Many of us are afflicted with the condition called onychomycosis or fungal infection of the finger and or toenails, and before you know it, spring and summer will be here! There is not too much time to spare in getting treatment.
Nail fungus is often due to dermatophytes, yeasts and sometimes molds. Numerous worldwide studies have shown that more than 40% of people complain of onychomycosis. Predisposing factors include old age, sex, tinea pedis, nail psoriasis, genetic susceptibility, immune deficiency, diabetes, nail trauma, peripheral arterial disease and hyperhydrosis. While nail fungus is mostly a cosmetic problem, having any conditions that decrease your immune system such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV increases your risk for systemic infection and then treatment no longer becomes an option. If you suspect that you may have nail fungus, then keep on reading. Here are your options!
The first step is to see your Miami dermatologist so that a nail sample can be taken and tested for fungal growth. Treatment options do depend on the severity of the condition and the pattern of fungal growth. Current therapeutic options include topical creams, anti-fungal antibiotics, nail removal, chemical removal of the nail and laser therapy. Often, we use a combination of approaches in order to achieve full resolution but it is important to have realistic expectations. It takes 6 and 12 months for healthy finger and toenails respectively to completely regrow. The current gold standard for treatment of all types of nail fungus is systemic medication, which is approximately 80% effective. This type of treatment does require close monitoring of liver enzymes as they can increase them during treatment. Despite this, these medications are very safe and are used quite often with great success. Topical treatments are often used as an adjuvant to systemic therapy as they are only 20% effective when used alone. Complete nail and chemical removal is usually done only in instances where the nail is very thick and or resolution is unlikely with other treatments.
Now for those of us that are more “au natural”, consider laser treatment with the Laser Genesis®. This laser uses light to heat the nail tissue to temperatures around 42-46C to destroy the nail fungus. The light is usually pulsed in short bursts in order to improve comfort and tolerability of the treatment. Most patients usually require two sessions, spaced six weeks apart. In fact, clinical trials have shown that this form of treatment is 70% effective. Don’t wait, call and ask us about these treatments today!