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Mycoplasma Genitalium in Singapore

Mycoplasma Genitalium in Singapore

Nearly everyone is aware of the many sexually transmitted infections that affect both men and women, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, or even HIV! However, there is one particular type of STI that even though it is highly prevalent, many individuals don’t know much about: Mycoplasma Genitalium

This is mainly because Mycoplasma Genitalium can be quite difficult to detect or test; it was only recently that we could diagnose mycoplasma genitalium in Singaporean men!

What’s more, a significant number of Mycoplasma Genitalium patients usually feel completely fine, even though they can spread the disease. If you have recently undergone a complete STI screening process and think you are entirely free from any form of STI, you are mistaken!

Should I be worried about Mycoplasma Genitalium?

Mycoplasma Genitalium is a small, slow-growing bacterium that was initially discovered in the 1980s. As earlier explained, the testing and diagnosing of this particular infection have not been easy, thanks to the nature of the bacteria itself. 

Fun fact: Mycoplasma Genitalium bacterium lacks a cell wall, meaning some types of antibiotics used to treat this infection are ineffective against it. When you factor in this unfortunate antibiotic resistance, the treatment plan for Mycoplasma Genitalium becomes relatively tougher!

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Is Mycoplasma Genitalium serious?

According to the CDC, Mycoplasma Genitalium is more prevalent compared to gonorrhea, and currently occupies the second spot, behind chlamydia.

This type of STI has been globally recognized as a serious condition that is not only more prevalent than earlier thought but can also result in serious symptoms that when left untreated, can lead to far-reaching consequences.

How does Mycoplasma Genitalium spread?

Mycoplasma Genitalium affects both males and females in equal measure. Although both sexes may not display any visible symptoms and feel completely well, they can continue to transmit the disease to their respective sexual partners.

If Mycoplasma Genitalium is present, you may experience symptoms such as; 

  • Urethritis, which is characterized by uncomfortable and painful urination and can sometimes be accompanied by penile discharge. 

These symptoms are not specific and are strikingly similar to urethritis, which is triggered by other sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia. As of now, there is no substantial link between Mycoplasma Genitalium and other more serious symptoms such as swelling or pain of either the male epididymis or testicles. 

However, extensive research is still needed to better understand the nature of this type of STI and the associated symptoms.

Please note that anal sex can lead to mycoplasma infection in both the rectal or anal region, but this usually doesn’t result in any symptoms – so again, testing and awareness is key.

Picture of a test kit

How is Mycoplasma Genitalium diagnosed in Singapore?

In men, the testing is usually conducted through a urine sample. For females, a high endocervical or vaginal swab is used as the mode of testing for Mycoplasma Genitalium. 

Any male out there experiencing unending urethritis symptoms despite undergoing antibiotic treatment should seriously consider taking this test. This includes even if your urine STI screening is consistently free of infection. It is important to note that Mycoplasma Genitalium is a common cause of urethritis in men. If you have recently been potentially been exposed to Mycoplasma Genitalium through your sexual partner, you should also consider getting tested because you don’t want to experience any of the complications described above!

Early diagnosis of Mycoplasma Genitalium is particularly critical because of the probable antibiotic resistance in some strains of Mycoplasma Genitalium. So, the treatment plan for this infection might be a fairly complex one. 

How is Mycoplasma Genitalium treated in Singapore?

As previously explained, this particular type of sexually transmitted infection is highly resistant to certain types of antibiotics – which means there are increasing concerns regarding increased resistance. It is very vital that you get the most appropriate type of treatment to stand a chance of successfully treating your Mycoplasma Genitalium. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How common is mycoplasma genitalium?

MG is relatively more prevalent than gonorrhea and remains the second most common STI after chlamydia. Since its discovery nearly three decades ago, mycoplasma is currently recognized as a leading cause of urethritis in men. According to the CDC, it is responsible for nearly 15-20% of non-gonococcal urethritis, 20-25% of non-chlamydial non-gonococcal urethritis, and close to 30% of recurrent urethritis.

Is Mycoplasma genitalium asymptomatic?

While this STI can sometimes display some symptoms, it is generally asymptomatic, implying that you can have it but may never display any visible symptoms. When you are infected with mycoplasma genitalium, you may experience any or all of the symptoms earlier described, or you may as well never show any known symptoms.

Can mycoplasma cause any health complications?

Just like any other sexually transmitted disease, mycoplasma genitalium, if left untreated, can potentially lead to more serious health complications. 
Currently, as it is, nothing suggests that this infection can trigger male fertility. Regardless, the bacterium has been found or rather detected among the males suffering from epididymitis!

What makes mycoplasma genitalium tough to diagnose?

This particular bacterium is a ridiculously slow-growing organism, a phenomenon that makes both the detection and isolation of the bacteria relatively tough. Culture can last for six months, and only a handful of labs globally can successfully recover clinical isolates. As a result, the widely accepted mode of testing is NAAT, which involves the use of PCR or polymerase chain reaction. NAAT detects genetic materials RNA, or DNA, as opposed to other testing techniques that detect either antibodies or antigens.

Why is it hard to treat mycoplasma genitalium?

As already noted, the bacterium lacks a cell wall. This, coupled with the fact that certain mycoplasma genitalium strains are resistant to antibiotics -particularly those that work by targeting the cell walls of invading organisms- makes overall treatment a daunting task.

Is reinfection with mycoplasma genitalium possible?

Yes, one can get reinfected with this STI even after successful treatment. Always practice safe sex even after treating your MG condition.

Speak to us further if you have further concerns on testing for Mycoplasma Genitalium.

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