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What Is A Nail Fungus Infection?

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What Is A Nail Fungus Infection?


When fungus starts multiplying in your nails, you have a nail fungus infection. But why does this happen? Why does fungus like to live inside your nails?

As we learned when discussing the home remedy for yeast infections, the body normally hosts a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungus. Some of these are useful to the body. Obviously, some are not! The unwanted ones may multiply rapidly and form infections when conditions are right.

Just as mushrooms are usually found on warm damp decaying organic material in dark places, nail fungus can live on the dead tissues of our nails, cuticles, and outer skin layers.

The most common nail fungus infection is called onychomycosis. Onychomycosis makes the nails look white and opaque, thickened, and brittle. This can occur in anyone, but is often seen in older women (perhaps because estrogen deficiency may increase the risk of nail fungus infection).

Men and women with diabetes or disease of the small blood vessels (peripheral vascular disease) are at increased risk for nail fungus infection. Artificial nails (acrylic or wraps) increase the risk because when an artificial nail is applied, the nail surface is usually abraded and damaged by an emery board, which can carry infection. Water can collect under the nail, creating a moist, warm environment suitable for fungal growth leading to a nail fungus infection.

Other helpful sources related to curing nail fungus and other types of fungus infections such as jock itch and athlete's foot:


Nail fungus infections are also called tinea unguium and ringworm of the nails.

Nail fungus infections are most often seen in adults. They often follow fungus infection of the feet. Nail fungus infections may be difficult to treat and may recur often. Toenails are affected by nail fungus more often than fingernails.

Nail fungus infections have symptoms that include changes on one or more nails (usually toenails) such as:
  • Brittleness of the nail
  • Nail discoloration
  • Loss of the nail's luster and shine
  • WW
  • Thickening of the fingernail or toenail
  • Distortion of nail shape
  • Crumbling of the nail
  • Debris being trapped under the nail
  • Loosening (detaching) of the nail
Next: Jock Itch and Athlete's Foot »


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