Toenail fungus, which is more formally known as onychomycosis, can be difficult to get rid of on your own. Some people try using various essential oils and over-the-counter antifungal creams, but these remedies are rarely effective. In the cases where they are effective, they often take a very long time to work. Your best bet, if you have onychomycosis, is to see a foot doctor. Here are a few of the treatments they may administer or recommend.
Medicated Nail Polish
This is often the first prescription medication that foot doctors recommend for nail fungus. It comes in a bottle that look like a standard nail polish bottle with a brush. Twice a day, you will clean and dry your nails and the skin around them. Then, you apply a generous layer of the medicated nail polish and let it dry. Don't worry—it's clear! At the end of the week, you will treat your nails with alcohol to remove the built up nail polish. Then, you'll proceed as before, applying the polish twice a day. The antifungal ingredient in the polish is called ciclopirox, and it will help stop the fungi from reproducing. It won't necessarily kill active fungi, though, so you will need to use the polish for 6 months to a year before your nails are completely fungus free.
Oral Antifungal Medications
If medicated nail polish does not work for you, or if you want faster effects, then your foot doctor may instead prescribe an oral antifungal medication. The active ingredient in the medication is usually terbinafine. You'll need to take it for about 3 months or until you start seeing clear, healthy nail tissue emerging from your nail bed. It will then take about another 6 months for all of the unhealthy, infected nail tissue to grow out and be trimmed away. Oral antifungals can have side effects like skin rashes and liver damage, so if you react poorly to them, you will need to stop taking them and consider another treatment.
If your body is not tolerating antifungal medications well, then your foot doctor may recommend having the nail removed. The nail bed will be left in tact so that you can grow a new nail. However, once your nail is gone, this nail bed can be directly treated with antifungal medications to cure the infection. Most people who cannot tolerate oral antifungal medications or antifungal nail polish can tolerate the nail bed being treated since doing so only requires a few doses.
You do not have to go on suffering with toenail fungus. Visit a foot doctor in your area to discuss treatment options with them.