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Mycoplasma genitalium

Mycoplasma genitalium is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that shares similarities with more common STIs like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Symptoms may include painful urination, abnormal discharge, abdominal pain, and others, but it is also common to have no symptoms at all.

Transmission of Mycoplasma genitalium primarily occurs through unprotected vaginal or anal sex, and rarely, through oral sex. 

Testing for Mycoplasma genitalium involves obtaining a vaginal swab or urine sample, and if appropriate, an anal or oral swab. These samples are processed using PCR technology to detect the presence of the infection.

If the test results come back positive, treatment is available in the form of oral antibiotics. It is important to get treated as Mycoplasma genitalium can lead to severe complications if left untreated.


What are the symptoms of Mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium symptoms in men

  • Burning or pain when urinating.
  • Pain or itching in the urethra.
  • Pain in testicles.
  • Pain during ejaculation.
  • Watery discharge from penis.
  • Discharge or discomfort from the back passage (for those who have anal sex).

Mycoplasma genitalium symptoms in women

  • Burning or pain when urinating.
  • Unusual vaginal discharge.
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain.
  • Pain during vaginal sexual intercourse.
  • Bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse.
  • Discharge or discomfort from the back passage (for those who have anal sex)

When do the symptoms of Mycoplasma genitalium start to appear?

Symptoms typically begin to appear within 1 to 3 weeks after being exposed to Mycoplasma genitalium. However, this may vary and it is possible for symptoms to develop sooner or later than this time frame.

Not everyone with Mycoplasma genitalium will develop symptoms. It is important to get tested if you think you may be infected.

Can you have Mycoplasma genitalium without any symptoms?

It is possible to have Mycoplasma genitalium without experiencing any symptoms. Despite this, you are still able to transmit the infection.

Could the symptoms of Mycoplasma genitalium be mistaken for another STI or infection?

The symptoms of Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and Mycoplasma genitalium are very similar. It is possible to have more than one STI at a time.

It is important that different infections are diagnosed correctly and treated appropriately for the complete resolution of your symptoms.

What areas of the body does Mycoplasma genitalium infect?

Possible areas Mycoplasma genitalium can infect include the genitalia and rectum (for those who have anal sex).

Although very rare, it is possible to contract Mycoplasma genitalium orally.


What causes Mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium is transmitted through genital or anal sex with an infected partner. Although rare, it is possible to transmit Mycoplasma genitalium through oral sex.

You cannot get Mycoplasma genitalium through kissing and hugging, sharing showers or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or cutlery.

What factors can increase the likelihood of getting Mycoplasma genitalium?

  • Having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
  • Having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
  • Very close contact with partners’ genitals.
  • Sharing unwashed and unprotected sex toys.
  • Passed on from an infected mother during childbirth.

Can I get Mycoplasma genitalium even if I wear a condom?

Using a condom during sexual intercourse reduces the chances of contracting Mycoplasma genitalium significantly. However, some creams and vaginal pessaries, such as thrush treatment, can make condoms less effective.

It is important to get tested if you have been exposed to Mycoplasma genitalium or any other STI.

Can you tell who gave me Mycoplasma genitalium?

It is not possible to tell who gave you Mycoplasma genitalium.

How can I prevent getting Mycoplasma genitalium?

  • Using a condom or femidom during vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
  • Avoid sharing sex toys which have not been cleaned properly, or do not have a condom on them.
  • Avoid having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a partner if they have been treated for Mycoplasma less than 2 weeks ago.

Think you might have Mycoplasma genitalium?

Tested positive for Mycoplasma genitalium?


What is the long term prognosis for someone who has Mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium is an infection that can be effectively treated. While treatment is necessary in most cases, there is a rare possibility for the infection to resolve on its own without intervention.

Without receiving effective treatment, the risk of experiencing complications from Mycoplasma genitalium infection is increased.

Once treated, am I immune from getting Mycoplasma genitalium again?

There is no immunity or resistance to Mycoplasma genitalium, which means that individuals can get infected with this bacterium regardless of any previous exposure or infection history.

How can Mycoplasma genitalium affect me during pregnancy?

Acquiring Mycoplasma genitalium during pregnancy can have serious consequences for the infant, including premature birth, stillbirth, and miscarriage.

Additionally, there is a risk of transmitting the infection to the baby during childbirth. Therefore, it is crucial to seek proper diagnosis and treatment if you suspect you are infected with Mycoplasma genitalium while pregnant.

It is important to note that treatment for this infection may carry certain risks for the pregnancy. If you are pregnant and suspect you may have Mycoplasma genitalium, please reach out to your midwife or healthcare provider for further guidance and support.

What complications can Mycoplasma genitalium lead to, if left untreated?

Women who are infected with Mycoplasma genitalium may experience long-term complications such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix), infertility, spontaneous abortion, sexually acquired reactive arthritis (SARS), an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, and premature birth if they become pregnant.

In men, long-term complications can include inflammation of the testicles and the tubes that carry sperm, potentially leading to infertility.

Furthermore, untreated Mycoplasma genitalium infection can increase the risk of transmitting and contracting other infections and viruses, including HIV, regardless of gender.

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Reviewed by: Mrs. Magdalena Nowacka
Written By: Jackie Winge

Last reviewed date: 24 October 2023
Next review due: 24 October 2026

Whilst this content is written and reviewed by sexual health specialists, it is for general guidance only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your clinician.

References & Further Reading