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Mycoplasma genitalium is a sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria. Both men and women can contract and transmit it.
The infection impacts them in different ways. Mycoplasma genitalium infects the male urethra. Men with the condition might notice discharge from their penis or pain or burning sensations when they urinate.
Women can get mycoplasma genitalium in their cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Women may also notice an unusual discharge from their vagina or pain urinating. Pain in the lower pelvis and during sex is also common. They may also bleed after sex or between their monthly periods.
While many people with mycoplasma genitalium have unpleasant symptoms, others have no symptoms at all.
Mycoplasma genitalium can be transmitted during sexual intercourse or foreplay involved genitals touching each other.
Health professionals can test for mycoplasma genitalium with a urine or swab test. After diagnosis, the condition can be resolved with antibiotics. Any sexual partners should also be treated in the same way at this time, even if they’re asymptomatic. A single dose may cure the problem, but some people may require a longer course of antibiotics or repeat treatment courses. During treatment, people with mycoplasma genitalium should abstain from sex for seven days after commencing treatment to prevent transmitting the disease or becoming reinfected.
People who’ve had mycoplasma genitalium should be retested one month after treatment. They should use condoms for sex or abstain from sex altogether until they can be retested. A negative test indicates the infection is completely gone. After receiving a negative test, patients can have unprotected sex. If the test is positive, another course of treatment is required.
Note that while unprotected sex is possible after mycoplasma genitalium is cleared up, it’s not recommended unless you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship with someone you know is disease free. Using condoms can prevent the spread of mycoplasma genitalium and other sexually transmitted infections, so it’s always recommended for people with new, untested, or non-exclusive partners.
It’s unclear how mycoplasma genitalium could impact the body if it’s not treated. Symptoms will continue, but they may progressively become worse. Men could develop swollen, inflamed testicles. Women may get pelvic inflammatory disease, which could impact their fertility and cause chronic pelvic pain.