Do you have yellow toenails? Get insights on the meaning, causes and symptoms of this nail condition. You will also learn more on how to treat and prevent the discoloration of toenails.
Yellow Toenail Meaning
Yellow toenail is a change in color of your nails from normal to yellowish. There are various condition, diseases and personal habits that can result to toenail discolorations. It is very important to pay the necessary attention to any color changes of your nails since they indicate your body’s health.
When you notice the first signs of nail discoloration, it is advisable to visit your podiatrist for diagnosis and for yellow toenail cure. In most cases, yellow toenails can be symptomatic to serious health problems such as diabetes, fungal infections, lymphedema and yellow nail syndrome.
However, in some cases the yellow stains on your nails may not be a threat to your health as they can result from various personal habits. For instance, after painting and removing a yellow nail polish, some stains may remain on the nails and they will disappear as the nail grows out.
This nail condition can affect any person but it is common in older age especially from 30-70 years. It is important to find out the cause and begin treatment as early as possible. You should also cheek for other symptoms such as brittle nails or loosely fitted nails.
Yellow Toenails Causes
The discoloration of nails is commonly caused by a fungal infections and nail psoriasis. The fungus thrives mostly in moist or dumpy environment such as public swimming pools, showers, tubs and even soil. When you become infected with the fungus, it causes an infection known as Onychomycosis.
The nails usually starts by developing yellow or discoloration from the corners which eventually spreads to the whole nail plate if not controlled. This infection may be accompanied with other symptoms such as brittle nails and pain especially when wearing closed shoes.
It is advisable to seek treatment earlier. The chances of success treatment is high when you start medication immediately you notice the first symptoms. Consider using over the counter medicines such as Fungoid Tincture or Tineacide. You may visit your doctor if you don’t see any improvement after 2-3 month of treatment.
However, this nail condition is not only caused by fungal infections. There is also other nail or body condition that may cause yellow fingernails or toenails. They include the following:
- Frequent use of nail varnish
Frequent use and removal of nail polish may also lead to stains of your nails. A part from causing discolorations, the polish may also trap moisture under the nail bed that may result to infections. Avoiding the use of such nail polish or vanish for a couple of weeks may help to fix this condition.
This is a problem of the lymphatic system. It is a condition that causes blockage of part of your circulatory system. This condition usually causes swelling in the arms or legs and the affected individuals are usually characterized with yellow toenails.
Lymphedema may also cause the lymphatic system to become vulnerable to other conditions that may cause nail bed infections including the fungi. Primary lymphedema are caused by certain genes that affect the lymphatic system while secondary lymphedema may be due to infections, injury, and inflammation of the limb or from cancer treatments.
Yellow nails is also likely to be a symptom of diabetes. The sugar imbalances in your body may cause glucose to attach to the collagen protein. Collagen plays a role in development of the nails, therefore this may lead to transformation of the nail color from normal to yellow.
It may also cause white spots on nails. This condition can affect any person but it is common among older individuals. You are supposed to visit your clinic regularly to find out your blood sugar level or for treatment.
There is a big difference in color when you compare the nails of an older person and young person. As you get older, your body immune system becomes weak. You may become vulnerable to various internal body conditions such as blood circulatory problems, kidney or liver conditions or diabetes.
The nail color may change as a symptomatic to the underlying body condition. You are not supposed to ignore such signs. Visiting your doctor right away for the diagnosis and treatment of your condition. You may also develop ridges in fingernails as you age.
- Genetic disorder
Yellow toenails is a serious condition that should be taken seriously. However, you are not supposed to confuse it with a genetic disorder that is known as yellow nail syndrome. This condition causes yellow discoloration of the nails and may be accompanied with other symptoms such as thickening, slow nail growth, lack of cuticle and toenail falling off.
This is a liver condition that causes yellowing of the nails, skin, eyes and mouth or nose membranes. This condition is also characterized with other condition such as dark-colored urine and pale-colored stool. This are warning signs and you are supposed to seek medication immediately.
Yellow Toenails Symptoms
Yellowing of toenails is usually accompanied with other symptoms and signs. These symptoms may help you to determine the actual cause of the nail discoloration. When the nails are affected by a fungal infection, there are various symptoms you will notice. They include the following:
- The toenails becomes thick and hardened
- Splitting of the nail plate
- Tenderness between the toes and the areas around the affected toes
- A foul smell from the toenails
- Mild to severe pain especially when wearing a shoe
- Build-up of debris under the infected toenails
- Discoloration and malformation of the nail.
When the discoloration is caused by underlying body condition such as circulatory problems, diabetes and liver or kidney disorders, you may also notice occasional changes on the nails. The nails may become brittle, spotted with white marks, raised appearance, weak and sometimes crumbled.
