One of the most common causes of infection on the nail plate of a finger or toe is a special type of parasite-a fungus. It is related to the particularity of the structure, its metabolism and the position of the parasitic on the nails, and has special requirements for anti-fungal agents.
What is a fungal nail infection and the cause of its development
Fungal infections of the nails (onychomycosis) are caused by fungi, including Trichophyton, epidermal fungus, and microspores. The infection is spread by fungal spores, which fall into the microcracks of the nail plate and become filamentous fungal cells-mycelium. Mycelium is composed of cells with a strong cell wall that protects it from immune system cells. In this regard, fungal infections tend to be chronic and progressive and difficult to treat. Factors that promote its development:
- Visit public swimming pools, saunas without personal protective equipment (slippers);
- Wear high-humidity shoes (rubber boots) for a long time;
- Walking barefoot in the dust, where there may be fungal spores;
- Poor hygiene of feet or hands.
All these factors, in parallel with high humidity, contribute to the spread and penetration of fungal spores into the nail plate.
Basic requirements for the treatment of fungal infections
Due to long-term use, parasitic peculiarities and fungal structure, medicinal antifungal agents must meet many requirements:
- effectiveness-Provided by including in the composition of the preparation a substance having a fungicidal (fungi-destroying) effect on the widest range of fungi.
- Safety-Good treatment means that the mycelium and spores of the fungus in the nail plate are completely destroyed, so even if the infection does not change significantly, the drug needs to be used for a long time. Unfortunately, most antifungal drugs have side effects, especially when taken orally in the form of tablets and capsules. Therefore, the contraindications for using them are children younger than 12 years old, pregnant women and lactating (breastfeeding) women.
- Availability-Due to the long-term use of antifungal agents, several packs or tubes of medicine must be purchased during this process. Therefore, it is best to use cheap agents.
- Good penetration into the stratum corneumIn order to provide the required amount of drug in it, nail polish is the most ideal antifungal drug in the form of varnish, which ensures long-term contact with the nail and ensures that the active antifungal substance fully penetrates it into the nail.
- Easy to use-The fewer times the tablet is taken or the less ointment applied on the nails, the higher the acceptability and ease of use. Most tablets or ointments are used once a day.
The best medicine for fungal infections can meet all these requirements, and it is not necessarily the most expensive medicine. You can always find similar medicines that are affordable.
There are several main dosage forms of therapeutic agents for nail fungus in the modern pharmaceutical market:
- Ointment-When using it, the development of fungal infections is mild, which can damage the nail plate of the fingers and the adjacent areas of the hand skin. It is mainly cheap. For effective treatment, it must be used once a day for several months.
- Pills or capsulesFor oral administration-these dosage forms are used to treat severe fungi to ensure systemic action. Due to the possible side effects, the use of the tablet is limited to a few weeks, and then it is completely converted to a topical dosage form.
- Medicinal varnishNails-an effective method of fungal treatment, easy to use, no need to apply to the nails every day, because the active antifungal substance will gradually diffuse into the nails. Usually, varnish is applied once a week. The course of this treatment is mild to moderate for a few months. These funds are more expensive than other dosage forms, but are more efficient and easy to use.
The treatment agent for toenail fungus should have better absorption capacity because the cuticle of the nail plate is thicker and thicker. In this case, the best tool is varnish, which is applied to the nail surface that has been prepared and degreased. In severe cases, the varnish can be used in parallel with antifungal drugs in oral form (tablets or capsules). Medicines used to treat fungi are not always expensive. There are a large number of analogs available. You can choose their analogs after the examination and examination, and consult a dermatologist. Usually, it is necessary to adjust the long-term treatment from a few months to six months.