All You Should Know About Mycoplasma Genitalium
Mycoplasma genitalium refers to a type of bacteria that causes sexually transmitted diseases. You acquire it by having intercourse with an individual who has it. For some unknown reasons, very few people are aware that this disease even exists. Perhaps this is mainly because this particular infection can be quite difficult to test. What’s more, a significant number of patients with Mycoplasma Genitalium may seem completely okay, even though they can potentially transmit it to other people.
Medical researchers including scientists have not known about Mycoplasma Genitalium since the 1980s. However, recent studies now reveal that at least one in a hundred adults might have it. MG is a more common type of STD than you thought, causing symptoms in both men and women and with potentially more dangerous consequences. Regarding how prevalent it is, the CDC suggests that Mycoplasma Genitaliumis more common than gonorrhea, with only chlamydia ahead of it! This is how serious things are.
Initially discovered in the 1980s, Mycoplasma genitalium is essentially a minute bacterium that grows very slowly. And because of its nature, it has always been fairly tough to test for Mycoplasma Genitalium. For instance, the Mycoplasma Genitalium bacterium lacks a cell wall, implying that some types of antibiotics that are usually used against bacteria may not work against this particular bacterium. What’s more, the current increasing antibiotic resistance only makes the treatment of treatment highly challenging.
So, how can you contract mycoplasma genitalium?
It is imperative to note that Mycoplasma Genitalium attacks the cells found in your urinary and genital tracts. This means that the mode of transmission is through sexual contact.
So, what are the symptoms associated with Mycoplasma Genitalium?
As earlier stated, this disease affects both men and women. The infected person may not show any visible signs and symptoms and may also feel completely fine. However, he/she can potentially transmit the virus to their sexual partners. Simply put, Mycoplasma Genitalium is a silent but dangerous form of STI.
Among male patients who develop symptoms, they may experience urethritis, a condition that manifests as comfortable and painful urination. They may also experience penile discharge. However, it is worth noting that these symptoms are rather non-specific, and quite the same as those usually displayed by other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia.
At this point though, Mycoplasma Genitalium is not yet associated with more severe symptoms such as swelling or pain in the testicles or epididymis. More research is underway and we will soon know and understand insightful information about Mycoplasma Genitalium.
Among females who develop symptoms, they may experience cervicitis, which refers to cervical inflammation, causing abnormal vaginal discharge, post-coital bleeding (bleeding after sex) as well as intermenstrual bleeding. And if in any case, your Mycoplasma Genitalium infection may involve other organs such as ovaries and the uterus, a severe condition referred to as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) may occur. PID, in turn, may lead to long-term health complications such as infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
Also important to mention is that Mycoplasma Genitalium transmitted through anal sex can cause symptoms to appear in both the anal canal as well as rectum. However, this is usually asymptomatic.
Will mycoplasma genitalium result in severe infections?
According to the latest global research, Mycoplasma Genitalium can be considered to be another major type of STD that we need to worry about. Even though the existing data is somehow less convincing, current studies associate Mycoplasma Genitalium with more serious infections with equally long-term health complications.
If you were not aware, research shows that Mycoplasma Genitalium can potentially lead to pelvic inflammatory diseases, PID, among women. Also, females having tubal factor infertility or infertility that occurs as a result of scarring inside the fallopian tubes were found to have Mycoplasma Genitalium antibodies and this may suggest that the Mycoplasma Genitalium bacterium is perhaps responsible for increased women fertility risk.
Other studies have equally hinted that Mycoplasma Genitaliummight be responsible for male infertility. This is somehow factual, considering that there have been instances where Mycoplasma Genitalium was detected in males suffering from the epididymis, a condition that can be caused by Mycoplasma Genitalium!
Regardless, the point remains that currently, there is no substantial data that can perhaps associate MG with the consequences of infection. However, the bottom line is that there may be concerns about this relatively new STD than earlier thought.
So, how is it diagnosed?
Over the years, MG has proven quite difficult to diagnose largely because it has not been possible to grow the bacterium under lab conditions. Testing is currently conducted through NAAT or nucleic acid amplification testing. Unfortunately, this particular testing is not widely available compared to the testing techniques used for the other common STDs.
