SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS
Mycoplasma Genitalium (M. gen)
Mycoplasma genitalium (M. gen) is a sexually transmitted bacteria that can be passed from one person to another during vaginal and anal sex. M. gen was discovered in 1980 and is now recognized as one of the most common causes of certain sexually transmitted infections in men and women. Infections due to M. gen occur primarily in the urethra and the cervix. We know that M. gen also lives in the anus/rectum but we don’t yet know if it plays much of a role in sexually transmitted anal infections (proctitis). The US food and drug administration (FDA) approved a diagnostic test for M. gen in 2019, and so we now have a way to test people for this sexually transmitted infection.
Mycoplasma Genitalium (M. gen) Facts Sheet
M. gen in women can lead to a serious infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In PID, the bacteria move from the vagina up through the cervix and into the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Blockage and scarring can damage the tubes, causing women who get pregnant to be more likely to have ectopic (“tubal”) pregnancies, which can be fatal. Left untreated, PID can cause infertility (inability to get pregnant) and chronic pelvic pain. In men, M. gen can cause epididymitis, a painful infection of the testicles, which can sometimes cause scarring of the testicle and male infertility.
In people who are living with HIV and who are not undetectable, STDS can make it easier to spread HIV to sex partners.
- Discharge from the head of the penis
- Pain or itching at the head of the penis
- Burning or pain with urination
- Pain, tenderness or swelling of the testicle(s)
- Vaginal discharge
- Pain or burning with urination
- Unusual vaginal bleeding or bleeding after sex
- Pelvic cramping, especially with sex
- Lower abdominal pain
If you have any of the above symptoms of an STD our experienced medical staff will ask you questions about your sexual history, examine any parts of the body where you have symptoms and take swabs and/or urine for testing.
Although we know people without symptoms can carry M. gen, unlike gonorrhea or chlamydia, there is no current research to suggest testing people without symptoms is helpful. Given this, City Clinic only tests people with symptoms or partners of people who are diagnosed with M.gen.
Usually, treatment is with an antibiotic pill taken once a day for 10-14 days. Sometimes, a different antibiotic is used. Finish all of the pills you are given, even if you feel better before taking them all, so the bacteria is completely wiped out. You should not have sex for two weeks after you start the treatment. Don’t have sex with your partner(s) until two weeks after they start treatment.
We do not provide partner packs for M. gen so your sex partners should be tested for M. gen and treated if their test is positive. Otherwise, they can give the infection back to you or infect others.
Anal sex partners of men with M. gen can consider treatment even if their urine test is negative because, currently, we do not have a test for anal/rectal or pharyngeal (throat) M. gen.
Sometimes M.gen can be hard to cure, so make sure to return to the clinic if your symptoms don’t improve within 7-10 days or if they come back.
Using condoms consistently and correctly for oral, vaginal and anal sex is your best bet for staying sexually healthy.
If you’re thinking of having sex with a new partner:
1. Talk about STIs, including when each of you were last tested.
- Women up to age 25 should be tested for certain STDs at least annually.
- Men who have sex with men should be tested every 3 months
- Men who have sex with women up to age 25 should be tested in certain situations, for instance if you’ve had an STD in the past, have a partner with an STD, or you live in an area where your chances of getting an STD are high.
2. Male and female condoms are effective in reducing the risk of M. gen, most other sexual infections and HIV.
3. Do not have sex if you or a sexual partner has abnormal discharge, burning with urination, or any other symptom that could be due to an STI.