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Nail Fungus Tests


Testing for Nail Fungus

Nail fungus can be an unsightly embarrassment, and if left untreated, it can actually go on to cause other health problems, including discoloration of the nails and painful infections in the nail bed. In order to combat nail fungus, you first need to identify it, and in order to do this, you'll need to test for it. In early stages, nail fungus may be difficult to identify with the naked eye, and it may also be confused with dirt or non-fungus debris in the nail. As a result, you should see a doctor for testing if you're concerned about a nail fungus problem.

Testing for Nail Fungus

In most cases, your doctor will first check your nails visually for signs of fungus growth. These signs generally include yellowing of the nail, brittle nail texture and thickness, shape distortion and a dull shine to the nail. From there, your doctor will use a scraper to remove debris from under the nail for examination. In most cases, the debris will need to be taken from an area that is close to the skin. The debris will then be analyzed using a microscope to determine whether it is actually fungus, as things such as yeast and bacteria can mimic the outward effects of fungus in the nail. Psoriasis is another skin condition that may outwardly appear as a fungal infection, as is eczema.

If your doctor is unsure of the presence of fungus, he or she may order a KOH test to be performed. A KOH test uses potassium hydroxide on the debris sample to dissolve away the skin and nail cells, leaving behind any fungi cells. These cells can then be examined under a microscope to determine the level of infection and the type of fungus. This test may need to be performed several times using several different areas of the nail.

Of course, the best way to avoid having to be tested for nail fungus is to prevent fungus from appearing in the first place and to treat any ongoing cases before they become a problem. While there are a number of prescription and over-the-counter nail fungus prevention and treatment options available, they are generally expensive and may require multiple applications. Another option is to turn to natural nail fungus prevention and treatment options. Natural nail fungus prevention and treatment options use anti-fungal ingredients to safely and quickly kill off the fungus that is growing, as well as prevent it from coming back. Additionally, natural products are usually much less expensive than over-the-counter or prescription products.

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