Diagnosis of Mycoplasmosis

The bacterium is identified using nucleic acid amplification tests

The bacterium is identified using nucleic acid amplification tests

Mycoplasma genitalium is a common bacterium which can cause persistent urogenital inflammation in men and in women. Not many people are aware of this infection and therefor it can often go undetected.

Mycoplasma genitalium does not have a cell wall so therefor it is not visible when gram-staining of bacteria is done. The bacterium grows very slowly and poorly when cultured. The bacterium is identified using nucleic acid amplification tests. Further studies on other ways of detecting mycoplasma genitalium are still on the way.

The diagnosis of mycoplasma genitalium is briefly discussed:

  • Medical history

Any diagnosis starts with the medical history. It is important for the health care provider to determine sexual risk factors and if the patient needs to be tested for mycoplasma genitalium and other sexually transmitted diseases. During the history it should also be determined what medication the patient is on and what other conditions the patient has which might contribute to his or her symptoms. It is also vital for the health care professional to ask if the patient has previously been treated for mycoplasma genitalium or other sexually transmitted diseases because repeated infections with treatment may lead to the development of a bacterial strain which is resistant to conventional antibiotics.

  • Physical examination

The physical examination should include a general examination as well as a brief systemic examination. The examination of the genital area is important and the medical professional will look for any swelling, redness or discharge of the genitals. He or she will also feel for swollen lymph nodes and if pain is present in the suprapubic area.

  • Urine sample

A urine sample is used to test for Mycoplasmosis. It is important for the sample not to be contaminated because of the poor growth of mycoplasma genitalium.

  • Urethral swab

A urethral swab is obtained by a health care professional from the urethra. This is a quick procedure which should not be very painful. The results may take a while to become available depending on available resources.

  • Cervical or vaginal swab

In women, a swab of the cervix or vagina may be taken to determine if Mycoplasmosis is present. This procedure may be uncomfortable for some women but it should not be painful. It is also a quick procedure.

  • Conjunctival swab

If conjunctivitis is present, a swab of the conjunctiva could be taken to test for the presence of Mycoplasma bacteria.