The main points

  • Mycoplasma genitalium is a common infection affecting the cervix, urethra, and rectum.
  • Mycoplasma is passed on through sex whether your partner is the same sex as you or a different sex

  • Most people infected with mycoplasma have no symptoms at all.
  • Mycoplasma usually responds effectively and quickly to a single dose of antibiotics.

What is it?          

Mycoplasma genitalium (usually referred to as mycoplasma) is a common infection affecting the cervix (top part of vagina), urethra (where urine comes out) and rectum (anal passage). It mostly affects young people.

How do you get it?

Mycoplasma is passed on through sex whether your partner is the same sex as you or a different sex. It is usually passed directly from an infected area but can sometimes be passed on through infected fluid on fingers or sex toys.     

How do I know I have it?

Most people infected with mycoplasma have no symptoms at all.

If there are symptoms, you might notice:

  • a change in vaginal discharge (sticky fluid that comes from the vagina)
  • irregular bleeding from the vagina (especially after sex)
  • stinging or burning when passing urine
  • redness at the opening of the penis
  • a clear or slightly cloudy discharge from the penis
  • pelvic (tummy) pain, including during sex
  • a fever

Mycoplasma can also infect the rectum (anal passage) and cause discharge and pain.

What does a test involve?

Testing for mycoplasma is not part of a sexual health screen. Testing is usually only recommended if you have symptoms or have recently had sex with a person who is infected with mycoplasma.  There are a number of ways to test for mycoplasma, depending on your symptoms and risk. These include

  • peeing in a jar
  • a swab (cotton bud) test from inside the vagina
  • a swab test from the rectum

What will happen if it’s not treated?

Untreated mycoplasma may cause

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (an infection of the womb and tubes) that can cause fertility problems
  • pain and swelling of the testicles
  • dull pain in the pelvis

How is mycoplasma treated?

Mycoplasma usually responds effectively and quickly to a single dose of antibiotics.

If I have mycoplasma should my partner/s be treated?

Mycoplasma is very infectious. If you have mycoplasma there is a high chance your partner(s) has it too. All your current sexual partners should be tested and treated. You should avoid unprotected sex for seven days after treatment to give it time to work. You need to wait until your current partner/s is at least seven days past their treatment too, otherwise if you have unprotected sex again, you can pass it back to each other.

It is recommended that you tell everyone you have had sex with in the last 6 months so they can be tested and offered treatment.

There are some great websites to help you tell your partners including:

Will mycoplasma come back?

Mycoplasma is usually cured by effective treatment, but sometimes it doesn’t work. Your doctor might recommend that you have a test at a later stage to make sure you are cured. If you had symptoms and they don’t go away see your doctor as it might mean the treatment hasn’t worked. You don’t develop any immunity to mycoplasma so it’s always possible to get the infection again.

How can I avoid mycoplasma?

Use condoms for vaginal and anal sex.

No method of contraception apart from the male or female condom can offer any protection against mycoplasma.

Where to get more information, support or advice

Disclaimer 

This website provides general information only. The suitability of such general information  varies  from   person  to   person,  depending  on individual circumstances.   You should seek specific medical or legal advice for your individual circumstances.

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Last updated: 5 June 2016

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