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Home / Fungal Nail Infections

Fungal Nail Infections

Causes, Symptoms and Treatments of Fungal Nail Infections (Tinea Unguium)

Fungal nail infections are very common with most of us experiencing one at some point in our lifetime. They are usually not deemed serious, however treatments can speed up recovery and minimise any unpleasant symptoms. You can order fungal nail infection medication here online, or learn more about the condition below.

Dr. Sarah Donald
Dr. Sarah Donald Clinical Lead

Available Treatment(s)

Terbinafine 4(1 Reviews)
  • Easy-to-take tablets
  • Can be taken for athlete's foot
  • Taken for 3-6 months
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Prices start from £24.99
Loceryl Nail Lacquer
  • Kills a number of fungal infections
  • Applied just once a week
  • Used for up to 6 months
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Prices start from £22.99

What causes fungal nail infections?

Typically, nail infections are caused by fungi that belong to the dermatophyte group. This fungi may be present on your body or may have been spread through contact with another person. Fungi develop in warm, damp environments, which is why infections are often common to toenails and feet in general. To prevent outbreaks, you should keep your feet clean and dry.

What are the symptoms of fungal nail infection?

A fungal nail infection, also known as onychomycosis, may affect one or more toenails and fingernails. It can present in a number of different ways:

  • Lateral onychomycosis — this is where a white or yellow opaque streak appears across the nail.
  • Subungual hyperkeratosis — this is scaling on the underside of the nail.
  • Distal onycholysis— with this presentation, the tip of the nail will lift, and can occasionally crumble away.
  • Superficial white onychomycosis — the top of the nail will be covered by white patches and pits.
  • Proximal onychomycosis — yellow spots will appear in the lunula. This is the white half-circle at the base of the nail.
  • Onychoma or dermatophytoma — a thick localised area of infection in the nail plate.

How long do fungal nail infections last?

If left untreated, fungal infections can become permanent and even spread to other parts of the body. That is why you should contact a doctor and begin treatment as soon as you first notice symptoms.

Will a fungal nail infection go away on its own?

Generally speaking, no. If an infection is left untreated it may destroy the nail, and may also spread to other parts of the body. It is important to seek treatment as soon as symptoms are noticed.

How to treat fungal nail infections?

The severity of the infection will dictate what treatment is best for you. Nail lacquers are available for mild cases, and terbinafine tablets for more serious cases or if multiple nails are affected.

How does the treatment work?

Antifungal medications work by forcing holes in the fungi cell membranes. This causes them to leak and subsequently die. Different treatments have different durations, from between 2-6 weeks and 12 months. You should speak with a doctor for a greater understanding of the mechanics of specific medications.

How long does the treatment last?

The length of treatment depends on the medication's active ingredient(s), as well as the severity of the infection. Milder cases can clear up within as early as two weeks, however it is not uncommon for infected toenails to take up to twelve months to be completely cured.

Is there an antifungal cream available?

Amorolfine is a nail lacquer that can be applied to the infected nails. This treatment should be applied twice a week until the infection has cleared, which could take up to six months. For larger toenails, this may take nine to twelve months.

There are also oral alternatives, such as terbinafine (250mg tablets) that are designed for the treatment of dermatophyte infections.

What the difference between prescription treatment vs over the counter treatment?

OTC remedies may be sufficient at treating superficial infections, however prescription options are required for more serious cases. For example, Terbinafine is considerably stronger than OTC treatments. Taken orally in 250mg doses, it combats dermatophyte infections.

Is athlete's foot the same as nail fungus?

Not exactly, although both conditions are caused by the same dermatophyte fungus. It is advised to keep your feet dry and clean to avoid the spread of this fungus. Athlete's foot requires a different treatment to fungal nail infections, due to the nature of a skin infection.

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