The Analyst™

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Healthy

  Fungal Skin / Nail Infection  
 
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Signs, symptoms and indicators | Conditions that suggest it | Contributing risk factors | Recommendations

 

Fungal infections are caused by microscopic organisms (fungi) that can live on the skin. They can live on the dead tissues of the hair, nails, and outer skin layers. Fungal infections include mold-like fungi (dermatophytes, which cause tinea infections) and yeast-like fungi (such as Candida). Heat and humidity bring excess moisture and sweating to our bodies, creating the perfect setting for fungi to grow or fungal infections to develop. Fungi tend to thrive in warm, moist places, such as between the toes, in the groin, under the breasts, and other parts of the body. Cutaneous candidiasis is called Intertrigo (discussed separately) when occuring under heavy skin folds.

Fungi are yeasts and molds that can infect and live in the topmost layer of the skin. Fungal infections of the skin may affect the feet, groin, scalp, nails, and other parts of your body. Some fungal infections can be difficult to recognize because they may cause no symptoms or only cause slight redness and dryness. Other fungal infections may cause itching, swelling, blistering and severe scaling or dry flaky skin.

One of every five persons gets a fungal infection at some time. You can get a fungal infection by touching a person who has one. Some kinds of fungus live on damp surfaces, like the floors in public showers or locker rooms. You can even catch a fungal infection from one of your pets. Sometimes, the clothes we wear encourage fungi to develop, such as tight-fitting socks or close-fitting clothing.

There are several types of fungal infections. These infections are generally named for the part of the body they affect. Doctors commonly use the term tinea followed by the Latin name for the body part affected to identify the specific kind of infection. As tinea grows, it will often spread out in a circle, leaving normal-appearing skin in the middle, which makes it look like a ring. At the edge of the ring, the skin is lifted up by the irritation and looks red and scaly. To some people, the infection looks like a "worm" is under the skin. Because of the way it looks, tinea infection is often called "ringworm."

Examples include: athlete's foot (tinea pedis), jock itch (tinea cruris), body ringworm (tinea corporis), ringworm of the nails & toenails (tinea unguium), barber's itch (tinea barbae), ringworm of the hands (tinea manuum) and ringworm of the hair / scalp (tinea capitis).

Jock itch, or groin ringworm (tinea cruris) involves the skin of the groin and sometimes the upper thighs and buttocks. It is most often seen in adult men, but may also occur in women. Jock itch is not contagious. In many cases, the source of the infection is the patientís own feet. Jock itch and athleteís foot frequently occur together or in close succession.

Tinea cruris usually appears as scaly, ring-shaped patches with slightly raised borders that develop in the groin area and spread outward to one or both thighs, causing some redness and itching. The skin of the scrotum and penis are usually spared, a feature that helps distinguish this condition from some other skin diseases with similar symptoms.

Keep the groin clean and dry. Wash and dry well, especially after exercise, and apply talcum powder to absorb moisture. Wear cotton underclothes and avoid tight pants and pantyhose. After swimming, put on dry clothes right away - donít stay long in a wet swimsuit.

Cutaneous candidiasis involves infection of the skin with candida. It may involve almost any skin surface on the body, but usually occurs in warm, moist, creased areas (such as armpits and groins). Cutaneous candidiasis is fairly common. Candida is the most common cause of diaper rash in infants where it takes advantage of the warm moist condition beneath the diaper. The most common fungus to cause these infections is candida albicans.

Candida infection is particularly common in individuals with diabetes and in people who are obese. Antibiotics and oral contraceptives increase the risk of cutaneous candidiasis. Candida can also cause infections of the nail, referred to as onychomycosis, and infections around the corners of the mouth, called angular cheilitis. Oral thrush, a form of candida infection found on the mucous membranes of the mouth, may be a sign of HIV infection or other immunodeficiency disorders when it occurs in adults. Infected individuals are not usually considered infectious to others, though in some settings transmission to immunocompromised hosts can occur.
 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Fungal Skin / Nail Infection:
 
 
Symptoms - Nails  Green/black/brown fingernails
 Green nails are generally due to a pseudomonas pyocyanea infection.

  Deformed toenails

Symptoms - Reproductive - General

  Genital itching
 Male sexual partners of women with yeast infections may develop genital irritation itching, especially if they are uncircumcised. Usually there is no discharge.

Symptoms - Skin - General

  Itchy skin
 
 

Conditions that suggest Fungal Skin / Nail Infection:
 
 
Symptoms - Immune System  General fungal/yeast infections

Symptoms - Skin - Conditions

Counter-indicators:
  Absence or fungal skin infections
 
 

Risk factors for Fungal Skin / Nail Infection:
 
 
Infections  Yeast / Candida

Symptoms - Reproductive - General

  History of genital itching
 Male sexual partners of women with yeast infections may develop genital irritation itching, especially if they are uncircumcised. Usually there is no discharge.
 
