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10 things you didn’t know about this STD: Mycoplasma Genitalium

Mycoplasma Genitalium is a common STI (sexually transmitted infection). It can be transmitted by different forms of sexual contact including vaginal, anal and oral intercourse. The symptoms experienced can include painful urination, penile/vaginal discharge, and, specifically in women; pain during sex, bleeding after sex, inter-menstrual bleeding, and lower pelvic pains.

Mycoplasma Genitalium is not as well known as Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea. The key reason for this, is the difficulty in testing for the infection and also a lack of awareness about the condition.


Here are 10 interesting things that you didn’t know about Mycoplasma Genitalium

1. Mycoplasma Genitalium was first identified in the 1980s

The bacteria was first isolated in the urogenital tract of humans in 1981, and was recognised as a new species of Mycoplasma in 1983. As it is still relatively recent that Mycoplasma Genitalium was identified, there is lack of sufficient data and research, and perhaps more of the condition that we do not yet know about.


2. Mycoplasma Genitalium is one of the smallest free living microorganisms capable of self-replication

The Mycoplasma species are the smallest bacterial cells yet discovered, with sizes ranging from 0.2 to 0.7 micrometres. In fact, Mycoplasma Genitalium is too small to be visible under a light microscope, and the first detailed study of its structure was conducted under a transmission electron microscope (TEM). 

3. Mycoplasma Genitalium is one out of the 15 (known so far) named Mycoplasma species of the human origin

Hundreds of Mycoplasma species are known to infect animals and plants. Of these, about 15 are pathogenic in humans. Mycoplasma Genitalium was the 12th to be identified.

4. Mycoplasma Genitalium is more common than Gonorrhoea and is the second most prevalent STI after Chlamydia

Since its discovery around 30 years ago, Mycoplasma Genitalium is now recognized as an important cause of male urethritis. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that it is more common than Gonorrhoea but less common than Chlamydia, and is responsible for approximately 15%–20% of non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU), 20%–25% of non-chlamydial NGU, and approximately 30% of persistent or recurrent urethritis.

5. It is possible to have Mycoplasma Genitalium and not know it, and there is a high chance that your partner is also infected

Infection with Mycoplasma Genitalium can cause the symptoms as mentioned earlier, but can also be asymptomatic. Studies have shown that in heterosexual couples where the male partner was tested positive, up to 30% of the female partners were positive for the bacteria. If the female was first tested positive, up to 50% of their male partners tested positive as well. In men who have sex with men, up to 40% of their partners tested positive for the bacteria in the rectum. This points to the fact that if a person is tested positive for the bacteria there is a good chance that their partner is also infected.

6. Mycoplasma Genitalium, like Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, can lead to more serious complications with long term health consequences

Data suggests that Mycoplasma Genitalium can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in females, as the bacteria is found in the cervix and/or endometrium of women with PID more often than in women without PID. Women with tubal factor infertility are more likely to have antibodies to Mycoplasma Genitalium than fertile women, suggesting that this organism might cause female infertility. Two studies have shown that infection with Mycoplasma Genitalium is associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery in pregnant women.

It remains unknown whether Mycoplasma Genitalium can cause male infertility. However, the organism has been detected in men with epididymitis in a limited number of cases.

7. Mycoplasma Genitalium is a slow growing bacteria; this leads to diagnostic challenges

Mycoplasma Genitalium is a fastidious, slow-growing organism. This makes detection and subsequent isolation of the bacteria extremely difficult. Culture can take up to 6 months, and only a few laboratories in the world are able to recover clinical isolates.

Therefore, the preferred method of testing is by Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), typically using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). NAAT detects genetic materials (DNA or RNA) rather than antigens or antibodies, and is highly accurate. Testing can be done on urine, urethral, vaginal, and cervical swabs and endometrial biopsy. However, to date there is no diagnostic test for Mycoplasma Genitalium that has been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

8. Mycoplasma Genitalium does not have a cell wall

The Mycoplasma Genitalium bacteria lacks a cell wall, which makes treatment of the infection more difficult as certain classes of antibiotics that work by targeting bacterial cell walls are ineffective against this organism.

9. You can get reinfected with Mycoplasma Genitalium even after you have been treated for it 

Much like many other STIs, it is possible to get reinfected with Mycoplasma Genitalium even after one has been successfully treated for it. Therefore, safe sexual practices including using barrier protection, reducing your number of sexual partners and knowing your partners’ infection status is important in keeping yourself safe and healthy.

10. It is possible for vertical transmission of Mycoplasma Genitalium to occur?

Although uncommon, it is possible for vertical transmission of Mycoplasma Genitalium from mother to baby to occur, as previously reported in one case. 

Next read: MYCOPLASMA GENITALIUM (MG) – STD SCREENING, TESTING & TREATMENT


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Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG) – STD Screening, Testing & Treatment

Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG) is a type of bacteria that can be sexually transmitted: what it is and why you should be concerned.

  • Women tend to experience vaginal itching, burning on urinationpain during intercourse & etc.
  • Men, on the other hand, may experience urethral discharge, burning on urination, pain or swelling of the testicles & etc.

 

Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG): What It Is & Why You Should Be Concerned.

What is Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG)?