For male patients, testing is carried out using a sample of your urine. On the other hand, endocervical or vaginal swab is performed. And for men who experience recurrent or persistent urethritis symptoms even after undergoing antibiotic treatment or your urine test which turns out negative’, this is an important test that you should seriously consider.
Research has shown that Mycoplasma Genitalium is a possible cause of urethritis among men. So, if you have been somehow exposed to this viral infection from your sexual partner, it is time you get tested. Diagnosis of Mycoplasma Genitalium is especially crucial because of the possible resistance amongst differentstrains, implying that Mycoplasma Genitaliumtreatment may not be that straightforward.
Is Mycoplasma genitalium treatable?
MG is somehow resistant to certain types of antibiotics. As a result, it very crucial that you are properly treated using the correct antibiotic and for the right duration. It is highly advisable that you discuss with your doctor for the right treatment.
So, how can I protect myself against MG?
- Always practice safe sex by using latex condoms each time you are having a sexual encounter.
- You should also know the infection status of your sexual partner or partners.
- Above all, regular screening is arguably your best bet toward staying safe from MG.
Frequently Asked Questions:
After treatment, will I get re-infected once again?
Just like other STIs, you risk getting a new infection even after successful treatment. This only implies that even after you have been successfully treated and cleared of MG, you should continue to adhere to safety and prevention measures sated earlier.
Is it possible for pregnant mothers to transmit MG to their unborn child?
Tough it is relatively uncommon, there is a possibility that an expectant mother might pass on mycoplasma genitalium to her unborn baby.
So, why is Mycoplasma Genitaliumvery difficult to treat?
As previously noted, the Mycoplasma Genitalium bacterium doesn’t have a cell wall, making it relatively more difficult to treat the infection, especially with antibiotics that function by targeting bacterial cell walls.
What will happen if I don’t treat my MG?
- Research has shown that Mycoplasma Genitalium can potentially lead to pelvic inflammatory disease among women because this particular bacterium is often found in the cervix or endometrium of PID female patients more regularly than in those without PID.
- Also, studies tend to show that women suffering from tubular factor infertility are increasingly likely to have antibodies to Mycoplasma Genitalium than their fertile female counterparts, somehow suggesting that this bacterium cmaycontribute to infertility among women.
- Two studies have revealed that MG infection is associated with a high risk of preterm delivery.
- It has not been proven whether MG can potentially cause infertility in men. However, the organism has been detected among men suffering from epididymis though in rare cases.
So, how common is mycoplasma genitalium?
Since it was discovered nearly thirty years ago, Mycoplasma Genitalium is now being considered to be a potential cause of male urethritis. According to the data from the CDC, MG is more prevalent than gonorrhea but less common than chlamydia. It is responsible for between 15 and 20% of non-gonococcal urethritis, 30% recurrent urethritis, and between 20% and 25% of non-chlamydial NGU.
What is the likelihood of me transmitting mycoplasma genitalium to my sexual partner?
As we explained earlier, MG infection can lead to the symptoms discussed previously. However, the infection can equally be asymptomatic, implying that the affected individuals won’t display any visible signs or symptoms.
Clinical studies have revealed that among heterosexual couples where the man tested positive, nearly 30% of their female partners equally tested positive for the MG bacteria. On the other hand, if the female partner was first tested positive, nearly fifty percent of their male partners were positive as well. In homosexual men, nearly 40% of their partner tested positive for the MG bacterium in their rectum.
In simple terms, what this means is that if your partner has the infection, it is only a matter of time before you too become infected.
- Ma, L., Jensen, J. S., Myers, L., Burnett, J., Welch, M., Jia, Q., & Martin, D. H. (2007). Mycoplasma genitalium: an efficient strategy to generate genetic variation from a minimal genome. Molecular microbiology, 66(1), 220–236. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2958.2007.05911.x
- Yeganeh, O., Jeddi-Tehrani, M., Yaghmaie, F., Kamali, K., Heidari-Vala, H., Zeraati, H., Shakhssalim, N., Zarei, S., & Chamani-Tabriz, L. (2013). A survey on the prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma genitalium infections in symptomatic and asymptomatic men referring to urology clinic of labbafinejad hospital, tehran, iran. Iranian Red Crescent medical journal, 15(4), 340–344. https://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.8600
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