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Mycoplasma genitalium is also known as MG or Mgen. It's a sexually transmitted bacterium that infects the urinary and genital tracts of men and women.

MG can cause non-specific urethritis (NSU) in men and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women.

Symptoms of MG

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The majority of people with MG have no symptoms and the infection will clear itself naturally in some cases. Others may have one or more symptoms.

Men should watch out for:

  • pain when urinating
  • a discharge
  • pain in their testicles
  • proctitis, an inflammation in the rectum causing anal pain and discharge.

Women should watch out for:

  • vaginal discharge
  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding (intermenstrual bleeding)
  • bleeding after sex
  • PID has been linked to MG – PID can cause infertility and is also associated with pre-term births and spontaneous abortions.

How MG is passed on

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MG is spread through unprotected vaginal or anal sex. It's most prevalent among men and women who have multiple sexual partners.

You should use a condom while having sex to reduce the risk of getting it or passing it on.

Testing for MG

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MG testing at the sexual health clinic isn't routine as with other STIs and you probably won't be tested for MG unless you have symptoms.

If you have symptoms, MG is diagnosed by carrying out a simple urine test for men or genital swab for women.

If a test shows you do have MG, then your current sexual partners should be tested too, even if they're not showing symptoms.

Everyone who's sexually active should get regular checkups at their local sexual health clinic. It's especially important for men and women who have multiple sexual partners or who struggle with condom use.

Treatment

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MG is treated with antibiotics.

Some strains have developed resistance to commonly used antibiotics. It may take several rounds of different drugs to clear the infection.

You may still be able to pass it on for up to 14 days after completion of treatment so avoid unprotected sex.

Treatment of MG for people who have HIV is the same as for HIV-negative people.