A-Z Health Issues: Nail Fungus

coconut oil

Nail fungus aka onychomycosis, is very common, both on the toe nails and the fingernails, although more common in toenails.  It usually begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail. But as the fungus grows, it can go deeper, and discoloration usually occurs. If the fungus occurs between the toes, its called athlete’s foot aka tinea pedis.

There are different types of nail fungal organisms, although the most common is called dermatophyte.

In addition, yeast, molds and bacteria can also cause nail infections.

As the fungus continues, the nail may thicken and crumble around the edges. It can be painful but, especially at the beginning of the process, it may not be.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Thickened nail
  • Discoloration
  • Brittle/crumbly at edge of nail
  • Separation from the nailbed
  • Smelly

Risk factors associated with fungal infections include:

  • Age
  • Walking barefoot in damp public places (swimming pools, shower rooms, gyms)
  • Shoes that make the feet sweat
  • Past occurrences of athlete’s foot
  • Other skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis)
  • Diabetes
  • Compromised immune system

Prevention includes:

  • Keeping nails clean, dry, and trimmed
  • Wearing absorbent socks
  • Wearing footwear in public areas with wet floors
  • Eliminate nail polish and artificial nails – they weaken the nail bed
  • Make sure old shoes/runners are treated with anti-fungal powders or disinfectants
  • Don’t wear nylons if allergic to nylon materials

How to eliminate nail fungus depends on what fungus, mold, yeast, etc. but here are a few natural remedies:

Snake root extract comes from plants in the sunflower family and is anti-fungal: some say every three days during month 1; then twice a week for month 2; then once a week for month three to get to the root of the cause.

Smash garlic cloves and collect the oil – mix with coconut oil and apply topically – I like this one

Tea tree oil – both anti-fungal and antiseptic – apply twice a day

Oregano oil – another anti-fungal/antibacterial herb – apply twice a day; some say combine with tea tree oil

To get a really good combo – mix into coconut oil, garlic juice with oil of oregano and tea tree oil; apply three times a day for a week. Continue to apply 1-2x a day even after the apparent infection is gone to make sure it is eliminated at a deeper level.