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Onychomycosis: Types of Nail Fungus, Causes, and Symptoms
There are 4 Main Types of Fungus:
1.) Distal subungual onychomycosis (DSO): DSO is recognized by the thickening and yellow discoloration of the nail. The infection usually begins in the skin just under the free edge and then moves backward towards the lunula (moon). Once it has infected the entire nail, it's called total dystrophic onychomycosis. Since it's underneath the nail, topical anti fungals cannot be used; a doctor must prescribe oral medication.
2.) Proximal subungual onychomycosis (PSO): A less common type of onychomycosis is when nail nearest the cuticle becomes infected with fungus, and then grows out towards the free edge of the nail. Note the lunula part of the nail plate will first appear white.
3.) White superficial onychomycosis (WSO): Seen largely on older adults, WSO affects the top surface of the nail and appears white and powdery, like the tips of the nails here. It can sometimes be treated with topical medication.
[Image: KTesh via Flikr Creative Commons]
4.) Chronic muccocuaneous candidiasis: A type of yeast infection, it creates a very thick hyperkeratotic nail. Usually this is caused by a nail that was already damaged or infected in some way. It is especially easy for yeast to breed under a nail with onycholysis, where the plate lifts from the nail bed.
What to Do and Prevention »