Which doctor treats nail fungus?

One of the main factors for the successful treatment of mycosis is contacting the right doctor. Patients often confuse the specialty of doctors and do not know which doctor to consult with nail fungus. As a result, valuable time, extra money and nerves are wasted.

A fungal infection requires immediate treatment. The sooner the disease is detected and diagnosed, the more effective the therapy will be. Also, the choice of doctor depends on the stage of the disease. In advanced forms of the disease, the help of several doctors, including a surgeon, will be required.

About the disease

Mycosis is an infection caused by pathogenic bacteria. Adults are mostly susceptible to it, but children are not immune to the infection either. The disease first affects the areas between the fingers, gradually moving to the nail plates. The fungus destroys keratin, which is the main component of the nail. The result is the fragility of the plate, stopping its growth, the appearance of cracks and special spots on the nail surface.

If you have signs of toenail fungus, you should consult a dermatologist or mycologist.

Causes of infection

There are several causes of yeast infection. It is necessary to emphasize the main ones:

  1. Weak immunity.

    If the body is weakened by the disease or does not receive the necessary amount of vitamins, a person is at risk of infection with mycosis. The protective barriers of the body will not be able to prevent the spread of the disease.

  2. Tired nervous system.

    Frequent stress, nervous disorders and the habit of taking everything to heart contribute to the deterioration of the immune system and increase the risk of infection.

  3. Neglect of hygiene rules.

    Basically, mushrooms are collected in public places. Carelessness and negligence in relation to cleanliness is the main reason for the spread of mycosis. You should always wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet in cafes, bars, restaurants. When using sports or play shoes at rental centers or entertainment centers, you should always bring a replacement pair of socks or tights with you. If there is no water tap nearby, it is also recommended to carry hand sanitizer gel so that you can treat your palms from dirt and germs.

  4. Inadequate communication with animals.

    Fungal spores are carried not only by humans, but also by animals. Anyone petting stray cats and dogs should stop this habit. No matter how cute animals are, they pose a health hazard. If contact occurs, wash your hands thoroughly with soap, treat with a disinfectant solution, and wash your clothes.

  5. Improper storage of shoes and socks.

    The fungus grows most easily in a warm and humid environment. Considering this fact, after walking in the rain or wet place, you should dry your shoes by placing them near a radiator or heater, and put wet socks or tights in the washer. If you leave your shoes to dry on their own, there is no guarantee that they will dry completely. Meanwhile, the spores can be activated very quickly, and the next day a person becomes infected with mycosis.

In almost all cases of fungal infection, the person himself is to blame. It is worth paying more attention to details, ignoring the rules of hygiene and using only your own clothes and shoes. You should also monitor your health. Take vitamins and micronutrient capsules regularly. For a healthy and clean person, the disease will pass.

Symptoms of the disease

Medicine knows more than ten types of mycosis. And there are several tens of thousands of causative agents of this disease. Of course, each type differs from the other with its characteristic features. But we can identify the main symptoms of the disease. They exist in one or another variation in each patient.

A doctor diagnoses and treats toenails affected by a fungal infection.

Main symptoms:

  • thickened or thinned nail plate;
  • loss of nail shine, dullness;
  • the nail begins to crack and peel off;
  • nail plate color change (white, yellow, brown, green, black);
  • the appearance of spots, stripes, dots on the nail;
  • the appearance of blisters, ulcers;
  • discharge of mucus from under the nail.

Other characteristic symptoms are itching and burning in the area of the affected fingers or toes. The pain can be so severe that a person needs to take painkillers.

The fungus often spreads beyond the nail. It affects the nail ridges, the interdigital space and the foot. In rare cases and especially in severe cases, the disease spreads throughout the body. Sometimes pathogenic bacteria even affect internal organs.

Detection of nail fungus

Difficulty in identifying the disease is its main problem. Because of the lost time, the infection develops and takes root in the patient's body. In the later stages, it is very difficult to completely eliminate the infection. Infected patients require six months of treatment to achieve positive results. Sometimes the mycelium is so deep that it takes a lifetime to heal. It is possible to achieve only temporary improvements and then the cork comes back.

