(NaturalNews) We may not be back in bathing suit season quite yet, but it's the perfect time to address that embarrassing little problem that you've been putting off. Millions of Americans are plagued with fungal infections in their nails, very few are talking about it and even fewer still have been able to treat their problem effectively. Covering up those toenails may be easy during the winter months; however with summer not far off, today is a great time to begin restoring your nails to a beautiful and healthy condition.
The most common type of nail infection, onychomycosis, is caused by fungi and occurs in the toenails more often than the fingernails. Onychomycosis affects about 12% of all Americans and nearly 40% of people over the age of 40. The fungal infection usually begins as a yellow or white spot under the tip of the fingernail or toenail. As the fungus spreads deeper into the nail, it may cause the nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edges. Eventually the nail may also separate from the nail bed, a condition called onycholysis. Some people may even feel pain in their toes or fingertips and detect a slightly foul odor originating from the infected area. While nail infections aren't generally life threatening, people with diabetes or a weakened immune system can develop serious health risks if the infection is left untreated.
Fungal nail infections usually develop on nails continually exposed to warm, moist environments, such as sweaty shoes or shower floors. Fungi are microscopic organisms that don't need sunlight to survive and can invade your skin through tiny invisible cuts or through a small separation between nail and nail bed. The fungi will only cause problems if your nails are continually exposed to warmth and moisture, conditions under which they thrive.
Onychomycosis is more common among older adults because nail growth slows and nails thicken with age, making them more susceptible to infection. Men are affected by nail infections more often than women and heredity seems to play a factor in the disorder. Those who smoke are also at a higher risk of developing a fungal nail infection.
Before treatment can begin, it is important to first identify the type of infection that exists. To do this, your doctor may examine your nail and then take samples from under the nail to culture or examine under a microscope.
Treating a nail infection is often difficult as the infection lives deep underneath the nail. It has proven nearly impossible in the past since most medications failed to penetrate the thick nail and reach the nail bed underneath. Additionally, nails grow slowly, thereby slowing the treatment's progress. Oral medications are available on the market, buy they can take up to a year to work and come with a list of side effects ranging from skin rashes to liver damage. Such medications aren't recommended for people with liver disease or congestive heart failure or people taking certain medications.
Over the years, I've developed a formula for topical treatment that has overcome the previous obstacles of other nail infection treatments. "Nature's Oil for Nails" by perfectlyhealthy contains Australian Tea Tree Oil to stimulate the immune system while providing antiseptic and antimicrobial qualities, along with jojoba oil to soften and condition the skin surrounding the nails. I've added the minerals copper, chromium oxide green and magnesium dioxide, which allow the solution to penetrate into the nail bed while maintaining the health of the nail. Patients who have used the solution have seen significant improvement in the health and appearance of their nails over the course of 90 days. We implemented a study that was published in JANA Vol.8, No.3,2005 and determined that Nature's Oil for Nails by perfectlyhealthy effectively treated nail fungus in patients suffering for many years.
Any treatment plan that you choose to employ will work best when used in conjunction with proper nail hygiene. Toenails are particularly susceptible to infection due to the warm, moist climate of most shoes. Adequate ventilation for the feet can be provided either by wearing sandals or shoes with air-breather holes built into the sides. Shoes should always be made of natural materials and should fit comfortably, avoiding a tight fit. When wearing socks, again stay with natural materials such as 100% cotton, wool or silk as they tend to absorb moisture caused by sweat as well as provide good ventilation. If socks become wet, remove them immediately and thoroughly dry off feet before putting on a clean pair of socks.
To vigorously fight toenail infection, I recommend going without socks completely whenever possible. Since fungi and bacteria thrive in areas such as gym locker rooms, showers and swimming pools, always wear sandals, water shoes or swimming booties to keep feet from touching the floor directly. Soaking in Epsom Salts in warm water for some minutes and filing the face of a thicker nail prior to applying the Nature's Oil for Nails does help the product absorb efficiently.
Treating a fungal nail infection can take time and overnight results should not be expected. Everyone deserves to look and feel their best though, so see your doctor today and find out how you can nail fungus once and for all!
About the author
Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D. has specialized in Integrative Medicine for over twenty years, using conventional and natural methods to determine and discover the "root of the cause" in her clinic, Center for New Medicine in Irvine, California, each and every day. Many people come in to the clinic from all over the world with severe chronic illnesses that conventional medical protocols have been unsuccessful treating. She realized early on that she can truly change lives through education as well as treatment protocols. Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D. and her medical staff strives to look at the whole person while exploring the effects and relationships among nutrition, psychological and social factors, environmental effects and personal attunement. Out of frustration of trying to find the right products to help her patients she formulated the perfectlyhealthy brand of products. All perfectlyhealthy products are clinically tested. For more information on recommended products, please visit www.perfectlyhealthy.net or www.perfectlyhealthy.com.