How Can I Get Tested for Mycoplasma Genitalium?

January 5, 2018

Mycoplasma genitalium, known as MG, is currently recognized to be an extremely common STD. However, even in the event that you have signs of a sexually transmitted disease, not many physicians are going to test you for Mycoplasma genitalium off the bat. Mycoplasma genitalium testing isn’t a screening that’s on most physicians’ lists. Instead, the existence of mycoplasma is simply assumed in certain circumstances.

For instance, when you have symptoms of urethritis or cervicitis, but don’t have either gonorrhea or chlamydia, your physician may only presumptively treat you for Mycoplasma.That’s since MG is the most common cause of cervicitis and urethritis symptoms aside from those two diseases. In addition, antibiotic treatment for MG is comparatively secure, if not always effective. Thus, there’s believed to be little reason to put off treatment to wait for mycoplasma testing. (That is true despite the fact that there’s some evidence of antibiotic-resistant mycoplasma.) 

At times, but more comprehensive testing is done when you have symptoms that suggest you have some kind of bacterial urethritis. In these cases, your physician will take a urine sample and/or a couple of swab samples from your vagina or penis. These samples will be sent to a laboratory. There, tests will be run to ascertain what disease is causing your discomfort.

One of those tests will probably be a NAAT test for Mycoplasma. NAAT stands for amplification testing. These tests can be used to identify small quantities of DNA or RNA in an STD pathogen. 

It requires very specific tests to locate Mycoplasma. For example, if your physician doesn’t examine your urine for bacterial DNA, then it is unlikely that she’ll detect a Mycoplasma disease.

Why are NAAT tests for mycoplasma required? As it’s almost impossible to develop the bacterium from swabs outside of a research laboratory. (I will say from personal experience that it’s also nearly impossible to do this within a research laboratory.) But despite urine testing, the doctor must look for Mycoplasma. That doesn’t always happen.

Even if she thinks Mycoplasma is causing your symptoms, your provider may also do additional tests to rule out other sexually transmitted diseases. For instance, she might look for syphilis or other conditions that frequently occur simultaneously with urethritis/cervicitis. That is done because individuals who have one STI are usually at risk for more. Co-infections are not uncommon when people are having sex. You may also need repeated testing for Mycoplasma, because sometimes treatment does not work. Running a second NAAT test for mycoplasma can show whether or not the antibiotics that were utilized were able to efficiently remove the disease or if you need to be treated .