Yellow Toenails Treatment
The toenail discoloration treatment is determined by the cause of your condition. The best treatment is to first of all find the cause by visiting your podiatrist for diagnosis. If the discoloration is caused by underlying body condition, you are required to treat that condition in order to see improvements on your nails.
There is little you can do to treat the toenail discoloration caused by nail polish or vanish. You will only have to be patience and wait the nail to grow out together with the discoloration and then you clip it off. The nail will therefore restore its normal color.
If your nail discoloration is as a result of an infection, there are various treatment option you can use to get of the condition. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and recommend the best treatment for you. You may also use home remedies for toenail fungus. Some of the treatments includes the following:
- Oral antifungal medication
If you are diagnosed with a fungal infection, your doctor or podiatrist may prescribe an oral antifungal medications. Such medicines helps to alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by the fungal infection between the toes or under the toenail.
Do not expect an immediate results as it may take up to six month to clear the infection. You may be required to take the medicines for 12 weeks in order to restore the normal color of your nails. You are supposed to take such medicines as directed by your doctor.
- Topical treatment
For mild fungal infections, your doctor or podiatrist may prescribe topical treatments such as the use of antifungal gel, polish or cream. In some cases such medications are also prescribed along with oral antifungal treatment. You are required to apply such polish on the nails just like the other regular nail lacquer.
- Home remedies and natural antifungal treatments
There are various yellow toenails home remedy treatments that are recommended by various dermatological studies in killing the fungi. Some of the remedies include some of the ingredients you are using in the kitchen. They includes the following:
- Tea tree oil
This is a natural topical treatment for fungal infection. It contains anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties that are effective in treating the various infections including the fungi. You are required to apply diluted tea tree oil thrice a day on the affected area until your condition improves.
- Vinegar foot soak
This ingredient also have the ability to stop the growth of certain fungal and bacteria on the affected area. Mix some vinegar with warm water and soak the affected foot for 20 minutes twice daily. Use a clean towel to dry the foot thoroughly after soaking.
- Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide works effectively in whitening yellow stained toenails. You only requires a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide concentration. To use this remedy, you simply mix three teaspoonful of hydrogen peroxide in half a cup of warm water.
Soak the affected nails in the solution for 30 minutes. Rinse the nails with clean water and pat them dry. Repeat the procedure daily until the nails restores to their normal color.
Lemon juice is effective on how to get rid of yellow toenails from nail polish. It also works as astringent that is useful on how to strengthen nails. You simply squeeze several lemon fruits to obtain enough juice. Soak the affected nails for 15 minutes. Finally, rinse with warm water and apply a moisturizer. Repeat the procedure twice daily for several days until you obtain the positive results.
- Baking soda
Baking soda contains bleaching and exfoliating properties that helps in removing yellow stains from the nails. To make this remedy more effective, you simply mix equal proportions of baking soda and 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Use a cotton ball to apply the mixture on the stained nails.
How to Prevent Yellow Toenails
Yellow nails is a serious condition that you are not supposed to give a light approach. It may lead to other complications that can result to nail falling off. However, prevention is always better than cure, there are various tips and measures you can employ to prevent this condition. They include:
- Dry your feet thoroughly after washing. If you have a habit of wiping your feet dry for 20 seconds after cleaning, you are supposed to stop it from now. Take your time to dry the feet completely prior to wearing socks or shoes.
- Wear dry and clean socks always. The fungus that causes various nails problems thrives well in dirty, warm and moist condition. Wearing clean and dry socks helps to prevent such infections. You may consider changing your socks in the mid of the day if you are having sweaty feet.
- Avoid walking barefooted in public and dump areas. The various types of fungi thrives well in damp public areas such as wash rooms and swimming pools. You are likely to get infected when you walk in such areas barefooted.
- Follow the instruction given by your doctor strictly during treatment. Following the yellow toenails treatment instructions strictly may help to prevent recurring of this condition. Take the medicines as directed by your podiatrist. Complete the dose given even if you may notice some improvements.
- Take the action immediately. It is important to take the action right away you start experiencing the first symptoms such as yellow or white dots on the nail plate. Visit your podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment. It will be easier to treat the condition before it spreads to the whole nail plate.
- Trim your nails short regularly. Long and dirty nails may harbor various fungal and bacteria that can cause nail infection. Trim the nails straight across the edges and use a nail file to smoothen the rough edges.
- Keep your feet and toenails clean. Proper hygiene helps to prevent the various infection that causes nail discolorations. Use antifungal or antibacterial soap to wash your feet and toenails. Wash between the toes and dry them well after cleaning.
- Avoid sharing personal items. Sharing of towels, clothes or bathmats may spread the fungal infections from infected person to others.
- Avoid ill-fitting shoes. Wear a shoe that has enough room for your toes, it should also be made from breathable materials that allows free air circulation.
- Avoid regular nail polishing and removal. Nail varnish prevents the nail from getting enough oxygen which may lead to nail yellow toenails.