What is mycoplasma genitalium?
Mycoplasma genitalium is a sexually transmitted infection that causes infection in the genital tract or urethra. While mycoplasma genitalium is a relatively unheard of STI, it has become more common in recent years.
Mycoplasma genitalium remains relatively unknown because:
- it can be very tough to detect
- Diagnosis of Mycoplasma genitalium only became possible a few years ago in Singapore
- It usually has no symptoms
How is M genitalium transmitted?
Mycoplasma genitalium can affect both men and women. While both genders may not exhibit any visible symptoms, they can still spread the bacteria to their respective sex partners.
If you have M genitalium, you are likely to experience urethritis as the major symptom. Urethritis is a condition that causes very uncomfortable, painful urination that can sometimes be accompanied by penile discharge.
Urethritis is also a common symptom of STIs such as chlamydia. We currently don’t know if there is a connection between M genitalium and other serious symptoms such as swelling or pain in the testicles or epididymis.
Note: Anal intercourse can cause mycoplasma infection in both your anal and rectal areas. However, there will not be any visible symptoms – hence why regular STD testing is important.
Is Mycoplasma genitalium a serious sexually transmitted infection?
According to the CDC, the prevalence rate of M genitalium is higher than gonorrhea and slightly below chlamydia. Worldwide, Mycoplasma genitalium is generally considered a serious sexually transmitted infection that is more common than we think and can also cause very serious symptoms as well as complications.
How is M genitalium diagnosed?
- A urine test is carried out
If you are a man and regularly experience chronic urethritis despite undergoing antibiotic treatment, it is high time you go for Mycoplasma genitalium testing. This test is recommended even if your urine sample screening doesn’t show signs of infection.
- High-end cervical or vaginal swab
If you suspect that you have been exposed to M genitalium through intercourse, you should seriously consider going for a test to ensure you don’t experience any of the earlier-described complications.
- Some types of M genitalium bacteria are resistant to antibiotics – meaning the mode of treatment for M genitalium can be relatively complex
- Both testing and diagnosis of M genitalium has been quite difficult partly due to the biological nature of the bacterium – this particular bacterium doesn’t have a cell wall; rendering certain types of antibiotic medications ineffective
How is Mycoplasma genitalium treated in Singapore?
Mycoplasma genitalium does not respond to most types of antibiotic treatment options. And what’s even more concerning is that its resistance to antibiotics is only increasing. As a result, it is imperative that you get the best type of treatment to ensure you successfully treat the condition.
What is the overall outlook for Mycoplasma genitalium patients?
Most people who don’t display any symptoms associated with Mycoplasma genitalium will usually heal without suffering either short or long-term complications.
However, in some cases, the infection can remain in your system for an extended period, probably longer than seven months. If left untreated, especially in females, M genitalium can cause fertility issues because of the chronic inflammation, swelling as well as scarring of the fallopian tube.
Mycoplasma genitalium is more common compared to gonorrhea and is currently the second-most prevalent sexually transmitted disease behind chlamydia. Since it was identified nearly four decades ago, mycoplasma has been globally recognized as the major cause of urethritis among men. According to the CD, Mycoplasma genitalium accounts for about 15-20% of non-gonococcal urethritis, 30% of recurrent urethritis, and 20-25% of non-gonococcal non-chlamydial urethritis.
As explained previously, the Mycoplasma genitalium bacteria don’t feature a cell wall. Together with the fact that some strains of the bacteria are highly resistant to antibiotics, especially those that function by destroying the cell walls of the organism, make overall treatment nearly impossible.
Like nearly all sexually transmitted diseases, if left untreated, mycoplasma genitalium can possibly result in more serious health concerns. However, no study suggests Mycoplasma genitalium can cause infertility in men. Regardless, among men suffering from the epididymis, the Mycoplasma genitalium bacteria have been detected or found in their system.
Even though Mycoplasma genitalium patients can sometimes exhibit some symptoms, the infection is generally asymptomatic. This means that if you contract the infection, you may experience some or all of the symptoms earlier explained, or you may end up never exhibit any symptoms at all.
Yes, it is very possible to experience mycoplasma reinfection even after undergoing successful treatment. This is why it’s highly recommended that you practice the necessary precautions even after having your Mycoplasma genitalium infection.