Mycosis is more commonly referred to as a "fungal infection." The plural form of "mycosis" is "mycoses." Mycoses grow best in warm, moist environments. In the context of body modification, the warm and moist environment of a healed or new fistula provide adequate conditions for mycosis. Mycoses may also develop in the dermal layers affected by a new tattoo, implant, or any other modification that breaches the resistance layers of the body.
Small amounts of fungus, also referred to as yeast, naturally occur in the human body and are harmless to individuals with healthy immune systems. Beneficial bacteria help keep the fungus population at reasonable levels.
Mycosis or yeast infections often occur in individuals taking oral or topical antibiotics. Antibiotics kill the beneficial bacteria as well as the harmful bacteria for which the antibiotic was prescribed. As these "beneficial bacteria" decrease in population, the fungus increase in population.
In the context of body modification, modifications are sometimes cleansed with antibiotic or antimicrobial soaps. In some cases, the modifications are over-cleansed and a fungal infection (Mycosis) may develop. Symptoms include redness, itching, peeling, and oozing. Proper diagnosis should be made by a medical professional to distinguish between Mycosis, bacterial Infection, jewelry Rejection, jewelry Migration, or Metal Allergy.
Commonly known forms of Mycosis include:
- Athlete's Foot (tinea pedis)
- Jock Itch (tinea cruris)
- Ringworm (tinea corporis)
- Yeast Infection (cutaneous candidiasis) - one commonly known form of yeast infection is "thrush," a fungal infection of the mouth or vagina.
Mycoses are characterized by red, itchy skin that sometimes peels or oozes.
Symptoms of Mycosis
Athlete's Foot (tinea pedis)
- Peeling, cracking, itching, burning, redness, blisters, and/or breaking down of skin of the foot.
Jock Itch (tinea cruris)
- Peeling, cracking, itching; red, raised rash; usually affecting the groin, thigh, or anal area.
Ringworm (tinea corporis)
- Red, circular, flat sore or sores; and on some occasions (though not all), scaly skin. Despite the name, ringworm is not caused by a worm, but rather, by a fungal infection.
Yeast Infection (cutaneous candidiasis)
- Rash, oozing of clear fluid, pimple-like sores, itching, burning.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosis should be made by a trained medical professional. The differences between Mycosis, bacterial Infection, jewelry Rejection, jewelry Migration, and Metal Allergy may be minute. Only a trained professional with experience and exposure to these various risks should make a diagnosis.
A medical professional may prescribe a topical anti-fungal, suggest a lifestyle change, or change existing medications to correct the Mycosis. Mycosis may not "go away" on its own, and many over the counter first aide treatments may make the Mycosis worsen. First aide ointments, sprays, and creams are usually antibiotic in nature. Further decreasing the "beneficial bacteria" may cause the fungal population to increase even more.
Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, in addition to drying out modifications such as piercings and tattoos, may also cause an increase in the naturally occuring fungus population in the body.
If you believe you have a fungal infection (Mycosis) from over-cleansing or poor aftercare, seek medical treatment.
Possible Causes & Contagiousness
Athlete's foot is caused by one of four kinds of fungus that consume dead tissue, including skin cells from the outer skin layers. Jock itch is caused also caused by a fungus which thrives in warm, moist areas of the body. Athlete's foot and jock itch are only mildly contagious.
Of the listed fungal infections (Mycoses), ringworm is the most contagious. Ringworm may be transmitted by direct contact with an infected person or animal, but also may be transmitted by clothing, furniture, or any other surface contaminated by the fungus. Warm and humid weather may worsen or increase the transmission.
Yeast infections are not contagious. This form of Mycosis is often caused by consumption of oral antibiotics, a diet high in yeast-products, warm/moist folds of overlapping skin, and is common in those with diabetes.
If you were diagnosed with Mycosis of your body modification, you most likely have a yeast infection brought on by oral antibiotics or excessive cleansing of the modification. It is highly unlikely that you "caught" the fungal infection from your piercer or from the piercing establishment. You may want to discuss the contraction with your medical professional.
Fungus versus Bacteria
Fungi (the plural form of fungus) and bacteria are the main decomposers of organic matter. Though they serve a similar purpose, they are quite different in the context of infection. Antibiotics eliminate bacteria, and anti-fungals eliminate fungi. You cannot increase topical or oral antibiotics to eliminate a fungal infection (Mycosis). Mycosis should be diagnosed and properly treated with anti-fungals as instructed and prescribed by a medical professional.
Mycosis as Applied to Body Modification
Fungal infections may develop in any place on the body where fungi breach the skin or other resistance barrier of the body. These infections may occur on the feet, genitals, anus, mouth, intestines, and many other areas of the human body. Mycoses thrive in warm, moist environments.
Modifications are sometimes over-cleansed in an attempt to prevent or eliminate bacerial infections. In the case of piercings, the fistula and the skin surrounding the piercing may appear red, itchy, and may peel. The piercing may feel hot to the "owner" (from the inside), and may burn. The hole may also be surrounded by red, raised bumps, or may ooze clear liquid that is different from crusties that are standard with new piercings.