Nail fungus affects the older population more than the younger ones, mainly because infections grow more rapid in people with weakened immune systems and men more than women get nail fungus. There are other factors that may contribute to a person having toenail fungus such as if you have an underlying illness like diabetes, other members of your family had the same condition and many others.
There are different types of nail fungus and each one of them has its own characteristics. Distinguishing the type of nail fungus you have will also allow your doctor to prescribe the best treatment option for you.
1. White Superficial Onychomycosis
This is also known as white nail fungus. This is the second most common type and is very easy to cure. White spots appear on the nail’s surface where the nail gradually develops chalky particles on the entire surface. In this type, the nail does not detach from the nail bed and does not become thick.
2. Distal Subungual Onychomycosis
This is the most common type of nail infection wherein the nail becomes yellow. The fungus that causes this condition is the same one that causes athlete’s foot. It affects the skin on the nail bed as well as the nail covering it, turning the nail yellow. This is also known as the yellow nail fungus. When you are infected with yellow nail fungus, the nail may separate from the nail bed, which will make it painful to wear shoes. Wearing shoes will only aggravate the condition.
3. Candida Onychomycosis
This is quite uncommon but some people may still develop this type of yeast infection on nails. Finger nails are affected more than toenails, where the nails separate from the skin and become thick. Redness and swelling may be present and one or all of the nails on one hand or foot may be affected at the same time. This infection causes more pain than other types.
4. Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis
This type of nail infection afflicts those who have human immunodeficiency virus of HIV. In this condition the nail bed thickens instead of the nail itself, which causes the nail to separate from the skin.
5. Green Nail Fungus
Contrary to its name, green nail fungus is not caused by fungi, but by household bacteria called pseudomonas. “Greenies” is another term for this infection. A green spot under the nail will develop and if neglected, the stain will progress into a darker color and cover the whole nail and make it moist and soft, causing it to separate from the nail bed.
6. Black Nail Fungus
This is the type of nail infection that emits a bad odor and is contagious. The nail becomes blackened but it is different from nail trauma wherein the nail also gets blackened. Nail trauma is not caused by fungus. You may have hit your toe hard, which may have caused the death of the nail. One way to tell these two apart is the odor. Nail trauma does not cause odor. Unsterilized salon nail equipment may cause this infection.
If you have any of these infections it is best to go to a doctor as soon as you notice anything on your nails before you engage in any treatment. Your doctor will recommend or prescribe the most appropriate treatment option for your condition.