As the Dermatologist – Venereologist Dr. Amalia Tsiatoura explains, “onychomycosis mainly affects the toenails and is characterized by thickening of the nails (subungual hyperkeratosis), brittleness, yellow tinge in the lateral part of the nail, as well as a change in the color of the nail.”
The diagnosis of onychomycosis is mainly clinical. Also, a specialized Dermatologist may take a sample of the nail to identify the fungus that has caused the infection.
Onychomycosis is divided into “Dermatophytic Onychomycosis” and “Candida Nail Infection”.
- Dermatophytic Onychomycosis: characterised by thickening of the cuticles (subcutaneous hyperkeratosis), friability and change in colour of the nail.
- Candida Nail Infection: particularly common in people who have a habit of wetting their limbs. It affects the skin surrounding the nails (paronychia) and appears as a yellow tinge on the side of the onenail and may lead to onycholysis. Onychomycosis can be very easily observed due to a change in the appearance of the nails in either colour or thickness. Although it is not dangerous, it takes a long time to be cured with pharmaceutical methods. A favorable environment for onychomycosis is humidity, as well as swimming pools. Often, it is the result of diabetes.
Onychomycosis occurs mainly on the lower limbs and less frequently on the upper limbs, and can affect either a single nail or several nails together. Symptoms mainly include:
- Thickening of the nails (subungual hyperkeratosis)
- Puffiness (brittle nails that break easily)
- Nail colour change
- Onycholysis (nails that come away from the skin)
- Yellow tinge on the side of the nail
Fungi are primarily transmitted by skin contact. They can be transmitted from person to person, and also by using other people’s personal belongings (e.g. towels, flip-flops). Transmission is very common in the summer, as the fungi can be transmitted by walking barefoot on the sand or pool area.
ND-Yag Laser Treatment – Especially for Onychomycosis: The most modern, fast, painless and effective onychomycosis treatment. Laser light eradicates fungi naturally, without the side effects of drugs. For complete treatment of onychomycosis, 6-8 sessions are required, depending on the problem. However, there are more serious ones that require multiple visits to the dermatologist.
Why are onychomycosis more common than fungal infections?
The feet are the most ideal environment for fungal growth because of the high temperature and humidity. Therefore, the highest percentage of fungal infections occur in the feet.
Is nail fungus contagious?
The use of objects previously used by infected individuals, as well as shared facilities such as changing rooms, swimming pools and public showers, are the main sources of transmission of the disease.
High temperature, skin humidity, poorly ventilated environment and poor foot hygiene are factors that accelerate the development of fungal infections.
Who does onychomycosis affect?
Onychomycosis or nail mycosis accounts for 50% of nail diseases and can affect both men and women, and rarely affects children. Men suffer more often from nail fungus than women.
Toenails are most commonly affected and toenails are less commonly affected and hand nails are less commonly affected. 30% of patients with onychomycosis also have some form of fungal infection on their skin.
In general, the incidence of the disease has increased in recent years and this is due to factors such as diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression, and the increase in the average life expectancy.
It is worth mentioning that the disease is 30 times more common in adults than in people under the age of 18, in whom the incidence is only 2.6%, while in the elderly it is 90%.
What are the prevention measures for onychomycosis?
Keeping hands and feet dry, no excessive washing, use of personal towels and tools, no bare feet in swimming pools and sand.
Why is the ND-Yag Laser ideal for the treatment of Onychomycosis?
The Nd-YAG Laser, due to its specific wavelength and its penetrating power, has the ability to treat the fungus under the nail without causing damage to both its surface and the skin around it (perianth).
The treatment is painless, safe and is performed without local anesthesia, has no restrictions regarding the patient’s age, gender, skin colour and other medical history, and the patient can return to his/her normal activities immediately after the treatment.
The duration of the treatment is 15-20 minutes and includes all the nails, not just the visibly affected ones, and usually 6-8 sessions are carried out, with an interval of 20-30 days. The treatment is considered successful when the new nail that grows is healthy and the new nail culture taken at the end of the treatment is negative.
Is there a chance that I will experience symptoms again after Laser treatment?
Unfortunately, as with any treatment, there is a chance that symptoms may reappear after the treatment, or the patient may be re-infected by a different fungus. For this reason, foot hygiene rules should continue to be applied after treatment in order to minimize the chances of recurrence.
Why should I choose Cosmetic Derma Medicine for the treatment of fungal infections?
Cosmetic Derma Medicine Medical Group is the largest and most specialized medical group, with 16 clinics in Greece & Cyprus, and more than 15 years of experience in the field of Dermatology & Plastic Surgery.
The Medical Director of Cosmetic Derma Medicine is the Dermatologist – Venereologist Dr. Amalia Tsiatoura, while the staff consists of a medical team of highly experienced and specialized doctors of many different specialties, as well as a fully qualified team of nurses. Our team is at your side every day, 24/7 for whatever you need.
At Cosmetic Derma Medicine we have the state-of-the-art ND-Yag Laser which treats onychomycosis quickly, painlessly and effectively, without affecting the surrounding tissues.