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How Do I Get Tested for Mycoplasma Genitalium?

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Updated February 03, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: How Do I Get Tested for Mycoplasma Genitalium?
Answer: Even if you have signs of a sexually transmitted infection, very few doctors are going to test you for Mycoplasma genitalium right off the bat. It's not a screening on most doctors' lists, and sometimes having symptoms of urethritis or cervicitis is enough for them to rule out gonorrhea and chlaymdia and just treat you for Mycoplasma presumptively.

If you have symptoms that suggest you have some form of bacterial urethritis, your healthcare provider will take a urine sample and/or one or more swab samples from your penis or vagina. Those samples will be sent to a laboratory, which will test them to determine what infection is causing your discomfort. If your doctor doesn't test your urine for bacterial DNA, it is unlikely that he will detect a Mycoplasma infection, since it is almost impossible to grow the bacterium from swabs outside of a research laboratory (or, I can say from personal experience, inside of a research laboratory.) Your provider may also do additional tests to rule out other sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis, or other conditions that frequently occur simultaneously with urethritis/cervicitis.

Sources:

Anagrius C et al. "Mycoplasma genitalium: prevalence, clinical significance, and transmission" Sex Transm Infect 2005; 81: 458-462

Tosh AK et al. "Mycoplasma genitalium among adolescent women and their partners." J Adolesc Health. 2007 May;40(5):412-7.

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