Mycosis is very difficult to detect at an early stage. Symptoms are not as obvious as in the later stages, when the bacteria form a mycelium - their mycelium. Patients do not pay attention to mild itching after walking, confusing it with fatigue. Some people do not react at all to changes in the color of the plate. People mistake falling and brittle nails as a temporary condition that will go away on its own.

The detection of at least one symptom is a reason to immediately consult a doctor. But not everyone knows which doctor treats nail fungus. Usually people turn to a therapist, but this is not entirely true. You should make an appointment with a dermatologist or mycologist.

The medical facility will conduct the necessary tests and tell you whether the person is indeed infected or not. Just as its type cannot be found, its existence cannot be determined independently. Namely, recommendations for special treatment and recovery depend on the type of mycosis.

Contact a dermatologist

Since the fungus is a skin disease, it makes sense to seek help from a dermatologist. He will examine the nail suspected of infection, conduct an interview about the patient's condition and send for tests. After receiving the results of medical examinations, the dermatologist will make a decision.

If the disease is at an early stage, this specialist will be able to solve the problem. If mycosis is in an advanced form or is characterized by complex symptoms, the doctor sends the patient to see a mycologist.

It should be remembered that a dermatologist is a doctor with a wider scope. He treats all skin diseases, but does not have specific knowledge. They can only be obtained from a mycologist who specializes in the treatment of fungi.

The initial stage of onychomycosis is a reason to undergo a diagnostic examination by a dermatologist

Meeting with a mycologist

A mycologist treats all forms of fungal infection - from early stages to advanced stages. This specialist conducts preliminary examinations, determines which tests will be appropriate and develops a treatment algorithm. If the patient has the opportunity, it is better to go to a mycologist immediately. Thus, he will save time and get a more educated and clear answer to the question about the type of his disease and how to treat it.

An appointment with a mycologist is usually paid. Doctors see patients in specialized centers, where a general practitioner or dermatologist makes a referral. A few clinics have a personal mycologist.

The mycologist will guide the patient from the first appointment until recovery. It is not recommended to change doctors during treatment. It takes time for a new doctor to learn your medical history, and it's a waste of time.

After the patient recovers, the mycologist gives recommendations on health care. Preventive measures should be strictly followed. In this case, the fungus will not return.

A mycologist will help to treat the advanced stage of the fungus, restore the health of the toenails

Diagnostic and treatment algorithm

The treatment of mycosis consists of successively related stages. It is important to spend each of them on time under the supervision of an experienced doctor.

Antifungal therapy algorithm:

  1. Contact a dermatologist or go directly to a mycologist.
  2. Receiving a shipment for preliminary examination and tests.
  3. Conducting tests and receiving their results.
  4. Re-meeting with the doctor and appointment of further treatment.
  5. Buying medicines for treatment.

Then the patient should visit the doctor regularly to monitor the progress of the disease. If the effect is positive, the therapy continues and ends with recovery. If there is a negative reaction to the drugs or there is no improvement, additional studies are conducted and a new therapy is prescribed.

Treatment of toenail fungus with antifungal solutions, ointments and varnishes

Tests to clarify the diagnosis

For effective treatment, it is necessary to accurately determine the cause and type of the disease. The nature of therapy will depend on the type of pathogen.

Basic diagnostic tests:

  1. Microbiological methods.

    First, the doctor must determine whether the patient is truly infected. To do this, he needs to take material, that is, a potentially infected nail. The doctor scrapes or cuts a part of the plate. The material is then placed in a solution, after which the specialist examines it under a microscope. This is how it detects the presence of harmful bacteria that cause infection.

  2. ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).

    The doctor takes blood from the patient's vein. The result of the analysis comes quickly. The answer indicates a mycosis reaction: positive, negative or indeterminate. In the latter case, it is necessary to conduct additional tests within a week or repeat the blood donation.

