What is Mycoplasma genitalium
Mgen is another STI like Chlamydia. Around 10–15% of people with discharge from the penis and/or pain in passing urine, and around 5–10% of people with pelvic pain who are tested in the clinic will have Mgen. However, most people who carry the germ do not have any symptoms and may get rid of the infection without any treatment.
It is caused by a tiny organism called Mycoplasma genitalium (Mgen), which is found in the water passage of infected men and women, and in the vagina in women.
What are the symptoms?
Most people who have Mgen do not have any symptoms, but those with symptoms experience the following:
- pain in the lower tummy, particularly during sex
- vaginal discharge
- vaginal bleeding after sex
- bleeding in between periods
- discomfort when passing urine (peeing)
- discharge from the penis
- penile irritation and pain
How do you get it?
People usually get Mgen by having sex without a condom (unprotected sex) or through genital-to-genital sexual contact with someone who is infected. You cannot get Mgen from kissing, hugging, sharing baths, towels, cups and cutlery, swimming pools or toilet seats.
How do you prevent it?
If you are sexually active, the best way to prevent Mgen is to use condoms for oral, vaginal, and anal sex. If you or your partner(s) have STI symptoms or have been exposed to an STI, make sure you get tested and stop sexual contact until you have been treated or have the all clear.
How can you get tested?
Testing is available at all Virgin Care services. Testing all GUM clinic attenders for this infection is not recommended as most people who have Mgen do not develop any problems and will naturally clear the infection without any treatment. For a few people with symptoms, testing for Mgen may be required. The clinic doctor or nurse will decide if you need to be tested based on your symptoms.
- To find your nearest sexual health service and see if it is a Virgin Care service, put your postcode in here
It is possible to test for Mgen privately. However the accuracy of these may vary so if you do decide to use one of these tests, we advise that you speak to your local pharmacist or GP.
Testing for Mgen is easy and pain-free. If you have symptoms, you’ll usually be asked for a urine sample (if male) and a nurse will take a swab from your vagina or penis. Most people do not need rectal swabs. If your Mgen test comes back as positive, it is important that you tell all of your current sexual partners so that they can also get tested and treated if necessary. If you prefer, your sexual health service can support you to get in contact with these people anonymously.
Want to get tested?
What treatment is available?
Mgen is treated with antibiotics. Most antibiotics are safe to take with hormonal contraception like the pill, implant, injection and patch. However, you must tell your nurse or doctor if you’re taking any medication, if you’re pregnant, could be pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Test of cure (repeating the test five weeks after the initial treatment) is important even if you are feeling better. This is to ensure that the treatment has been successful.
It is extremely important that you don’t have sex or any sexual contact until you and your partner have finished the treatment and your symptoms have gone. This is to avoid being re-infected or passing on the infection.
- BAASH (British Association for Sexual Health and HIV) has a comprehensive patient information leaflet on Mycoplasma genitalium: