Fungal Nails - Diagnosis

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Why did you go to a doctor for your nail fungus? How was the condition diagnosed?

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How are fungal nails diagnosed?

Physical exam alone has been shown to be an unreliable method of diagnosing fungal nails. There are so many conditions that can make nails look damaged, that 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 (the best test but new and not widely available) 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.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: bpsingh, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 18

My left hand middle finger nail developed yellowish grey spots about 4 years back. The spots first seemed to go out with the nail, but every time the spots covered the whole nail again and ultimately the nail got separated from the nail bed and became brittle. The condition was examined by a skin specialist and after lab test the fungus was identified. He gave two options to either remove the nail surgically and then let it grow again with no surety that it won't happen again, or have oral medication which may cause some heart condition to develop. Then I came to know about medicinal effect of white vinegar and started to dip my finger nail in vinegar for 15 minutes every day before going to sleep. This worked wonders and after about 15 days of treatment the nail started clearing up and in another month it is rid of all fungus and a normal nail is in place.

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