Mycoplasma

Relatively little is known about Mycoplasma genitalium, the STD is considered ‘new’. Mycoplasma is mainly tested when someone tests negative for Chlamydia but has persistent complaints. Research shows that this STD is common, more common than Gonorrhoea, for example. You often don’t get any symptoms from Mycoplasma, and complications are rare.

Relatively little is known about Mycoplasma genitalium, the STD is considered ‘new’. Mycoplasma is mainly tested when someone tests negative for Chlamydia but has persistent complaints. Research shows that this STD is common, more common than Gonorrhoea, for example. You often don’t get any symptoms from Mycoplasma, and complications are rare.

What is Mycoplasma?

Mycoplasma genitalium causes inflammation in the ureters, cervix and fallopian tubes. It has also been found in the throat and rectum. It was discovered as a bacterial infection in the 1980s. We now know that it concerns a condition that is passed on through unprotected sex. Many people do not know that they carry the STD because they have no complaints. But they can still infect others.

How do you get Mycoplasma?

Mycoplasma is sexually transmitted and can be contracted with oral, genital and anal sex. The transmission route is identical to that of Chlamydia. A condom prevents this STD.

Did you know? As with Chlamydia, many do not notice anything of Mycoplasma. It is estimated that 90% of men do not notice it. In women, about 50% experience no symptoms.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Mycoplasma genitalium are very similar to those of Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea. It is often assumed you have contracted one of those two STDs, because the Mycoplasma genitalium infection is difficult to trace. The following complaints can occur after infection. Possible symptoms are:

  • Inflammation of the ureter
  • Pain when urinating
  • Inflammation of the cervix and vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal or penile discharge
  • Pain during sex
  • Testicular pain

Nine out of ten men have no complaints after being infected. In women, slightly more than half of the women develop no symptoms.

What are the risks?

Little is known about possible complications that occur when this STD is not treated. Without treatment, infections can come back repeatedly. It may increase the risk of spontaneous abortion or premature birth in pregnant women.

Chance of infection

Mycoplasma is considered a relatively new STD. A lot of data is therefore still missing. But the probability of transmissibility is estimated to be the same as Chlamydia. This equates to 45%.

Test yourself?

Testing for Mycoplasma is only recommended if you tested negative for Chlamydia but still have symptoms. The STD rarely leads to complications and therefore testing is not always advisable.

Testing for Mycoplasma is easy. You can perform an STD test for Mycoplasma at home. You can do the test with urine or a smear. You can take the test as late as 28 days after you had unsafe sex for the last time. We call this the incubation period. The test looks for the Mycoplasma bacterium in the body material. If that bacterium is found, you test positive and you need to be treated. If you test negative, there is nothing to worry about. Remember that you are not building up immunity!

Mycoplasma is often discovered during an additional examination, after someone has tested positive for Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea. Or, for example, if a treatment doesn’t work. The PCR technique is used for testing. This makes it possible to trace hard-to-detect bacteria more quickly. Testing is done on body material obtained from urine in the case of men or from a swab in the case of women.

Treatment

Treatment is only given in the event of complaints and if an infection can be traced. This STD can be treated with the antibiotic azithromycin, although the bacterium seems to be becoming increasingly resistant to this medicine. Therefore, moxifloxacin may also be prescribed.

Approved by M.D. Annelies Lucas

General practitioner and medical director. Worked as a general practitioner for 25 years, obtained a PhD at the University of Maastricht and was the medical director of Diagnostiek voor U from 2011 to 2020.

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