  3. PCR study.

    As in the first study, PCR requires a scraping. As a result, the doctor can say for sure whether a person is a carrier of the infection. Of the minuses, it is worth noting the fact that PCR cannot determine the type of fungus. The doctor only announces its presence or absence.

At the initial stage, it is difficult to diagnose the fungus for the first time. This is called a label-free reaction. To get a final diagnosis, doctors will send the patient for further tests or ask him to come back in a week or two. Then the doctors will consult and tell which doctor the patient should consult if he develops nail fungus. He will probably be a mycologist.

Help from other professionals

Often, the help of a dermatologist and mycologist is not enough. Sometimes the patient does not have the opportunity to get an appointment with a specialist right away. Then it is recommended to consult a therapist.

The therapist will conduct a preliminary examination and write instructions for tests based on the results of the examination. He will also tell you who to turn to - a dermatologist or a mycologist. An appointment with a therapist is relevant for patients living in small towns or in residential areas of megacities. Not every clinic has its own dermatologist or mycologist. In this case, the therapist becomes a specialist who can direct the infected person to the necessary treatment.

Effective growth of toenail fungus requires the help of a surgeon

If the nail fungus has already developed quite seriously and has reached an advanced stage, the patient should make an appointment with a surgeon. Sometimes professional intervention is required. Sometimes there is no way to save the affected nail. It needs to be surgically removed. The doctor will cut a plate from the nail bed and advise the patient on further actions.

If a patient cannot make an appointment with a specialist immediately, he should contact a therapist. This doctor has all the necessary knowledge to perform an initial examination and recommend next steps in terms of antifungal therapy.

Treatment at the initial stage

In the early stages, feet can be treated with antifungal gels, patches and varnishes. The latter contains fungicides - substances that prevent the spread of infection. They stop the growth of bacteria and neutralize the mycelium.

It is not recommended to choose drugs independently. Only a doctor can give effective advice and write the necessary prescription after an examination.

In addition to ointments and varnishes, you can use traditional therapy recipes. The following are particularly popular:

  • vinegar;
  • iodine;
  • potassium permanganate;
  • table or sea salt.

They are used to make lotions and baths. Iodine and potassium permanganate should not be used excessively as they cause drying of the skin. It is necessary to take breaks in order not to damage the skin.

Recipes based on herbs and vegetables are also in demand. For example, mint, onion, garlic compresses. In addition, it is recommended to rub the affected fingers or toes with olive oil or tea tree oil.

Alternative therapy should only be used in addition to the main treatment, but in no case should it replace it.

Treatment in the stage of development and neglect

In advanced forms of the disease, ointments and baths are indispensable. It requires the use of so-called antimycotics. They are prescribed by a doctor. The choice of tablets is based on the type of fungus, the patient's state of health, age and other characteristics. Antimycotics are characterized by a large list of contraindications and side effects. It is forbidden to buy them without a prescription from a mycologist.

Preventing the risk of infection

It is necessary to take preventive measures to protect health. They will prevent the risk of nail fungus infection.

Top tips:

  1. Use only personal hygiene products: towels, sports mats, wet wipes.
  2. Check the cleanliness of the socks and change pairs regularly.
  3. Clean your shoes before and after going outside.
  4. Dry your shoes thoroughly in case of humid weather or personal excessive sweating of the feet.
  5. Avoid touching strangers.
  6. Wash your hands with soap after handling animals, especially homeless ones.
  7. Always carry sanitizing gel in public places.
  8. Bringing personal belongings (if any) to the rental bases is preferred.
  9. Get regular manicures and pedicures and prevent corns, calluses, and cracks from forming on your feet.
  10. Wear only comfortable shoes that do not squeeze or rub your feet.
Prevention of onychomycosis includes foot hygiene, use of personal items and timely pedicure.

If a fungal infection has already occurred, you should follow all the recommendations of your doctor. By strictly following the therapy, the patient will be cured and will be able to forget about the unpleasant disease. But you have to be patient - it's hard to get rid of the infection. It will take several months, maybe years.