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Mycoplasma genitalium: symptoms, causes and treatment of this STD

Mycoplasma genitalium: symptoms, causes and treatment of this STD

July 14, 2024

Speaking of sexually transmitted diseases or infections is common nowadays, and this type of disease is one of the most widespread epidemics and the greatest challenge they pose today at a medical level. When they talk about STDs, we usually think of HIV / AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia or human papillomavirus (HPV) or other problems that can be sexually transmitted, such as hepatitis. But they are not the only transmission diseases that exist.

In fact, the existence of a new venereal disease or STD has recently come to light, although it was discovered in 1980, until now it has been practically unknown and, in addition to being starting to expand, has the potential to become an antibiotic-resistant superbug. It is mycoplasma genitalium , which we are going to talk about in this article.


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Mycoplasma genitalium: description and symptoms

It is known as mycoplasma genitalium or genital mycoplasma a a hitherto rare sexually transmitted disease and that it has recently begun to receive media attention when a spectacular increase in its prevalence is observed (nowadays it is estimated that between 1 and 2% of the population suffers it) and to be classified in 2015 as an emerging pathogen on the part of The OMS. This does not imply that it is a new disease, since its discovery dates back to 1980.

It is a disease that may appear as asymptomatic for years, although in cases where symptoms occur it usually appears between one and three weeks after infection. The symptoms of this disease can vary between men and women , although usually in both sexes it is common to share the presence of inflammations in the genitourinary tract, which causes pain when urinating or having sexual intercourse.


In the case of women other than dysuria or pain when urinating may cause pelvic pain, during sexual intercourse or even walking, redness of the urethra and inflammation of the bladder, as well as odorous flow and abnormal bleeding. In addition to this and I feel this especially important, this disease has the ability to be able to cause the loss of fertility in women, as well as premature births. They can also appear bleeding after intercourse or even ectopic pregnancies (something that can be life threatening).

In men in addition to the symptomatology in the form of pain (usually in the form of burning) when urinating is not unusual to inflame the urethra and prostate, in addition to a possible inflammation of the joints and purulent secretions by the urethra. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, urethritis, proctitis or pharyngitis.


In addition to all this, in people with a depressed immune system (for example, HIV-positive patients) it can have other repercussions, such as the appearance of pulmonary, bone, dermatological or joint infections .

  • Perhaps you are interested: "Chlamydia: what is it, symptoms, causes and treatment of this STD"

Causes, risk population and transmission routes

Mycoplasma genitalis is a disease of bacterial origin, whose main cause is the transmission of the bacterium mycoplasma genitalium through sexual contact. This disease can be transmitted both vaginally and anally or even orally, being able to infect not only the genital tissue but also the pharynx or the anus. In addition, it can also be spread after touching the genitals of the infected person with their hands.

With regard to the existence of populations at risk, this disease can appear in both sexes and It is equally prevalent in heterosexual and homosexual couples . The population at risk would be made up of all those people who have a previous sexually transmitted disease, a person with multiple sexual partners, people who carry out high-risk sexual practices without protection or sex workers.

A little-known disease, now of concern

Although it was discovered in the United Kingdom in 1980, its low prevalence so far and its symptomatic confusion with other sexually transmitted diseases have caused the genital mycoplasma to be a little known and investigated venereal , there being very little information about it until a few years ago and being practically unknown by the population until 2015.

In fact, it is common for mycoplasma genitalium to be confused with chlamydia or sometimes with gonorrhea, although it is different infections caused by different bacteria. This makes mycoplasma genitalium difficult to treat, given that the therapeutic target would be different. Likewise, there are few specific tests to diagnose this disease and most of them are very recent and available are few hospitals and clinics. At a general level, an exudate of the patient's secretions or urine is usually collected and analyzed.

If the genital mycoplasma has suddenly started to be a cause for concern and is beginning to focus part of the scientific and social interest is for several reasons.

One of them is the seriousness and danger that this disease can have, being able to cause sterility or even causing dangerous ectopic pregnancies that could cause the death of those who suffer them. The other, which is becoming increasingly worrisome, is the fact that it has been observed that mycoplasma genitalium is able to acquire resistance to antibiotics, being able to transform into a superbacterium of very complicated elimination. In addition, in many cases there are no symptoms, or the comorbid presence or confusion with another STD such as chlamydia it can generate that you do not look for an adequate treatment.

Treatment

As a general rule, the treatment of this problem is based on taking antibiotics as the most effective method , although the fact that this type of infection can become resistant to treatment can make its resolution complex.

The most common is to use antibiotics of the macrolide family or azithromycin, which could be given during a single oral dose or a daily treatment of five days or a week. After that, it will be necessary to carry out some medical tests and analyzes in order to check if the bacteria has been eliminated.

Another of the main methods to prevent the emergence of this disease is prevention: the use of barrier methods and contraceptives , especially in the case of condoms, will prevent contagion in most cases.

Bibliographic references:

  • Arráiz, N., Colina, S., Marcucci, R., Rondón, N., Reyes, F., Bermúdez, V. and Romero, Z. (2008). Detection of Mycoplasma genitalium and correlation with clinical manifestations in a population of Zulia State, Venezuela. Chilean Journal of Infectology, 25 (4). Santiago.
  • British Association for Sexual Health and HIV. (2018) National guideline for the management of infection with Mycoplasma genitalium. July 2017. Available online at: //www.bashhguidelines.org/media/1182/bashh-mgen-guideline-2018_draft-for-consultation.pdf.
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