Toenail fungus can be caused by three different types of conditions.
It is most commonly the result of dermatophytes, which are easily contracted. They cause infection when you come in contact with them through objects. Clothing, shoes, nail clippers, etc., are common carriers of this fungus.
The other two major fungal causes are yeasts and molds. If you have toenail fungus, you may have heard of candida. It is a member of the yeast family, but is toenail fungus caused by candida?
Yeasts are present on the body. It’s when there’s an overgrowth of yeast that problems can occur. Anything from a weak immune system to certain antibiotics can lead to an overgrowth.
It is a strain of yeast, commonly associated with nail fungus. While a small amount of candida in your system is normal, it’s the overgrowth that creates problems.
First, it’s important to know what candida is. Then, we can achieve a better understanding of how it causes toenail fungus and what can be done to treat it.
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Does Candida Cause Toenail Fungus?
It can cause fungal infections when it becomes overgrown, which is typically caused by imbalances in the body. When your body’s defenses aren’t strong enough to combat against the growing yeast, it can create different issues and types of yeast infections, including toenail fungus.
What Is Candida?
It is located in your gut, as microorganisms called Candida Albicans. When it’s under control, it helps you to digest food properly. The causes of Candida range from dietary and lifestyle choices, to different medications and antibiotics that weaken the immune system.
Some common causes of the overproduction of candida include:
- Carbohydrate-heavy diet
- Sugar-heavy diet
- Birth control pills
There are several differences between these common causes. For instance, eating foods that are full of sugars allow the candida to feast. In that case, the yeast can grow excessively.
Antibiotics, birth control pills, stress, etc., kill or weaken the good bacteria in your gut, allowing infection and overgrowth to occur. Some of these things might seem unavoidable. But, simple dietary changes are a great place to start if you’re experiencing a fungal infection due to yeast.
Common Symptoms of Candida
It will affect everyone differently when there is an overproduction of yeast. Common symptoms of toenail fungus caused by candida include things like:
Because it is a type of yeast, debris underneath the nail is not uncommon. Often, people will compare this type of debris to the look and smell of cheese.
Again, it’s certainly not the only way for nail fungus to occur, but noticing a yeast-like smell as a symptom can certainly tip you off that candida is the cause.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Treating candida starts from within. Remember, toenail fungus and candida are connected only when there is an overproduction of the yeast in your system. The first thing you’ll want to do is eliminate the overgrowth of yeast. That can be done in just a few simple steps:
- Changing your diet: Yeast feeds off the sugar in your body. Things like simple carbs and of course, sugary foods provide a veritable feast for the yeast to grow and thrive. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet (including those from processed foods) can help to control the amount of yeast that’s produced.
- Adding healthy bacteria: Changing your diet doesn’t simply end with cutting out foods. You need to replace those foods with things that will be good for your gut and add healthy bacteria. This includes a lot of fermented and probiotic foods, such as yogurt, kefir, or kombucha. A well-balanced diet that includes fiber, protein, and healthy fats will provide the right nutrition for your body to produce enough candida.
Once you’ve dealt with the source of the candida, you can go about treating the nail fungus itself. There are good options for treating toenail fungus. Everything from antifungal creams to tea tree oil can clear up a fungal infection.
Treating a Fungus Caused by Candida Differently
There isn’t much difference in treating a toenail fungus caused by candida. The main object to consider is treating it from the inside out.
You can get rid of the symptoms of a toenail fungus through antifungal treatments and lifestyle changes. However, the fungus can keep returning if you don’t take care of the candida internally.
Keep in mind that a fungal infection is only one result of an overproduction of candida. Additional symptoms include:
- Digestive issues
- Joint pain
- Weakened immune system
When your immune system is compromised, it can become more difficult for a toenail fungus to clear up properly. So, taking care of the overgrowth of yeast should always be your first step when it comes to treating the fungus. And a probiotic supplement is an excellent starting point!
Is toenail fungus caused by candida? Not always, but it certainly can be. If you notice any of the symptoms of a toenail fungus, the most important thing you can do is to start a treatment plan.
The yeast-like smell and the appearance of cheese underneath the nail can let you know you’re probably dealing with a fungus caused by candida. In those instances, two treatments are necessary: The treatment of the candida itself (through diet changes and probiotics) and the treatment of the nail fungus.
Toenail fungus can grow and spread relatively quickly when not treated properly, so pay attention to your toes. The sooner you become aware of a fungal infection, the easier it will be to treat.