Table of Contents
- Introduction to Fungal Nails (Onychomycosis, Tinea Unguium)
- What other conditions can be mistaken for fungal nails?
- What causes fungal nails, and what are some of the risk factors?
- Is nail fungus contagious?
- What are the symptoms and signs of fungal nails?
- How are fungal nails diagnosed?
- How is nail fungus treated?
- How is nail fungus treated? (Continued)
- Are oral medications for nail fungus toxic?
- What about the cost of oral medications?
- How do you prevent fungal nails?
- What is the prognosis of fungal nails?
How are fungal nails diagnosed?
Physical exam alone has been shown to be an unreliable method of diagnosing fungal nails. There are many conditions that can make nails look damaged, so even doctors have a difficult time. Therefore, laboratory testing is almost always indicated. A nail sample is obtained either by clipping the toenail or by drilling a hole in the nail. That piece of nail is sent to a lab where it can by stained, cultured, or tested by PCR (to identify the genetic material of the organisms) to identify the presence of fungus. Staining and culturing can take up to six weeks to get a result, but PCR, if available, can be done in about one day. Most of the medications used to treat nail fungus have side effects, so you want to make sure of what you are treating. Continue Reading