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What is mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium, also known as MG, M Genitalium and Mgen, is a relatively new sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria of the same name.

It was discovered for the first time in the early 1980s, but initially it wasn’t clear if it was an STI or not. Further studies discovered that as many as 1 in 100 adults may be suffering from it, with many experiencing no noticeable symptoms.

What are the symptoms of mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium symptoms vary between men and women, and not everyone actually shows any symptoms.

Symptoms for men include:

  • Burning, stinging or other pain when urinating
  • Watery discharge from the penis

Symptoms for women include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Pain when having sex
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Spotting or bleeding in between periods

MG can also cause non-specific urethritis, which is irritation and swelling of the urethra. It can also cause swollen testicles in men and an inflamed cervix in women.

What causes mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium is an STI caused by bacteria of the same name. It is passed on through unprotected sex, including full vaginal, oral or anal sex, and rubbing and touching.

Because MG is relatively new, the test for it is also fairly new and may not be available in all sexual health clinics. Mycoplasma genitalium testing involves taking a sample with a swab and sending it off to a laboratory for analysis.

A study has found that infection rates are higher in black men, men from deprived areas, and men and women who have 4 or more sexual partners in a year or don’t always practice safe sex.

How can you treat mycoplasma genitalium?

The usual mycoplasma genitalium treatment is antibiotics. Doxycycline mycoplasma treatment and azithromycin mycoplasma antibiotics are two common options.

Anyone who suspects they may have MG or is currently undergoing treatment for it should avoid having sex. If you have sex, you might infect others or be reinfected yourself.  

What can you do to help prevent mycoplasma genitalium?

The main way to prevent mycoplasma genitalium is to avoid having unprotected sex. Using male condoms when having vaginal, anal and oral sex is one of the easiest ways to avoid contracting MG or any other STI in future.

* Please note results, timeframe and individual responses to treatments may vary from person to person. If you do need medical advice you should always speak to a doctor, pharmacist or appropriate medical professional.