Nail fungus, also known as Onychomycosis and often referred to as "Toenail Fungus" is a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails. This difficult to cure condition causes nails to become thickened and discolored. Infected nails can turn white, black, yellow or green. The nail will often distort in shape and become brittle. If left untreated separation of the nail from the nail bed can occur. Nail fungus is an extremely common condition affecting about 20% of the global population. The condition is particularly difficult to eliminate due to the fact that the fungal infection is protected beneath the nail it inhabits. Nails, especially toenails, provide perfect growing conditions due to likelihood of moisture and a lack of air circulation. As you age, one becomes even more susceptible to nail fungus. The sooner you start to treat the fungus, the less entrenched it will become and the easier it will be to cure.
Problems with Scientific Research on the "Best Treatment" for Nail Fungus
Current research is being undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of therapies which are used to ameliorate fungal nail infections. A common drawback of the studies is that researchers may be biased. For example, research may be conducted by a pharmaceutical company which desires to show that its treatment is more effective than an agent which is produced by a competitor. The researcher is not likely to publish a study if it indicates the product proves inferior to a competitor’s formula.
The quality of studies may be poor. It is difficult to compare the results of similar research projects at times. For example, one study indicated that an agent was superior to another medication. At first glance, this seemed like one medication superior to the drug which it was being compared with. However, that was not necessarily the case. In the study that showed better results, the participants were younger, and likely healthier, than the people who were examined in the second research project. It was not a fair comparison of the two products. Looking at the relationship of two was essentially the same as the old expression “comparing apples to oranges”.
Another complex issue regarding research studies is that researchers differ in how they defined the term” successful treatment “was defined. For example if an infection went away, but if reinfection recurred quickly, a researcher might consider that the treatment was successful because the initial infection was resolved. However another researcher, and especially the afflicted individual, would not consider that the treatment was successful.
Our Approach to Explaining and Recommending Treatment
The Global Nail Fungus Organization was created to help the millions of people suffering from nail fungus find safe and effective treatment. We abide by the Hippocratic oath's principal of “first, do no harm” (primum non nocere). It is for this reason that we recommend nail fungus sufferers to first attempt over-the-counter topical treatments before exploring other available treatment options. Our research has found that alternatives to over-the-counter topical treatments come with elevated levels of risk or uncertainty – this includes the majority of prescription options, surgical options, and under-studied home remedies.
You can learn more about the different types of treatments avalibale to nail fungus on our Treatment Types page.
You can learn how to use and maximize the effectiveness of over-the-counter topical treatments by reading our Treatment Guide.
The Global Nail Fungus Organization was founded with one goal: Eliminate Nail Fungus. We work towards this goal by providing resources, education, and solutions to the 35 million people currently suffering from finger and toenail fungus in America.
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