Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Up close and personal with Mycoplasma Genitalium

Published:Monday | July 30, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The erotic events that transpire between lovers in the bed, bath, and beyond can be a beautifully exhilarating experience. It's sensational strokes, however, can possibly turn lethal if, in the heat of the moment, you (or your partner) doesn't decide to press provocative play with a condom.

We've heard of popular sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis. But there's a super bug going around that can cause irreversible damage. Let's get up close and personal with Mycoplasma Genitalium.

Mycoplasma Genitalium, according to Dr Zanya Henry-Cruise, is an STD caused by a bacteria. "Commonly called M gen or MG in the medical community, it inhabits and infects the mucous membranes primarily of the genital tract - urethra, cervix, and anus. But can sometimes be found in the throat," she told Flair.

MG mainly affects the Afro Caribbean community, particularly those who engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners. It cannot be transmitted through kissing, shaking hands, sharing utensils, or using the same toilet. It is transferred through oral and vaginal sex.

 

SIGNS and Symptoms

 

As for signs and symptoms, here's the trick. Men, who are frequent carriers, show little to none of the usual obvious symptoms - painful urination and penile discharge. Women, too, demonstrate no clear symptoms unique to MG. If symptoms do develop in women, Dr Henry-Cruise revealed, they include painful intercourse, bleeding after sex, vaginal itching, abdominal pain and foul discharge. Sounds familiar? They mimic the symptoms of bacterial infections such as bacterial vaginosis or yeast. And Dr Henry-Cruise asserted that if it is treated as such, it may only strengthen this dangerous superbug. If it isn't treated as MG, these background inflammatory changes in the genital tract can ultimately cause infertility.

 

Ongoing Research

 

"There is still development ongoing re a standardised accepted form of detection as the bug requires special lab conditions in order to culture an isolate of the bacteria. At the moment, there's no real test, but it can be detected through urine screening and cervical swabs. New screening techniques are under way."

That being said, Dr Henry-Cruise recommends no delay with treatment while waiting for test results, especially if the symptoms carry a negative result for chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

The treatment is a five- to 10-day course of antibiotics, and Dr Henry-Cruise strongly advises that during this time, you either wrap it up and practice safe sex, or engage in no sex at all.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com