Being healthy is an uphill battle. Speaking from experience, keeping track of appropriate portion sizes, calories, exercise routines, and everything else in life can be challenging to say the least. However, when compared to all the problems that can be caused by being healthy, including a weakened immune system and all of the diseases that this can invite in, staying healthy is key.
When trying to stay fit, it can help to remember the reasons why. The less fit we are, the great the chance we will pick up annoying and small problems that can grow to become nuisances over time. A popular example is toenail fungus. Affecting millions of Americans everyday, toenail fungus can make your otherwise perfect nails looks outright terrible. Leaving your nails brittle, enlarged, broken, yellowed, brown, and even with white spots, toenail fungus will gradually destroy your toenail until there is nothing left.
So what can you do about it? Truth be told, the faster you act and the more powerful the cure, the sooner you will be back to your usual self. While some people turn to home remedies to help solve their toenail fungus problem, other people turn instead to modern medicine in the hopes that it can provide a quick and simple method of removing toenail fungus once and for all. With that in mind, lets talk about the exciting laser treatment for toenail fungus option available to people across the United States. What is toenail fungus and how will laser treatment help stop it before it can damage any more of your toenail? Lets find out.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
Going by many names, including Onychomycosis, toenail fungus is when a fungus infects the toenail as well as the soft skin around the toenail. That’s right. The same kingdom responsible for making break rise, beer alcoholic, and mushrooms appear, is also responsible for causing the slow deterioration of your toenails known as Onychomycosis. Toenail fungus can produce inflammation, toenail thickening, toenail crumbling, and even pain. As any person who has experienced it can attest, having toenail fungus is in no way fun. While some fungus affect only the top of the nail and can be removed relatively easily, other forms of toenail fungus can affect inside the nail, producing more pain and making it an even greater challenge to remove. Lasers can provide a potential answer to this problem.
So why does toenail fungus occur? Well, the fungus responsible for toenail fungus is in the air all around us. 99% of the time, our body does an excellent job fighting it off and keeping us healthy. Sometimes however because of nothing more then bad luck, our bodies can let something through and take root. Along with bad luck, a range of possible situations can increase the risk of getting Onychomycosis. For example, being generally unhealthy can lead to a weakened immune system that increases the chances of getting toenail fungus. Also, being relatively unclean and not washing your feet can also increase the risk. Wearing the same socks or hosiery repeatedly can increase the risk, as well as not properly cleaning tools used to take care of nails. Trapped water can create a breeding ground for the fungus, which along with the heat can spread and infect your nails. In addition, there is a very small chance that you can get it from someone else when sharing nail grooming equipment.
Regardless of how you get an infection, it will start off small and gradually grow. The more it grows, the more noticeable it will become and the harder it will be to treat. Treatment early on is usually the most effective while treatment later will often be more invasive and can possibly even include the removal of the toenail as part of the cure.
So where toenail fungus laser treatment fall in all of this? Lets find out.
Laser Treatment For Toenail Fungus
Have you ever heard of laser toenail fungus removal? No? Well, you are not the only one. Laser treatment for this purpose was only approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) about 5 years ago. Since then it has gradually been picking up acceptance and use in the community as more and more podiatrists and doctors alike see its practical use in this context. Unlike all other treatments out there, laser treatment provides an entirely new way of approaching and dealing with toenail fungus that does not require anti-fungal medication or removing the toenail. In particular, some people are afraid that the anti-fungal drugs will cause liver damage. While rare, it has been known to happen. As the technology for laser treatment continues to improve over time, the general costs associated with the procedure go down.
How Does This Treatment Work?
While treating toenail fungus via lasers is relatively new, the technology and practice is well established in other fields including laser hair removal. The laser looks for pigment discoloration and will target these areas with a burst of heat effectively killing all fungus in the area. While the toenail is particularly sensitive, what most people relate feeling is the sensation of someone snapping a rubber band against their skin over and over again. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, this may be either annoying or painful.
Once the procedure is done, future checkups may not be necessary unless something else emerges over time. A quick and simple procedure, patients can be in and out the door in no time at all and with a minimum level of inconvenience. When matched against how invasive other treatment options can be as well as how harmful they can be, it makes sense that so many people are interested in laser treatment over traditional methods. This is especially true for those who traditional methods have not previously worked.
Potential Problems With Laser Treatment
When considering laser treatment and the advantage it brings to kill toenail fungus, you might be wondering if there are any drawbacks. With such a young technology, there are indeed some things that you should be aware of. The first is that with only 5 years of FDA approval, laser treatment still has a long way to go before the right level of treatment is defined and agreed upon. What might be regulated for use now may not work in all conditions, leading to a ‘better safe then sorry’ approach that will take years to amend.
One of the biggest drawbacks to laser treatment and toenail fungus is availability. Given the expense and newness of this device, you may not have many laser treatment options around you. In fact, there may not be a single provider of this service in your city or even within a hundred miles of where you live. Along with having to extensively search for a person with this equipment, you will also have to make sure that the procedure is right for your particular case of toenail fungus.
Another drawback is the cost. At the moment, most insurance companies will not cover laser treatment in regards to toenail fungus removal. What this means is that you the patient will have to make up the majority of the cost. It is important to realize that many of the laser treatment machines out there are expensive and as such the procedures will cost a lot of money to help make up the cost. As a result, there may be less expensive options available to you. Even though they may have more risk, they will be more affordable options to you.
When Is Laser Treatment The Right Option?
For minor to moderate fungal infections you will be able to find better options out there. These options can include inexpensive over the counter treatments. In addition, there are a myriad of home remedy options available with a proven history of being able to fight back many of the fungus responsible for these infections. Consider also seeing a doctor and getting some form of anti-fungal pill or ointment. While these may carry some minor risk, they are often very rare.
If you have moderate to sever fungal infection and you have the money/service available to you, then it may be worth checking out. Using laser treatment can mean saving the toenail. In addition, it means not having the toenail have to be removed and instead allowing it to grow healthy and eventually replace the damaged sections. In addition, it is an excellent option when you want to quickly deal with the situation, as opposed to waiting an extended period of time to figure out what is wrong.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Every year, science advances and provides new options for existing conditions. Whether or not some of these options are worth using depends on the costs involved, the needs of the patients, and the willingness of the doctor to learn the technology. If and when laser treatment designed for toenail fungus is available for you, you should consider using it. Otherwise, consider using one of the many alternative anti-fungal treatments out there.