Sunday, May 26, 2013

Toenail Treatment Update

I noticed that several people have recently read my old (2011?) post about toenail treatment. I suspect that back then I was soaking my toes in Listerine once a day to fight a longterm fungal infection in my 2 big toenails.  I developed that infection sometime during the early 80s after a biking accident where my right big toenail was almost torn off. I went to the ER and received only a bandaid on my bleeding toenail. No antifungal or antibiotic ointment was applied. Who knows whether the attendant had even washed his hands before bandaging my toe? 

Within a year my toenail (right foot) thickened. Then the other big toenail (left foot) thickened. One podiatrist told me I had hereditary thick toenails. He regularly filed those 2 thick toenails. When he retired, I saw another podiatrist who informed me that I actually had a fungal infection. He discounted topical treatments (as ineffective) and internal treatments (as too dangerous for my liver). He persuaded me to undergo surgery to remove both toenails and let them grow back as I applied a topical treatment to the toenail bed.  Needless to say, both toenails grew back thick and yellow with the still intact fungal infection.

Many years later (2011?) I read a 'people's pharmacy' column which recommended soaking the toenails in Listerine (or generic equivalent) mouthwash daily to kill the toenail fungus. After many months of daily soaks, my toenails seemed healthier, but were still thick. I enjoyed going to bed with mouthwash evaporating from my feet all night so that I didn't get hot feet during the summer months.  However toenail thickness after many months of soaking suggested I still had the fungus.

When I finally found a really good naturopath (who determine why my immunity was so low), she wanted to check my liver enzymes before we treated my toenails.  I wanted to focus on doing whatever I needed to do to improve my immunity and stop catching continual gastrointestinal bugs and respiratory infections.  So I agreed to wait until after testing my liver enzymes (which were fine).

Last year I again asked my doc about treating my toenail fungus. She suggested either oil of oregano or oil of geranium mixed with DMSO to help the oil penetrate the toenail to reach the toenail bed, where the fungus began. I chose oil of geranium, because I rather have my feet smell like a flower, rather than a pizza. LOL

 Twice daily I applied the oil of geranium/DMSO (mixed in equal portions) to my toenails. My doc suggested that I apply vitamin E capsule contents to any burned tissue around the toenail.  Although the DMSO ingredient made the geranium oil penetrate the toenail, DMSO also burned any surrounding skin it touched.  I soon learned to apply vitamin E oil all around the toenail before I applied the geranium/DMSO solution (1-2 drops per toenail).

After over 6 months my doc looked at my toenails and suggested I stop the geranium/DMSO treatment and see what happened.  Before that point the old toenails had died, peeled off or were filed off, which  allowed new, healthy toenail to grow.  I wasn't quite ready to abandon the daily ritual. So I continued a few more weeks applying the solution.  After I missed a few days when I was busy, I decided to stop applying the solution and watch my toenails. I filed off a few more dead (black) layers and spots. Only white toenail grew back. I could only see pink, healthy tissue underneath the new toenail. 

Now the remaining healthy part of old and new toenails haven't quite merged. So I still file down the old toenail occasionally. However, I'm pretty certain that I will have healthy, normal looking big toenails just in time for summer.  I'm already contemplating which toenail polish color will adorn my healtheir toenails. 

So bottom line for readers of my old toenail treatment post: Listerine doesn't work for longterm toenail fungus. However, oil of geranium mixed with DMSO does work with 2x daily application for at least 6 months.  I suspect less longterm fungal infections might respond to less, but I only know what worked for me.   

2 comments:

Margaret A. Gannon said...

That is very interesting. My husband has suffered from fungal disease on his toes for as long as I have known him, which is over three decades.

He doesn't like sandals even though we live in a beach area because his toes are so ugly. They really, really are.

I will let him know.

sue said...

Thirty years (3 decades) is about how long I had toenail fungus before treatment with DMSO and geranium oil. Here's what my NP recommended (and it worked!):

Mix equal parts of DMSO and oil of geranium (or oil of oregano). You can get both at a Super Supplements, if there's one near you. With an eyedropper apply 1-2 drops of the DMSO/oil mixture to affected toenails. (The DMSO will help the oil penetrate the nail to reach the nail bed, where the fungus starts.) Avoid getting the mixture on skin around the toenail, because it will burn (and die). However, if the mixture accidentally rolls onto neighboring skin, apply the contents of vitamin E capsules immediately to the burned skin. My toenails were so thick that the DMSO/oil mix always ran off the toenail to the skin. So I started outlining my fungus affected toenails with a ring of vitamin E oil (directly from capsules, not a preparation). That prevented burning the skin.

Anyway, apply 1-2 drops to the affected toenail 2x daily. I treated my toenails when I got up in the morning (after showering) and then again about 30-60 minutes before bed (so the DMSO/oil mixture wouldn't run off onto the bed linens.)

I chose the geranum oil, rather than the oil of oregano, because i preferred my feet to smell like flowers, rather than pizza. Maybe your husband would prefer to have his feet smell like pizza. However, those are the only 2 choices. No other oil (including tea tree oil) is as effective as those 2.

Keep me posted on your husband's progress, if he decides to use that treatment for his toenails.