Understanding Mycoplasma Genitalium: What You Need to Know

Introduction: Mycoplasma genitalium, often overlooked in discussions about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), is slowly coming into the spotlight as a significant cause of urogenital diseases. This tiny bacterium, discovered in the 1980s, has been linked to a range of conditions, from urethritis in men to pelvic inflammatory disease in women. This blog post aims to shed light on Mycoplasma genitalium, its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, providing essential information to enhance public awareness and promote sexual health.


What is Mycoplasma Genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium is a small, slow-growing bacterium that infects the urinary and genital tracts of humans. Its size and lack of a cell wall distinguish it from other bacteria, making it a unique challenge in terms of treatment. Initially identified in the early 1980s, Mycoplasma genitalium has been increasingly recognized as a common sexually transmitted infection, albeit less well-known than chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

Symptoms and Complications

without knowing it. When symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • In men: Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), resulting in symptoms such as burning during urination and discharge from the penis.
  • In women: Symptoms may include abnormal vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, and bleeding between periods or after sex, pointing towards conditions like cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix) or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

If left untreated, Mycoplasma genitalium can lead to serious reproductive health complications, such as infertility in women and increased risk of HIV transmission.


Diagnosing Mycoplasma genitalium involves nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), which can detect the bacterium’s genetic material in urine samples or swabs from the genital area. However, due to its relative obscurity and the specificity of testing required, it is not always included in standard STI screening panels. Individuals experiencing symptoms or those with new or multiple sexual partners should request testing from their healthcare provider.


Preventing Mycoplasma genitalium follows the same guidelines as preventing other STIs:

  • Use condoms during sexual intercourse.
  • Limit the number of sexual partners.
  • Engage in regular STI screenings, especially if you have new or multiple partners.


Treatment of Mycoplasma genitalium can be challenging due to its resistance to many common antibiotics. The current guideline suggests a course of antibiotics, typically starting with azithromycin followed by moxifloxacin if the initial treatment fails. Due to the increasing resistance of Mycoplasma genitalium to antibiotics, it’s crucial for healthcare providers to follow the latest treatment protocols and consider resistance testing when available.