Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Why can't I get rid of this embarassing toenail fungus?"
I'm 32, female with a seemingly incurable toenail fungus. Three of the nails on each foot are infected and have been for well over a year. I've tried Lamisil, the oral doctor prescribed medicine but never finished the treatment because it made my liver hurt. (I know that sounds funny, but my back above the waistband would hurt for several hours after taking a dose.) My mom got me some melaleuca oil which i used without diluting for about two days. Then it started irritating and drying out the skin around my nails. She told me to dilute it, so i started about a week later to use it with olive oil. For a little over two months this is what i've done two times a day with absolutely no result, other than minty smelling toes. :) What can I do to speed up the process?!
Toenail fungus (also known as onychomycosis) is a common, but stubborn and difficult to treat problem. It sounds like you have already taken the logical first steps towards getting rid of it, but have not quite been successful. The best type of physician for you to see about this problem is a dermatologist.
See a doctor who can help
Find a Dermatologists near you
A dermatologist will know what the best available treatments are for people that fail, or cannot tolerate Lamisil treatment. Treatments for onychomycosis can be divided into the oral and topical medications. The melaleuca oil has not been tested in clinical trials, and probably will not get rid of your fungus. While currently lamisil is the best treatment there are other options. For example oral itraconazole in combination with or without a topical antifungal nail paint may work. Newer and more effective oral and topical medications are in the pipeline. Because of the multiple current and future options, I am confident that you will get this nail fungus taken care of. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. He or she can examine your toe nail fungus closely and determine which sub-type you have. From there, the doctor can review which treatments you have already received and determine what the next best treatment is for you. Since you did not tolerate the Lamisil, then you might be placed on a different oral medication perhaps in combination with a topical one.
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.