 

Recommendations for Fungal Skin / Nail Infection:
 
 
Botanical  Olive Leaf Extract
 There are many testimonials that toe nail or finger nail fungus respond to olive leaf extract over time.

  Oregano Oil
 Oregano oil appears to be effective but can irritate surrounding tissues. It can be diluted with a little olive oil to reduce this effect.

  Garlic
 A formula that may help is called GOOT (Garlic Oil Ointment). This is made by combining 1Tbsp of fresh chopped / mashed garlic cloves, 3Tbsp of coconut oil and 1Tbsp of olive oil. The mixture is placed in a small jar and refrigerated while being used. The olive oil is added to keep the mixture soft while refrigerated - otherwise with coconut oil alone, it would be a solid at cold temperatures. Shelf life is about one month. Apply the mixture generously daily.

  Tea Tree oils (Melaleuca / Leptospermum - Manuka)

Diet

  Sugars Avoidance / Reduction
  Vinegar
 Fungal infections of both fingernails and toenails can sometimes be resolved by using vinegar and honey. Place one tablespoon of each in a glass of water and drink once per day.

Drug

  Antibiotics
 Many antifungal creams ( imidaole, naftidine, tolnaftate or nystatin) are available, and can be applied 2 -3 times a day for several weeks. Continue applying the cream for a week after the infections seems to have cleared. In the case of widespread skin infection, oral anti-fungal drugs may be prescribed by your doctor.

Mineral

  Iodine
 Sometimes applying an iodine solution, like Betadyne, once or more per day to the affected cuticla area of the nail will result in healthy nail growth - the damaged portion slowly moving outward as new nail is generated.

Oxygen / Oxidative Therapies

  Ozone / Oxidative Therapy
 Serial topical ozone applications have shown marked success in eradicating the most chronic and stubborn fungal skin conditions. Ozonated olive oil can be used topically for fungal infections in general.

Topical ozone therapy for nail infections offers a unique treatment opportunity for these recalcitrant infections. Ozone penetrates the affected areas, including the nails proper, and with repeated administration, is capable of inactivating all species of fungi involved in nail infections. Healing occurs slowly yet consistently, and skin integrity along with nail anatomy, gradually regain their normal configuration.

When using ozonated oil, it should be applied nightly, including under the nail. A finger cot or cut finger from a latex/vinyl glove can be place over the toe to keep the oil present on the toe and encourage penetration during the night. Greater effect will occur if done during the day also.

The use of ozonized oil in the treatment of onychomycosis is basing on its proven antifungal action, good tolerance on skin and absence of secondary effects. In the studied sample, the ozonized oil turns out to be one effective therapy. Clinical and mycologic tests were effected. [R.Grillo, L.Falcon, W.Lorenzo, R.Daniel, S.Mendez M. Gomez y L.A.Fernŗndez Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas]

Skin

  DMSO Topically
 DMSO can be mixed in equal parts with any of the other antifungals mentioned here to improve penetration of the active agents into the nail and skin.
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Strongly counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended







GLOSSARY

Candidiasis:  Infection of the skin or mucous membrane with any species of candida, usually Candida albicans. The infection is usually localized to the skin, nails, mouth, vagina, bronchi, or lungs, but may invade the bloodstream. It is a common inhabitant of the GI tract, only becoming a problem when it multiplies excessively and invades local tissues. Growth is encouraged by a weakened immune system, as in AIDS, or with the prolonged administration of antibiotics. Vaginal symptoms include itching in the genital area, pain when urinating, and a thick odorless vaginal discharge.

Cheilitis:  Inflammation affecting the lips.

Diabetes Mellitus:  A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

HIV:  Abbreviation for human immunodeficiency virus, a retrovirus associated with onset of advanced immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Intertrigo:  Intertrigo is a yeast infection (candida albicans) of the skin found under skin folds. It is notorious for flaring in response to hot humid weather. Moisture builds under the skin fold and the yeast flourishes leading to symptoms such as redness, scaling and significant itching. The skin may develop some raw spots. Little red bumps and pustules may be present. Typically the involved skin is red in color.

Mucous Membranes:  The membranes, such as the mouse, nose, anus, and vagina, that line the cavities and canals of the body which communicate with the air.

Thrush:  A fungal infection from Candida Albicans. Occurs most often in infants, immunocompromised patients, and AIDS victims. Characterized by small whitish sports on the tongue and inside of the cheeks.

Yeast:  A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.