Getting a comprehensive mycoplasma genitalium test is almost as hard as finding information about it online. This bacteria is considered a new STI so the information available is very limited. The symptoms are similar to other bacterial infections. If you’re having symptoms of a bacterial infection but have tested negative for the others, it might be mycoplasma genitalium.
What is Mycoplasma Genitalium?
Mycoplasma genitalium is a newly classified bacterial STI. It can cause infertility in men and women if it’s left untreated (1).
Much like other bacterial infections, it can be easily cured with antibiotics. Mycoplasma genitalium (Mgen or MG) is not a new bacteria, but more recently researches have discovered that it can be transmitted sexually. The bacteria was initially discovered and isolated in 1980 (2).
In 2015 the CDC added it to the “Emerging Issues” STD treatment guidelines. That was just a few years ago, meaning Mgen has largely flown under the radar until very recently. Now that it is garnering more attention, more studies will be conducted and more stats collected.
How to Test For Mycoplasma Genitalium
Mycoplasma genitalium is usually tested for by taking a urine sample or urethra swab.
In men, a urine sample is usually the method of choice. In women, a vaginal swab is the standard mycoplasma genitalium test. You can also do an antibody test which requires a blood sample. This kind of test looks for the antibodies that result from your body’s fight against the bacteria.
Most Mgen home test kits will either be a urine sample or a swab. Since the STI is so new, there aren’t many testing options available. You might even find that your local clinic doesn’t routinely test for Mgen when they do STI screening. If not, be sure to ask them if they will test you for it if you think you have been in contact with someone who has it.
Unfortunately, the FDA is painstakingly slow and haven’t approved any tests for Mgen even though some studies show that it’s more common than gonorrhea. Gonorrhea tests are easy to find online, even for your throat or anus. Hopefully testing for Mgen will be as common as gonorrhea testing one day, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it. It could be a while.
- vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse
- vaginal bleeding when not on period
- sex is painful
- pelvic pain below belly button
- vaginal discharge
- penile discharge
Symptoms are usually milder for men than women, but both can become infertile if not treated early enough. It is also possible to be asymptomatic, making it even harder to know if you’ve been infected.
How Does Mycoplasma Genitalium Spread
Mycoplasma genitalium is spread mainly through unprotected vaginal or anal sex. Some experts believe it can be spread through oral sex as well while others say they aren’t sure.
Condoms are not very effective for STDs like herpes, but they greatly reduce your risk of contracting Mgen.
Mycoplasma Genitalium Treatment
Treatment for mycoplasma genitalium consists of an oral antibiotic, usually Azithromycin (3). In roughly 10% of Mgen cases, the Azithromycin treatment fails and builds a resistance to the drug. If this happens to you, of course, follow your doctors recommendations.
If you want to be extra precautions, ask your doctor about doing a week long Doxycyline regimen before taking the Azithromycin. The Doxycyline won’t eradicate the Mgen bacteria, but it has been known to weaken it which can help the Azithromycin finish it off. You can read more about this treatment regimen here.
My Thoughts on M. Genitalium Testing
This just saddens me because there are so many people who may become infertile because of the lack of information and testing options available.
I am shocked that there aren’t more testing options for such a common STI. But I’m sure my opinion is cloudy due to a bad case of entitled consumerism. I’m used to 2-day shipping and instant gratification, not the slow speed of rigorous medical testing and red tape.
I’m glad to live in a country that doesn’t allow just anything to hit the market, but it would be nice to have at least one FDA approved test since the infection is so common. Who knows how long it takes to develop a reliable test, but there are already a few on the market. I guess the better question is, how long does it take to evaluate and approve of a test for an STI.