How do I Choose the Best Cream for Toenail Fungus?

Erin J. Hill

You may wish to speak with a medical doctor before choosing a cream for toenail fungus, although there are over the counter options available. It is generally a good idea to try the least expensive and most convenient option first, and then move up to stronger options if symptoms persist. Prescription creams may be necessary if you have a more persistent or serious infection.

Over-the-counter creams are often effective at treating mild toenail fungus infections.
Over-the-counter creams are often effective at treating mild toenail fungus infections.

Most fungal infections do not cause long-term damage, but they can be an embarrassing problem, often leading to discolored, brittle, and sometimes malodorous nails. Thick nails are another common symptom. A doctor’s advice may be needed to determine if an infection if caused by a fungus or bacteria, but in most cases a bacterial infection will also cause pain or redness.

Prescriptions may be required to treat toenail fungus.
Prescriptions may be required to treat toenail fungus.

You can try an over the counter cream for toenail fungus first. These are usually effective in treating mild infections. To find the best option, you should speak with your pharmacist or look at an online review site to determine which creams have the best satisfaction rating. If your infection is more severe, it is likely that these creams will not fully cure it or that it will recur later. Often, the creams take several months to work.

A doctor can offer consultation of treating toenail fungus.
A doctor can offer consultation of treating toenail fungus.

If you are still having symptoms after using an over the counter cream for toenail fungus, you can see your family doctor or dermatologist for a prescription strength cream. They are typically more effective at treating fungal infections than store bought types. Side effects may be more likely to occur, and may include skin irritation, tingling, or slight burning. If they become severe or if a rash occurs, discontinue use and consult your doctor.

Sometimes you may think you have a fungal infection when you have another condition. If a cream for toenail fungus does not begin to alleviate symptoms within a few weeks or if new symptoms emerge, be sure to consult your physician for further guidance. Another underlying infection may be present and you may require antibiotic medications.

To avoid a recurring fungal infection, you should avoid going without shoes in public places. Always wear shower shoes when using a public shower. Clean beneath the nails regularly but avoid cutting them too short since this can allow bacteria to enter more easily.

Sometimes what appears to be a fungal infection is actually a different condition entirely.
Sometimes what appears to be a fungal infection is actually a different condition entirely.

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