Mycoplasma genitalium – CDC Basic Fact Sheet
People who are sexually active can get mycoplasma genitalium (Mgen), a curable sexually transmitted disease (STD). This fact sheet answers general questions about Mgen.
What is Mycoplasma genitalium?
Mycoplasma genitalium (or Mgen) is an STD that can cause infection among people of any gender. Mgen can infect the cervix (opening to the uterus), inside the penis (the urethra), or the rectum.
How is Mgen spread?
You can get Mgen by having vaginal or anal sex without a condom with someone who has the infection. Researchers are still determining whether sex partners can spread Mgen through oral sex.
A person with Mgen can pass the infection to someone even when they have no signs or symptoms.
How can I reduce my risk of getting Mgen?
The only way to completely avoid STDs such as Mgen is to not have vaginal or anal sex.
If you are sexually active, the following things can help lower your chances of getting Mgen:
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have Mgen; and
- Using condoms the right way every time you have vaginal or anal sex.
How do I know if I have Mgen?
People with Mgen often have no symptoms.
Someone with symptoms may notice:
- Vaginal discharge;
- A burning sensation when peeing;
- Discharge from the penis.
See your healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms.
You should also see a provider if your partner has an STD or symptoms of one. Symptoms of an STD can include an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when peeing, pain/bleeding after sex, and bleeding between periods.
How will my healthcare provider know if I have Mgen?
Laboratory tests can diagnose Mgen. Your healthcare provider may ask you to provide a urine sample for testing. In some cases, they may use (or ask you to use) a swab to get a sample from the vagina or cervix.
Is there a cure for Mgen?
Yes, the right treatment with antibiotics can cure Mgen. It is important that you take all of the medicine your healthcare provider gives you to treat the infection. Do not share medicine for Mgen with anyone. Your sex partner(s) should also see a healthcare provider who can test and treat them if needed. When taken properly, treatment will stop the infection and can decrease your chances of having problems later. Although medicine will stop the infection, it will not undo any permanent damage caused by the disease.
It is becoming harder to treat some Mgen infections, as drug-resistant strains of Mgen are increasing. Return to a healthcare provider if your symptoms continue for more than a few days after completing treatment.
When can I have sex again after my Mgen treatment?
Wait until you and your sex partner(s) complete treatment and symptoms are gone before you have sex again.
If you were treated for Mgen in the past, you can still get it again. This can happen if you have vaginal or anal sex without a condom with a person who has Mgen.
What happens if I don’t get treated?
Left untreated, Mgen can cause serious and permanent health problems in women, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Some of the complications of PID are:
- Formation of scar tissue that blocks fallopian tubes;
- Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus);
- Infertility (not being able to get pregnant); and
- Long-term pelvic/abdominal pain.
For people who are already pregnant, Mgen may be associated with preterm (early) delivery or pregnancy loss.
We do not know if men develop long-term health problems from Mgen.
Detailed fact sheets are intended for physicians and individuals with specific questions about sexually transmitted diseases. Detailed fact sheets include specific testing and treatment recommendations as well as citations so the reader can research the topic more in depth.
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