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Mycoplasma Genitalium – What Should You Know About It?

Sexually transmitted infections are always a hot topic. Unfortunately, a vast majority of the vulnerable population is only aware of common causative agents and STIs, which is a dangerous situation. Research indicates that some uncommon but serious sexually transmitted infections are causing more harm to reproductive-aged population because:

  • There is no awareness about these infections, so even if a person is experiencing disturbing symptoms, it is hard to detect the type or nature of infection.
  • There is little to no information about the preventive strategies that may reduce the risk of contracting these ailments
  • Little to no research is available and therefore there are no vaccinations or medications to prevent or manage these infections respectively.

It is therefore highly recommended to see a healthcare professional at regular intervals and live a healthy, risk-free lifestyle.

What Should You Know About Mycoplasma Genitalium?

Mycoplasma Genitalium – an uncommon” bacterium which spreads to healthy contacts by sexual means. Just recently this micro- organism has grasped a lot of attention and it seems that this infection is more prevalent in general population than we initially anticipated. According to a new study that was conducted in United Kingdom, nearly 250,000 people aged between 16 and 44 (i.e. more than 1% of the population) are infected with this bacterium.  Similar statistics are found in United States which makes M. Genitalium a fairly prevalent sexually transmitted infection, commoner than gonorrhea!

Mycoplasama Genitalium is considered a new discovery by some people; but, this microorganism was initially reported in 1980. However, the link between the bacteria and sexually transmitted infection was discovered in mid 90s. Early studies indicated that people who had positive results for M. Genitalium had partners who were infected with this microbe.  Newer studies added more weight to it. As per the latest research, People who had 4 or more new sex partners within one year were found to be more frequently infected with Mycoplasma Genitalium as compared to those who had one or less than 4 partners. Furthermore, this STI is found to be more common in those who practice unprotected sex.

What Are Classic Symptoms Of This Infection?

STDs And Infertility imageIn males, Mycoplasma Genitalium can cause urethritis (inflammation of urethra) which is characterized by penile discharge or urination with burning pain.

In females, it is thought to be linked with complications such as, cervicitis (inflammation of cervix) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) –  an infection of reproductive organs, characterized by pain around lower abdomen or bleeding during sex. A severe PID may lead to infertility in women. Though, effects of M. Genitalium on women is not fully clear but, many research studies suggest that the risk for premature child birth, pelvic or cervical inflammations, and PID gets doubled in infected women. However, few researchers believe that more proofs are required before jumping to any conclusive statement.

M. Genitalium infections can be asymptomatic in many men and women. 56% females and 94% males do not exhibit any symptoms when infected with M. Genitalium, says International Journal of Epidemiology.

Should People Get Tested For M. Genitalium?

Most doctors do not recommend undergoing testing for M. Genitalium until or unless the symptoms continue to exhibit even after treating all other susceptible STDs with similar symptoms. In fact, there isn’t any FDA approved diagnostic test for M. Genitalium.

Is Treatment Required?

The antibiotics used for treating infections such as cervicitis, PID and urethritis are usually not effective against Mycoplasma Genitalium. Therefore, failure of treatment with such antibiotics can be a strong indication for the presence of M. Genitalium infection and doctors may prescribe other antibiotics which are effective against it.

References

  • Anagrius, C., Loré, B., & Jensen, J. S. (2013). Treatment of Mycoplasma genitalium. Observations from a Swedish STD clinic. PLoS One, 8(4), e61481.
  • Müller, E. E., Venter, J. M., Magooa, M. P., Morrison, C., Lewis, D. A., & Mavedzenge, S. N. (2012). Development of a rotor-gene real-time PCR assay for the detection and quantification of Mycoplasma genitalium. Journal of microbiological methods, 88(2), 311-315.
  • Pond, M. J., Nori, A. V., Witney, A. A., Lopeman, R. C., Butcher, P. D., & Sadiq, S. T. (2013). High prevalence of antibiotic resistant Mycoplasma genitalium in non-gonococcal urethritis: the need for routine testing and the inadequacy of current treatment options. Clinical infectious diseases, cit752.