Mycetoma 101: Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

Mycetoma is a chronic infection caused by a type of bacteria and fungi. These bacteria and fungi are found in the soil and water and can enter the skin via a cut or an open bruise. This condition was initially known as Madura’s foot after an Indian region called Madura where this disease was first discovered.

If fungi cause mycetoma, it is called mycotic mycetoma, and if bacteria cause it, it is referred as actinomycotic mycetoma. These germs can enter our body like a thorn prick through a wound.

Mycetoma causes painless firm masses to accumulate under the skin, and this can affect the bone lying under the skin. You cannot get mycetoma from a person already infected with it.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mycetoma?

The symptoms of both bacterial and fungal mycetoma are very similar.

  • Both show up as firm and painless masses underneath the skin
  • They are mostly formed on foot but can appear on other parts of the body which comes in contact with the infected soil or water.
  • They are usually tiny but can grow over time and can sore up your muscles as well as deform the limbs making them unusable.

If we do not treat Mycetoma immediately, it can spread to other parts of our body and have myeloma for a long time can destroy the muscle and bone completely.

Risk and Preventions

Mycetoma can attack people of any age, but this disease is most common in men as they work in the field of agricultural and are mostly farmers or herders of livestock.

The best way to prevent mycetoma from affecting you is to wear shoes so that you might preclude yourself from getting any bruises and while walking on soil and water where these germs live and breed you may be able to escape coming in contact with them.

If this disease is diagnosed and detected in the early stages, it will stop from spreading and be cured easily.

How Is Mycetoma Diagnosed?

The doctor you visit will diagnose mycetoma via a biopsy. He will take a small sample of the disease infected area and examine it under a microscope.

Keep in mind this test does not determine if it is a bacterial infection or a fungal infection and this can be done by a culture, which is the growth of bacteria or fungi in a petri dish.

A doctor may even use imaging testing to diagnose it and see the damage it has caused. The doctors recommend early treatment and diagnosis as this can save patients from amputation and long-term effect of this disease.

Treatment Of Mycetoma

Fungal infection is treated by an anti-fungal medication that your doctor prescribes to you but remember that this treatment is not always effective. If these medications do not work, then you will have to undergo surgery or amputate the infective tissue.

A bacterial infection can be treated via antibiotics and surgery is not required in its treatment.

Some doctors also recommend external beam radiotherapy in doses of range 3.5-14 Gy, and this has been successful in some selected cases instead of surgery.