There is a new sexually transmitted disease (STD) individuals need to worry about, but the good news is that it’s curable. Researchers at the University College London published a new study in the International Journal of Epidemiology that reveals that mycoplasma genitalium (MG), a bacterial infection that affects the urinary tract, is transmitted through sexual intercourse. The medical community has known about MG since the 1980s, however, there was no research conducted to determine how the bacterial infection is contracted. Similar to chlamydia and gonorrhea, this bacterial infection is transmitted through unprotected sex, but can often present no symptoms in some patients. The good news for sexually active individuals is that prescription antibiotics, also used as STD medications, like azithromycin or doxycycline can effectively clear MG when used as prescribed.
Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG)
During the study, researchers collected and tested the urine samples of 4,507 sexually active adult men and women, and non-sexually active teens. Out of the participants that were tested, 48 adult women and 24 men tested positive for MG. However, 0 non-sexually active teens tested positive for MG, which provides new evidence that this bacterial infection is transmitted exclusively through sexual intercourse. Researchers also noted that sexually active adult participants who engaged in unsafe sexual behavior, like not using condoms or having multiple sex partners, were more likely to test positive for MG when compared to others.
Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG) Diagnosis and Treatment
MG is similar to chlamydia and gonorrhea in that they are sexually transmitted bacterial infections. However, MG infects the urinary tract, genitals, and surrounding regions, while chlamydia and gonorrhea can infect the mouth, eyes, lips, and anus. It is important to note that MG can present no symptoms in patients who are infected, however this may vary. Like other STIs, MG can increase a patients risk for contracting HIV, which has no cure and is far more difficult and expensive to manage. The most common side effects for women with MG are red and painful irritation of the vagina, painful urination, and bleeding after having sexual intercourse. In men, the symptoms will manifest in the form of watery discharge from the penis, redness and irritation around the penis, and painful urination.
Patients who are diagnosed with MG can treat this sexually transmitted bacterial infection by taking prescription STD antibiotics including drugs like azithromycin or doxycycline. These antibiotics are often used as STD medications for patients that test positive for other STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, but the effectiveness depends on patient adherence to the treatment. Like other antibiotics, it is important that patients take their treatment as directed to avoid developing antibiotic-resistant infections that can complicate the treatment of other health conditions. For more information about STDs and related medications, visit our STD conditions page.