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Common Signs and Symptoms of Mycoplasma Genitalium

What Are The Symptoms of Mycoplasma Genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium (also known as MG or Mgen) is most often asymptomatic in men and women. Men experiencing symptoms of an mycoplasma genitalium infection will notice urethritis. This typically causes a burning sensation during urination and discharge from the penis. Epididymitis is also possible. Mycoplasma genitalium can cause cervicitis in women. This manifests as a burning sensation during urination, lower abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding and discharge.

What is mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection that was first identified in 1981. It is the smallest known self-replicating bacteria and has no cell wall, making it impervious to most antibacterial medications. Instead, mycoplasma genitalium lives inside of the cells of the host. Mycoplasma genitalium is difficult to identify because it rarely presents symptoms and if it does, they are typically mistaken for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Mycoplasma genitalium is a relatively new infection and is not well known, especially in the United States.

Who is at risk of a mycoplasma genitalium infection?

Every sexually active person is at risk of mycoplasma genitalium, but persons with many sexual partners are more likely to become infected. An estimated 1-2% of the population is infected with mycoplasma genitalium.

How is mycoplasma genitalium transmitted?

Mycoplasma genitalium is transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person, including oral, anal and vaginal intercourse.

What is the incubation period of mycoplasma genitalium?

There is no confirmed incubation period for mycoplasma genitalium, but the bacteria moves slowly and can take several months to culture in a laboratory setting.

What are the long-term consequences of an untreated mycoplasma genitalium infection?

Untreated, mycoplasma can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women and persistent, recurrent urethritis in men. PID is known to cause ectopic pregnancy, preterm delivery, chronic pelvic pain and infertility.

How does mycoplasma genitalium impact pregnancy?

Very little research has been done on the relationship between mycoplasma genitalium infection and pregnancy outside of the possible complications caused by pelvic inflammatory disease.

How can I prevent a mycoplasma genitalium infection?

Correct and consistent condom use can lower the risk of infection but does not guarantee prevention.

Who should test for mycoplasma genitalium?

There is still disagreement in the medical community about whether mycoplasma genitalium testing should be done without symptoms. Those in favor of asymptomatic screening argue that misdiagnosis due to a lack of testing leads to further antibiotic resistance and serious long-term consequences for the infected person. The argument against asymptomatic screening claims a lack of data on long-term consequences.

Both parties agree that anyone experiencing symptoms of mycoplasma genitalium, specifically persistent urethritis should be tested. We recommend frequent testing for persons with many sexual partners or with a partner who has an mycoplasma genitalium diagnosis.

How is an mycoplasma genitalium test administered?

Mycoplasma genitalium tests use a urine sample for men and a swab for women. This sample is tested using a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) qualitative in-vitro diagnostic test that looks for mycoplasma genitalium DNA in the sample.

Is mycoplasma genitalium curable?

Mycoplasma genitalium can be cured with antibiotics. Penicillins and cephalosporins are not effective, so most patients are given some combination of Doxycycline, Azithromycin and/or Moxifloxacin, depending on the severity of infection. Both partners should abstain from sex until treatment is complete.

Is mycoplasma genitalium the next sexually transmitted superbug?

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) released updated guidelines in 2018 to encourage diagnostic testing and treatment of mycoplasma genitalium. With no change in approach, mycoplasma genitalium could become a superbug in the next decade. Mycoplasma genitalium can adjust its pattern of resistance to antibiotics during treatment, so incorrect diagnoses give mycoplasma genitalium the chance to become resistant to the antibiotics most commonly used to treat infection. Mycoplasma genitalium is already developing resistance to the antibiotics used for chlamydia.

Macrolides are the antibiotic group typically used to treat sexually transmitted infections. A 2016 study of patients at several STD clinics in the United States found that 50.8% of mycoplasma genitalium infections in women and 42% of mycoplasma genitalium infections in men were macrolide-resistant.

Is a mycoplasma genitalium reinfection possible?

Reinfection with mycoplasma genitalium is possible following sexual contact with an infected person. Retesting five weeks after completing treatment is recommended to be ensure treatment was effective.

What Happens If I Test Positive?

If you test positive, instruction will be provided on how to obtain a free telemedicine consultation with a physician in your state. This physician may be able to prescribe treatment for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Trich. Depending on the infection, you may also need to retest after treatment to confirm the infection is gone. 

It is crucial that you inform your sexual partners of your test results, whether they’re positive or negative. Sharing this information will help stop the spread of any infection and will allow your partners to seek testing and treatment immediately if necessary. 

Keep testing. Just because you’ve tested once does not mean that you shouldn’t test again. In fact, it’s common to get infected with certain STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea, multiple times. myLAB Box recommends that you test every few months, especially if you’ve received a positive result in the past.