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Four Common Types of Fungal Nail Infections

Four Common Types of Fungal Nail Infections

Did you know that nail fungus – or onychomycosis – is of different types?  There are four different types of fungal nail infections in fact.  These are:

  1. Distal Subungual Onychomycosis
  2. White Superficial Onychomycosis
  3. Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis
  4. Candida Onychomycosis

We’ll discuss each type below.

Distal Subungual Onychomycosis (DSO)

The most common type of nail fungal infection is distal subungual onychomycosis, or DSO.  This is most often caused by an organism called Trichophyton rubrum. This type of nail infection usually begins at the tip of the nail, but spreads to cover all sides as well as the nail bed, i.e. the tissue under the nail plate itself.  The infected nail plate might turn yellowish or become darker than the other healthy nails.  Furthermore, the nail itself might become thicker and rough.

White Superficial Onychomycosis (WSO)

The second most common type of nail fungus is called white superficial onychomycosis, or WSO. It is usually caused by the organism Trichophyton mentagrophytes.  This type of nail infection usually only affects the outer nail bed and often causes the nail to turn milky white, but it can also take on a yellowish color. As it spreads further, the nail might become brittle and even deformed.

Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis (PSO)

This type of fungal nail infection usually begins as a result of a weakened immune system, or due to an injury or disease; it is very rare for a healthy individuals to suffer from proximal subungual onychomycosis. As with DSO, PSO is caused by the organism Trichophyton rubrum.  In the early stages of this infection the nail bed will usually become discolored and may take on a yellowish color.  If not treated, the infection will spread deeper making the nail hard and thick and may even become painful.

Candida Onychomycosis

This type of nail infection is more likely to affect the fingernails, but may also occur in toenails.  Candida onychomycosis is caused by Candida albicans, which is a fungus related to yeast. Interestingly, Candida albicans exists in most healthy people, but can become dangerous in extreme cases; especially in people who have weak immune systems. This type of fungal infection usually affects the nail plate and may cause pain as well as give off a foul smell. Most doctors will prescribe antibiotics to treat it.

What should you do if you think you have a nail fungus infection?

There are various methods used for treating fungal nail infections including topical creams, oral medication or laser treatment.  However, if you think you are suffering from such an infection you should immediately consult your doctor or physician, who will best be able to advise the right course of treatment for you.


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