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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Fungal infections

Question: Rotting flesh smell from under fingernails.

 Ivanguy - Tue Oct 07, 2003 11:24 pm

Recently, I noticed that the fingernail on the forefinger on my right hand has an odor of rotting flesh coming from underneath it, and the nail is starting to separate from the nailbed on the left side. The odor grows stronger the longer my nails get. The skin around the left side of the nail is also red and flaky, and has cracked open and bled. To make matters worse, the same thing is beginning to happen on the middle finger's fingernail, making me believe that the condition is spreading. As horrible as all of this sounds, there is absolutely no pain. Regardless, it is a rather frightening thing to see nonetheless. Can someone please help me, and let me know if this a condition for which I need medical attention, or if there is a home remedy I can use to cure it? Also, if this is a condition, the name of it would be wonderful to know. Thanks in advance.
 Dr. Russell M - Wed Oct 08, 2003 5:47 pm

User avatar Hi!

****Onycholysis is characterized by a spontaneous separation of the nail plate starting at the distal free margin and progressing proximally. The nail plate is separated from the underlying and/or lateral supporting structures. Less often, separation of the nail plate begins at the proximal nail and extends to the free edge, which is seen most often in psoriasis of the nails (termed onychomadesis). Rare cases are confined to the nail's lateral borders. Males are more affected.

Nails with onycholysis usually are smooth, firm, and without inflammatory reaction. It is not a disease of the nail matrix, but nail discoloration may appear underneath the nail as a result of secondary infection. When onycholysis occurs, a coexistent yeast infection is suggested. Treating primary and secondary factors that exacerbate the condition is important. Left untreated, severe cases of onycholysis may result in nail bed scarring.

Treatment for onycholysis varies and depends on its cause. Eliminating the predisposing cause is the best treatment.

Patients should avoid trauma to the affected nail, and keep the nail bed dry.
Patients should avoid exposure to contact irritants and moisture (important).
Patients should clip the affected portion of the nail, and keep the nails short.
Patients should wear light cotton gloves under vinyl gloves for wet work.

****Onychomycosis (OM), on the other hand, refers to a fungal infection that affects the toenails or the fingernails. It may involve any component of the nail unit, including the nail matrix, the nail bed, or the nail plate. OM is not life threatening, but it can cause inconvenience, pain, discomfort, and often serious physical and occupational limitations. Psychosocial and emotional effects resulting from OM are widespread and have a significant impact on the quality of life. Females are more affected.

Medical and surgical treatment modalities exist. If it's on the toes, the fungal infection has favorable prognosis.

I guess I have been able to provide you with some nomenclature at least to grope.
All said and done, neither onycholysis nor onychomycosis is sexually transmitted, and neither of them is as fatal as life!



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