Fungal nail infection

A fungal nail infection gives a thickened, discoloured, and brittle nail and is caused by a fungus that grows inside the nail. A thickened and brittle nail is sometimes also called onychauxis. In most cases, onychauxis is caused by a fungal infection, but not always. A thickened nail can also be caused by a disturbance in the growth of the nail which is not caused by a fungus but, for example, by badly functioning blood vessels, old age, by a skin disease such as psoriasis, or spontaneously.

Fungal nails

Fungal nail infections are very common. It is estimated that 5% of the Dutch population has one or more nails with a fungal infection and is most times found on the toenails (98%). Fungal nail infections on the fingernails are rare. The medical term for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.

Treatment of fungal nails

It is not always necessary to treat a fungal nail. If it does not bother you much and does not find it very cosmetically disturbing, you can also decide not to treat it. Treatment is not that simple, it often comes down to taking pills (antifungal tablets) for months. Sometimes it is wise to treat the fungus for medical reasons. For example, in the case of diabetes or poor resistance, or if the fungal infection causes other problems, such as the development of erysipelas (erysipelas), or blistering eczema on the hands or feet (acrovesiculous eczema).

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