You may have heard of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like Chlamydia or Syphilis or the feared HIV. But Mycoplasma genitalium (M.gen) may be unfamiliar to most of you, even if you are fairly conscientious in looking after your own sexual health. This is partly because of difficulty in testing for the infection. Up until recently; testing for M.gen was not available in Singapore.
Furthermore, a good proportion of people infected with M.gen may feel completely fine but are still able to spread the infection. So if you’ve done a full STI screen and think you are completely safe because it came back clear, think again- there might just be something else you need to be concerned about.
Mycoplasma genitalium is a tiny, slow-growing bacterium which was first identified in the 1980s. Testing for M.gen has traditionally been very difficult because of the nature of the bacteria. The M.gen bacterium also does not have a cell wall, which means certain classes of antibiotics which are commonly used are unfortunately ineffective against the bacteria. This, coupled with recent increasing antibiotic resistance, makes treatment of M.gen potentially challenging as well.
It is only in more recent years that it is now being recognised as a significant and increasingly more common STI which can cause symptoms in both males and females with potentially more serious consequences.
To put things in perspective as to exactly how prevalent M.gen is, the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) data indicates that it is more common than Gonorrhea, coming in a close second to Chlamydia.

How is Mycoplasma Genitalium Transmitted?

Mycoplasma genitalium infects the cells in the genital and urinary tracts and can be transmitted through sexual contact including vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse and oral intercourse.

What are the symptoms of Mycoplasma Genitalium?

M.gen can affect both males and females. Both males and females may often be asymptomatic/feel completely well, but can continue to spread the infection to their sexual partners. M.gen is thus a silent but dangerous STI.
In males who do develop symptoms, it can cause urethritis, which manifests dysuria (painful or uncomfortable urination), which may be associated with penile discharge. These symptoms are non-specific and similar to urethritis caused by other STDs like Chlamydia. As of now, M.gen is not yet well linked to more serious symptoms like pain or swelling of the testicles or epididymis (a gland near the testicles), but it is important to remember that data on M.gen is still lacking right now. Learn more about STD Risk From Receptive Anal Sex in Men

10 Causes Of Penile Pain – Ouch! Pain In The Penis

In females, it can cause cervicitis, inflammation of the cervix, resulting in abnormal vaginal discharge, painful intercourse, or bleeding after intercourse (post-coital bleeding) or spotting when one is not having one’s menses (intermenstrual bleeding). If the infection spreads to deeper organs like the uterus and fallopian tubes or ovaries, a condition known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) with potentially devastating long-term complications like infertility, one may also experience pelvic pain.

Common STD Symtopms in Women

Anal intercourse can result in M.gen in the rectum and anal canal, but this is generally asymptomatic in another word, does not display symptoms.

Can Mycoplasma Genitalium cause serious infections?

M.gen may very well be one of the next major STIs that the world needs to worry about. While there is a paucity of existing data, emerging research links M.gen to more serious infections with long term health consequences.
There is data to suggest that M.gen can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in females- the bacterium was detected in women suffering from PID more frequently. Women with tubal factor infertility (infertility due to scarring of the fallopian tubes) were also found to have antibodies to M.gen, suggesting the bacterium could again be responsible or linked to increased risk of infertility. Learn more about Women’s Fertility Screening 
Some studies have also shown that in pregnant women, M.gen is associated with increased risk of pre-term delivery.
It is still uncertain as to whether M.gen can cause infertility in males, but it is important to note that there have been cases where M.gen was detected in men with epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis).
All in all, we currently still lack robust data about M.gen and the consequences of infection, but overall data does suggest that there may be more to worry about than previously thought.

How is Mycoplasma Genitalium diagnosed?

M.gen was classically known to be notoriously difficult to diagnose because of difficulty in getting the bacterium to grow in laboratory conditions. Testing is done by nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) and is not as widely available as testing for other more well-known STIs is.
Until recently, testing for M.gen was not available in Singapore. But you will be glad to know that at DTAP clinic, we now offer testing for M.genitalium.
For males, testing is done using a urine sample. A high vaginal or endocervical swab is performed in females.
If you are a male who is troubled by persistent or recurrent symptoms of urethritis despite antibiotic treatment, and your urine STI screen is persistently “clear” of infection, this is a diagnostic test you should consider.
M.gen is an established cause of urethritis in males. If you may have potentially been exposed to M.gen from a sexual partner, you may also wish to consider getting tested, particularly in light of the above potential complications.
Diagnosis of M.gen is particularly important because of potential antibiotic resistance amongst various M.gen strains. This means that treatment of M.gen may not be so straightforward.

We provide Comprehensive STD screening for Men & Women in all our clinics.

 

Can Mycoplasma genitalium infection be treated?

M.gen is inherently resistant to some classes of antibiotics and there are concerns about increasing antibiotic resistance. It is therefore important that you are treated properly with the correct antibiotic and for an appropriate duration – this makes testing and treatment more crucial than ever.
As always, safe sexual practices including using barrier protection, reducing your number of sexual partners and knowing your partners’ infection status remains crucial in keeping yourself safe and healthy.
If you would like to find out more about Mycoplasma Genitalium testing and treatment, come down to any of our clinics for a consultation.


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  4. 11 Causes of Penile Itching & Pubic Itch
  5. HPV Infection & HPV Vaccination for Men who have sex with Men
  6. STD Risk for Receptive Unprotected Anal Sex in Men
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  8. Low HIV Risk Doesn’t Mean No HIV Risk
  9. HIV PrEP for Travel – How You Need to Know
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  12. How Do I Treat Oral Herpes (Cold Sores)
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  14. HIV Symptoms – What You Need to Know
  15. Sex During Period (Sex & Menstruation) What To Know
  16. 10 Common HIV Related to Opportunistic Infections