Mycoplasma Genitalium – what you need to know

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It might not get the same coverage as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, but mycoplasma genitalium is the latest STI that should be on everybody’s radar. Luckily, here at Your Sexual Health, we have a range of private STI tests that can diagnose if you have the infection. To help you decide whether you need to get tested and what test is best for you, our very own Dr Rashid Bani has put together this helpful information leaflet.

What is mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma Genitalium bacterium is a sexually transmitted infection that infects the mucus membranes of the urethra, cervix, throat or anus. Although the infection itself does not generally cause serious symptoms, its presence can lead to a range of complications and health issues for men and women in the long term.

How is mycoplasma genitalium contracted?

Mycoplasma genitalium is contracted by having unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex with someone else who has the STI. Unfortunately, due to it often presenting no symptoms, many people are unaware that they have the condition allowing it to spread easily. If you’ve had unprotected sex with someone for the first time or you’re someone that has had multiple sexual partners in the previous six months then you should get tested.

What are the symptoms of mycoplasma genitalium?

Like many other STIs such as chlamydia, mycoplasma often exhibits no symptoms. Instead the infection goes unnoticed for a long period of time or until tested. Symptoms that do sometimes present however, include: –

  • Genital irritation and itching along with inflammation
  • Discharge from the vagina or penis along with an undesirable odour
  • Pain in the affected area
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding, including after sex

Complications of mycoplasma genitalium

Although the infection in itself does not usually cause any serious symptoms, if left undiagnosed it can lead to complications over time. Some of the conditions that can be caused by mycoplasma genitalium infection include: –

  • Cervicitis – an inflammation of the cervix in women
  • Urethritis – which is an inflammation of the urethra
  • Prostatitis – inflammation or infection of the prostate gland
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Complications during pregnancy, including ectopic pregnancy or premature birth

Although mycoplasma genitalium is not dangerous on its own, these complications and corresponding illnesses can cause lifelong issues.

What are the mycoplasma genitalium test options?

Here at Your Sexual Health, we have a wide range of private STI tests that can diagnose mycoplasma genitalium, including both profile tests and individual tests. The individual private mycoplasma test allows you to diagnose the condition on its own using a single urine sample.

Our profile tests mean that you can diagnose the condition, whilst also testing for a range of other STIs. The mycoplasma test uses a urine sample for diagnosis, but a number of our profile tests also require blood samples to test for other STIs.

How is mycoplasma genitalium treated?

Mycoplasma genitalium is effectively treated using oral antibiotics, usually Azithromycin. A test to ensure you are cured one month after treatment is needed to make sure that the antibiotics worked. Very occasionally a second course of antibiotics is required.

How can you prevent mycoplasma genitalium from spreading?

The best form of prevention against mycoplasma is by practicing safe sex. This includes using a condom whenever you have sex with someone unless you know for certain that they don’t have any STDs. Due to the fact that mycoplasma infects the mucus membranes of the urethra, cervix, throat or anus, you should use protection for all forms of sex including oral, vaginal and anal intercourse.

How many people have mycoplasma genitalium?

There is not as much knowledge of mycoplasma as there is for many other STIs, however a recent medical study by the University College London suggested that as many of 1.2 per cent of all males and 1.3 per cent of females had the infection. The study tested 4500 sexually active participants aged between 16 and 44 years old.

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Despite a lack of public awareness as many as 1.2% of all males and 1.3% of females could have the STI