infection and sharp pains
Graphites Fungal nails, cracking nails, inward growing nails, swollen tissue, ulceration, person cannot bare to be touched ,pain is deep rooted nails are very sore. There may be cracked finger tips
Hepar Sulph Toe nail infection, Very painful, infection with much puss.
Fluoric Acid fast growing nails that are deformed, longitudinal ridges, nail changes with sore pain between the toes or with corns that are sore to touch.
If you have no result with the choices above or wish for help in this problem with finding a more permanent and all compassing result. Please feel free to contact me I am happy to help.
Book a free 15 Minute chat to discuss if Homeopathy could be helpful in your situation.