Mycoplasma genitalium is a type of bacteria which can cause an STI.
About Mycoplasma Genitalium
Mycoplasma genitalium is often abbreviated to Mgen (M-Gen). It is passed on through unprotected sex or other contact between genitals (sexual parts).
A recent study showed it could be as widespread as 1 in 100 people.
Signs and Symptoms
Some people with Mgen do not have any symptoms but can still pass on the infection.
For most people, common symptoms include:
- Watery discharge from the penis or vagina
- Burning, stinging or pain when peeing
- Raised temperature
Women can also experience:
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding after sex
- Bleeding between periods
- Stomach or pelvic pain below the belly button
How is it Transmitted?
Mycoplasma genitalium is spread through sex or contact with infected areas or genital fluids (semen or vaginal fluid).
You can get mycoplasma genitalium several ways:
- Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
- Your genitals coming into contact with your partner’s genitals (even if there’s no penetration or ejaculation)
- Sharing unwashed sex toys
How to Get Tested
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You can help prevent the spread of Mgen by:
- Using a condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex
- Using a condom to cover the penis during oral sex
- Using a dam (a piece of thin, soft plastic or latex) to cover the female genitals during oral sex or when rubbing female genitals together
- Avoiding sharing sex toys
Mgen can sometimes be more difficult to treat than other STIs with similar symptoms.
Common antibiotics kill bacteria by damaging the cell walls. However, mycoplasma genitalium bacteria essentially does not have cell walls.
Instead, treatment is typically provided by two classes of non-typical antibiotics; macrolide-type or quinolone antibiotics.
You’ll typically be retested around a month after treatment to ensure the infection has gone.
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Contacting a sexual health service for the first time can be a little daunting, so here are some easy answers to many of the questions you may have.
Is Mgen serious?
Mgen is typically a minor or symptomless illness. However, if left untreated, it can spread and lead to more serious problems including urethritis (swollen pee tube) and pelvic inflammatory disease or cervicitis (inflamed cervix) is women.
How soon do symptoms appear?
Symptoms usually appear within a week of infection but not everyone has symptoms. However, you may still pass the infection on and your partner can become unwell.
What should I do if I think I have Mgen?
If you think you have an STI go to your GP or local sexual health clinic.
How do I get tested?
You can test yourself for Mgen at home.