Our weekly question comes from Ioana S. and goes like this: “What is the best medication for foot fungus? Are bicarbonate solutions effective? What kind of cream can be used?”
Thank you Ioana for your question and we shall try to answer as best we can.
What is a skin fungal infection? A fungal infection can be caused by dermatophytes and are named depending on their location on the body: tinea pedis (foot), corporis (skin, body), cruris (groin) capitis (head), unguium (nail). People susceptible to this type of skin infection are: immunocompromised patients, patients with peripheral circulation problems, those who are exposed to moisture for long periods and people who have poor hygiene.
Tinea pedis, corporis and cruris are treated topically (locally) in simple cases. In case of complications or generalized infections oral therapy can be added in the mix. Tinea unguium best responds to oral therapy, and tinea capitis should be treated with oral therapy as topical agents do not penetrate the scalp.
Is sodium bicarbonate an effective treatment for fungus infections?
A study published in 2013 in Mycopathologia evaluated the anti-fungal activity of sodium bicarbonate and other antifungal agents on different species of fungi (yeasts, molds and dermatophytes). The researchers collected samples of nail and skin grafts infected with various pathogens that cause common fungal infections.
Their results? A treatment with baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate (SB) in concentrations of 10 g / L completely inhibited the growth on 19 samples and reduced growth of pathogens in another 4 out of 25 total samples examined. Another test done on 40 dermatophytes, 18 types of yeast and 12 types of molds showed that treatment with SB in a concentration of 10 g / L stopped growth in 80% of the pathogens studied. (1)
What to do in case of a dermatological infection?
First you need to go to a doctor that specialises in skind disorders (dermatologist). There are many types of pathogens that can cause infections and the first step must be to identify the type causing your infection! Then, of course, follow the prescribed treatment (sometimes it may be a long treatment and if you do not follow-through, the treatment is ineffective).
Baking soda can be effective in stopping the growth of fungi. It is very important to identify the type of infection because not all skin infections are caused by fungi and treating without knowing what we treat risks aggravating the infection. The treatment should be customized for each patient!
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ps1. You can find here the formulary to send us questions.
ps2. All our answers are grouped in the category Q&A (on the right of the page WANT MORE? select category Q&A)
Antifungal activity of sodium bicarbonate against superficial fungal Infections Causing agents. Letscher-Bru V, Obszynski CM, Samsoen M, Sabou M, J Waller, Candolfi E. Mycopathologia. February 2013; 175 (1-2): 153-8