With all the activities you have to do in your day to day lives, it can be easy to ignore signs of nail fungus.
You may simply not have the time to get something as minor as some nail discoloration checked up.
Can nail fungus heal on its own? It’s rare and it probably can never go away completely without intervention.
However, it’s better to be safe than sorry and not assume that you can get away without proper treatment.
What Happens If You Don’t Treat A Nail Infection?
When there are so many more dangerous illnesses to be worried about, not paying attention to changes in your nails can seem like no big deal.
Toenail fungus doesn’t hurt, and we’re programmed to only worry about things that are painful.
However, it’s important to remember that it isn’t only the outward appearance that matters.
Perhaps you can cover the fungus up with a pair of socks, but the internal damage it is doing to your tissue can become a major cause of concern for you in the future.
Pain While Walking
If you leave an infected nail untreated, it can harden and lose its shape as time goes on.
This makes it hard to walk, or even wear shoes without feeling extremely uncomfortable and in pain.
Like most untreated infections, leaving a toenail infected gives the fungus the opportunity to travel to other places in your body, starting with other parts of your foot.
As the infection spreads, there are higher chances of you getting athlete’s foot, which is when your foot becomes itchy, red and scaly.
This is also more likely to happen if you keep shoes and socks on for long hours in the day.
The fungus loves environments that are moist, warm and dark.
For patients of diabetes and diseases of the immune system, a toenail infection can become even more complicated and difficult to manage.
When your immune system is already weak and unhealthy, the fungus can spread uncontrollably.
When your feet get cracked feet due to the infection, germs like bacteria get a free entry into your body, causing conditions like cellulitis, which makes your skin swell up and become red and painful.
You’ll need to take a course of antibiotics to get it under control.
The fungus can even spread to the genital area, leading to embarrassing situations for both men and women.
In extreme cases, the fungus can pass into your blood and cause a deadly reaction.
Nail Being Removed
If you allow your infection to spread to a certain extent, it is quite possible that you won’t be seeing your nail for much longer.
When toenails become increasingly infected with the fungus, they can become detached from the nail bed, which is what keeps them connected to your toe.
This problem is called onycholysis, and if this happens, the part of your nail that has become detached needs to be properly removed from your toe altogether.
In fact, in some situations, even if your nail is not yet partially detached from your nailbed, it needs to be removed as a last resort to get rid of the fungus and make sure it never comes back again.
Getting your nail removed can be through an avulsion, which is a process of getting the whole nail taken off.
There are permanent solutions as well, like getting the nail permanently taken off with a matrixectomy.
When doctors resort to this solution to get your nail removed, it is usually because the nail needs to be destroyed altogether so that the fungus cannot come back.
When you get this treatment, the center of your nail, from where the whole nail emerges out, is removed with surgery, or with medications so that the nail cannot grow back out.
Can Nail Fungus Heal On its Own?
After what we have discussed, the answer to this question is no.
You should not be leaving your nail fungus to heal for itself, because this only provides the infection more time to become more engrained in your skin and build roots that are going to be harder for you to get rid of.
Even when nail fungal infections do not seem painful or even bothersome at the beginning, it is important that you realize the dangers that not treating the infection can cause.
Instead of hiding it under your socks or closed-toe shoes, you have to see a doctor that will prescribe you the appropriate treatment.
If you get the infection looked at in its earlier stages, it is possible for you to be cured of the fungus with only topical applications of anti-fungal creams.
However, the more you delay it, the more the chances that you will be prescribed courses of antibiotics that can make you feel sick and nauseous.
If you delay the treatment for longer, then you risk losing your nail and the neighboring nails altogether, or worse, having the infection spread to other parts of your body.
Once the infection has spread to your bloodstream, you are risking your life for an infection that could have been easily taken care of if you had paid attention to it sooner.
When you notice a spot or discoloration of your nail, go and see a doctor.
They might end up telling you that what you’re suffering from is not an infection, but a cosmetic issue that can be taken care of without any major interventions.
When they take a sample and test your nail, they can also find out if you have an infection.
If the tests come out positive, you will need to be put on medications that will cure your infection and do not cause as many stomach and nausea issues as antibiotics.
In some instances, the doctor may tell you that the infection is such that it won’t spread any further, but that it will also not go away by itself.
In these cases, with the help of your doctor’s expertise, you can decide whether you want to leave it be or take medications that will correct it for cosmetic purposes only.
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