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Keywords:

  • fungal infection;
  • stigmatisation;
  • nails

Summary

Patients with onychomycosis may experience significant psychosocial problems, similarly to other skin diseases. The objectives of this study were to analyse the level of stigmatisation among subjects with onychomycosis and the effect of anti-mycotic therapy on this feeling. This prospective study was carried out among 1684 patients (1050 women and 634 men, mean age 52.2 ± 15.5 years) with onychomycosis. All subjects were asked to fulfil the stigmatisation questionnaire at the baseline visit and after the completion of the anti-mycotic therapy. Stigmatisation level was assessed with reference to gender, age, education, type and duration of onychomycosis and the number of involved nails. Patients with onychomycosis reported markedly increased feeling of stigmatisation. Fingernail involvement was the major variable negatively influencing the stigmatisation level. Female patients and younger ones appeared to be more stigmatised. No significant relationships were found between stigmatisation level and education, number of involved fingernails or toenails, as well as the duration of onychomycosis. The anti-mycotic therapy resulted in significant reduction of all analysed aspects of stigmatisation to about 40% of the baseline level. Onychomycosis should be considered as an important problem for patients, significantly reducing their physical, mental and social well-being, also leading to marked stigmatisation of patients.