Fungal Nails – A New Therapy

Most women who have immaculately painted toenails are hiding a little secret, a fungal nail infection that has caused an ugly yellow discoloration of one or more of their nails.

The fact that infections are easy to catch but very hard to cure shows how one in ten of us will suffer from this condition at some point, with up to a million people having infected nails at any one time. Fungal spores thrive in heat, moist conditions, like at swimming pools or in our shoes.

Treatment can take up to a year, and is either ineffective or having serious side effects. But now there is a laser treatment that claims to restore ugly nails to pink and pearly health in couple of sessions.

Forty percent of patients suffering with fungal nail infections and many have never found a treatment that works. Most of us have found lacquers and lotions to be a waste of time. There are anti-fungal drugs available which have to be taken orally, however you could be taking these for up to a year. These drugs have side effects too, such as stomach pains and nausea. In rare cases can cause jaundice, heart disease or even liver failure.

Are lasers a real breakthrough? They are safe, and side-effect-free, they work by applying intense heat to vaporise the fungus. With a treatment time of less than half an hour, they seem the perfect solution costing about £800. You might expect a perfect result, however the new lasers do have some drawbacks. If the infection progresses to the bottom of the toe, the fungus can get under the skin where the laser cannot reach. It’s early days for this treatment, and I would like to see more independent research.

If you have a mild fungal infection which appears to be affecting one nail it is best to treat all of your nails as this will kill any hidden spores lurking on your toes. The laser used is a small hand-held device; it shoots a small beam of energy onto the nail destroying the fungus.

The treatment is relatively pain free some people have a feeling of warmth and have even seen a wisp of smoke, which is the fungal infection being destroyed. One course of treatment is usually enough to kill the fungus, but some of you may require a second session after a few months to ensure the infection is cleared. Your nails may look the same after treatment but the yellow patches should grow out with the nail.

People forget toes age like the rest of our body and even healthy nails naturally become yellow and ridged. And if you’ve had an infection for years, you may never get your youthfully perfect toenails back.