Nail fungus refers fungal infection affecting any part of the nail bed, nail matrix or the plate. This condition is primarily associated with cosmetic concerns; but can also lead to disfigurement, pain and functional impairment. This condition is not life threatening but can often be very stigmatism and worrying for some.
Estimates suggest that the prevalence ranges between 3 to 8% of the general population. It is more frequently observed in individuals with suppressed immunity, chronic condition and during pregnancy.
Causes Of Nail Fungus During Pregnancy
Here are some of the risk factors that are associated with nail fungus,
- During pregnancy, a female’s immune system undergoes significant alterations.
- Females suffering from diabetes during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing nail fungus. Diabetes results in poor blood sugar regulation and hyperglycemia (i.e. increase blood sugar levels). This promotes growth of fungus and bacteria, especially on the skin.
- Trauma to the nail during pregnancy can also increase the chances of nail fungus.
- Excessive sweating or a humid and warm climate can increase the probability of nail fungus during pregnancy.
- Use of certain medications, especially steroids can hamper immunity. Altered immunity can lead to increased risk of developing nail fungus. Such medications are often prescribed in cases of renal dysfunctions or COPD during pregnancy.
- Poor skin hygiene, communal bathing and engaging in sporting activities can also lead to nail fungus.
Reports suggest that most of the nail fungus infections are caused by Malassezia furfur. About 8 to 10% of nail fungus are caused by Candida albicans, while another 1 to 5% may be attributed to Scopulariopsis breyicaulis. However, there is usually no difference in the clinical manifestation or treatment protocol.
7 Natural Ways To Treat Nail Fungus In Pregnancy
Here are some essential tips to treat nail fungus during pregnancy. Most of these tips are natural, home based, safe and effective.
- Local application of tea tree oil is effective in most cases. Tea tree oil has strong anti fungal properties. This essential oil should be used in a dilution of 5%. Dab the essential oil on a cotton pad and apply it at the site. Repeat this twice a day.
- Local application of paste of turmeric with any base oil like coconut is helpful. Turmeric has strong anti-microbial properties and is effective against all forms of nail fungus.
- Consume three flakes of garlic each day. Garlic is a natural immune booster and fights infections. Garlic consumption is safer compared to oral antibiotics or oral anti-fungals. Consume garlic flakes with raw honey to increase its efficacy.
- Keep the nail bed as dry and clean as possible. Immediately after a bath, dab the site with dry cotton to avoid keeping the area moist. Moisture can promote fungal growth.
- Increase intake of foods rich in Vitamin C. Include lemon, lime, oranges, mangoes, etc in your regular diet. Alternatively increase vitamin c supplements. This helps boost natural immunity and protects against fungal infection.
- In case of pain, add a table spoon of turmeric and tablespoon of raw honey to a glass of milk. Drink twice a day. Honey and turmeric help improve natural immunity and reduce inflammation, respectively.
- Finally, protect the infected nail bed from trauma or injury. A superadded injury can prolong the infection and increase risk of spread to surrounding nails.