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Mycoplasma Genitalium

Symptoms, causes and treatment options for mycoplasma genitalium

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Dr Hilary Jones discusses mycoplasma genitalium and the treatments available at HealthExpress

Mycoplasma genitalium is caused by a parasitic bacterium that can be contracted through unprotected sexual contact. It has similar characteristics to chlamydia and gonorrhoea, but is often difficult to diagnose, as it usually occurs in conjunction with other STIs.

Mycoplasma is one of the main causes of urethritis in men, and is commonly associated with bacterial vaginosis in women. If left untreated, mycoplasma can also cause infertility, so it's crucial that you treatment is sought after as early as possible. If you have been diagnosed with mycoplasma genitalium, you can easily be treated with effective antibiotics available to order online here after taking our free online doctor's consultation. Alternatively, if you are unsure whether you have it or would like more information in regards to the infection, then you can read more further below.

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What is mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium is a strain of the mycoplasma bacteria that affects the cells of the urinary/genital area. It is classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and was first identified in 1981. This condition can be difficult to diagnose, and is often confused with gonorrhoea or chlamydia due to various similarities between the conditions.

Mycoplasma genitalium is caused by bacterium of the same name and is passed on through unprotected sex. This condition colonises the reproductive tract of both men and women, and is categorised with non-specific urethritis (NSU), due to the fact it isn't tested for on the NHS.

There are no obvious symptoms associated with mycoplasma genitalium, therefore, if your results come back as positive when testing for mycoplasma genitalium, but you can't detect any symptoms, it is still recommended that you seek treatment for this curable condition.

Causes of mycoplasma genitalium

Mycoplasma genitalium is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by small mycoplasmal organisms, and then transferred through unprotected sexual intercourse. Without the use of appropriate protection, these organisms can cause infection as extracellular parasites, by attaching themselves to the surface of the genital tract and attacking the tissue of the host.

Mycoplasma genitalium can be passed on from one sexual partner to another during:

  • Vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • Unprotected sex or if you have frequent sex with different partners.
  • Sharing of sex toys with an infected partner.

Symptoms of mycoplasma genitalium

In some cases, men and women infected with mycoplasma genitalium do not experience any symptoms, due to the asymptomatic nature of the condition. However, sometimes symptoms will usually become apparent after a week of being infected, but sometimes you may not notice any signs of mycoplasma genitalium for months.

Common symptoms associated with men include:

  • burning feeling or pain during urination
  • urethral discharge and pain and swelling in the joints (arthritis).

Common symptoms associated with women may also include:

  • burning feeling or pain during urination
  • pain during sex
  • inflamed cervix
  • bleeding between periods (often after sex)
  • vaginal itching

The main problem with diagnosing mycoplasma is that the symptoms associated with the condition are associated with other sexually transmitted diseases as well (e.g. non-specific urethritis). So, it's always best to get tested as soon as possible, so that you can know for sure before selecting an appropriate treatment.

Benefits of dealing with mycoplasma genitalium

A number of benefits can be experienced when you successfully treat mycoplasma genitalium.

  • Avoid the risk of further health problems, such as cervicitis, urethritis, and ectopic pregnancy
  • Your personal sexual confidence will improve
  • Your partner's sexual confidence can also improve
  • Any issues relating to future fertility issues can be avoided
  • Your sexual performance and overall experience can be enhanced
  • Psychological issues associated with mycoplasma genitalium (as well as other STIs), such as stress and anxiety, can be successfully prevented

How can I get tested for mycoplasma genitalium?

Your local sexual health clinic or GP will be able to test you for this STI. However, because the symptoms are similar to other STI's, it's best to get a full STI screen so that your specialist can find out what the problem is and recommend a solution.

A mycoplasma test for men will involve a urine sample and for women, a swab will be taken from the vagina. Both these tests are designed to look for the DNA of the mycoplasma bacterium. The sooner that you get diagnosed; the sooner you can be treated.

What are the risks of mycoplasma genitalium?

Although mycoplasma genitalium can easily be treated, it can stay unrecognised for months because it is asymptomatic, meaning that it rarely shows any symptoms. If left untreated, mycoplasma genitalium can lead to cervicitis, urethritis, ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease in women; and epididymitis and prostatitis in men. It can also lead to infertility and long-lasting pelvic pain in both sexes. Fortunately, all of these potential risks can be avoided when using effective antibiotic treatment.

Prevention for mycoplasma genitalium

Mycoplasma genitalium is a completely preventable condition. It can be successfully prevented by following the preventable methods below:

  • Using male or female condoms during sex – this is the most highly recommended method when looking to prevent mycoplasma genitalium
  • Avoiding sex until the course of antibiotic treatment is completed. This is also the case if your partner is in the process of treating their STI
  • Additional testing can be taken after completing the course of treatment, to ensure that the bacteria have cleared, and the condition has been cured. This also excludes other forms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Keeping the number of sexual partners you have down can also be helpful when preventing mycoplasma genitalium
  • Avoid sharing sex toys with sexual partners – if you do intend to share them, ensure that they are washed thoroughly and covered with a fresh condom

What treatment options are available?

Currently, the only clinically proven method for effectively treating mycoplasma genitalium is by taking antibiotic medication. Of all the available drugs used to cure this condition, Azithromycin is considered to be the most effective. This has been proven in studies, where the effectiveness of Azithromycin has been compared to the effectiveness of Doxycycline (another antibiotic medication) when treating patients with mycoplasma genitalium.

When diagnosed, mycoplasma genitalium can easily be treated with a simple course of antibiotics. Azithromycin has been proven to be the most effective treatment method for this infection and is taken as a single one-day treatment of Azithromycin 500mg x 2 dose. This medication is taken in the form of a tablet, and should effectively treat the infection within just seven days.

If you have tested positive for mycoplasma genitalium, click on the link below to begin a quick, free, and simple online consultation now, to determine which prescription treatment is right for you. After you have completed your consultation, our UK registered doctor will be able to assess your condition and make the right decision as to which treatments are best for your condition. Once you've made your choice, our doctor will write out a prescription and forward it to our pharmacy. Your medication will then be dispatched for free next-day (or same-day, for all London postcodes) courier delivery.

Dr Hilary Jones, HealthExpress Medical Advisor

What to do if I have mycoplasma genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium is the name of a sexually transmitted genital infection that can eventually lead to reproductive complications if not treated.

Click here to find the right treatment for you