The common STI you've probably never heard of.


Left untreated, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause serious health problems.

That’s why being diligent about your sexual health and practising safer sex are essential for maintaining your overall health. There are some STIs that are more common than others. And, while you may not have heard of it, mycoplasma genitalium is an STI that is commonly diagnosed around the world.

In this article, we’re taking a look at what mycoplasma genitalium is and how to protect yourself from this STI.

What Is Mycoplasma Genitalium?

Mycoplasma genitalium is an STI that can cause inflammation of the urinary and genital tracts. This can occur in both sexes. Mycoplasma genitalium can be transmitted through unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse.

The inflammation caused by this STI can make the genitals more susceptible to other STIs.

Mycoplasma genitalium causes urethritis in people with penises and cervicitis in people with vaginas. This STI is also associated with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can cause preterm delivery, abortion and tubal infertility.

An “Emerging Issue” in the US.

The rates of mycoplasma genitalium are relatively low in developed countries at 1% to 3%. Rates of this STI, however, are typically higher in people who are currently seeking treatment for other STIs. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mycoplasma genitalium was considered an “emerging issue” in 2015. More recent studies have sounded the alarm about this relatively common – but often asymptomatic – infection.


Because some patients with mycoplasma genitalium are asymptomatic, they can spread this STI to their partners without knowing it. In the United Kingdom, the disease has an estimated rate of infection of 1 in every 100 women. The rate of infection is much lower in the United States. While the rates of infection are relatively high in the UK, it doesn’t mean the disease wasn’t necessarily present before. It could just mean health professionals haven’t been looking for it in STI tests until recent years.

Are There Screening & Prevention Guidelines?

There are currently no formal guidelines for the screening and prevention of mycoplasma genitalium. Mycoplasma genitalium is only detectable through nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), which starts with a urine test or vaginal swab.

What Are the Symptoms of Mycoplasma Genitalium?

The symptoms of mycoplasma genitalium in people with penises include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate often
  • Painful intercourse and/or ejaculation
  • Discharge from the penis.

The symptoms of mycoplasma genitalium in people with vaginas include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vaginal pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate often
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Burning when urinating
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina (after intercourse, after menopause or between periods).

This post was originally written on Kinkly by Nicola Smith, and was republished with full permission. You can read the original post here.