What is Mycoplasma?
Mycoplasma is a bacteria that can typically infect the genitals, urinary tracts, rectums and lungs of both men and women. It is thought that up to 2% of all adults are infected with the Mycoplasma genitalium bacteria.
Although Mycoplasma is considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it has also been found in normal, healthy genital tracts. It is not clear yet how Mycoplasma affects the body and its method of treatment is not yet standardised.
How can I catch Mycoplasma?
Mycoplasma is transmitted mainly through unprotected vaginal or anal sex and less likely through oral sex. It is most common in smokers, those with multiple sexual partners, young people of both sexes and older age groups of men.
In men, Mycoplasma can infect the inside lining of the penis (urethra).
In women, Mycoplasma can infect the neck of the womb (cervix), the womb (uterus) and fallopian tubes.
In the UK, 7% of men who have sex with men have Mycoplasma. Those who are HIV positive are significantly more likely to have Mycoplasma than their HIV-negative counterparts. On the other hand, 3% of young women in the UK have Mycoplasma.
What are the symptoms and signs of Mycoplasma in men and women?
Mycoplasma infection does not usually have any symptoms and often goes unnoticed. However, when symptoms appear, they can be different for men and women.
In women, symptoms include:
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pain during sex
- Lower pelvic pain
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Bleeding between periods.
In men, symptoms include:
- Pain on urinating
- Discharge from the urethra (the duct through which urine passes out of the penis)
- Penile irritation and pain.
Did you know? …
Mycoplasma is a common STI which can lead to the same health complications as Chlamydia if left untreated. Click here to see the full article.
How can Mycoplasma be tested/checked?
If you or your sexual partners had, or suspect that you had, a Mycoplasma infection in the past six months, you should have a sexual health check, even if you are showing no symptoms.
The standard Better2Know test for Mycoplasma requires only a urine sample, with results available as soon as five working days after receipt of your sample. Better2Know can also test for Mycoplasma easily, quickly and painlessly as part of our Comfort Screen, Full Screen or Platinum Screen.
What are the risks if Mycoplasma is left untreated?
If left untreated, Mycoplasma infections can lead to complications in men and women.
In women, the infection can be associated with:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which, in turn, can damage the fallopian tubes and cause fertility problems
- Sexually associated reactive arthritis (arthritis triggered by infection)
- Premature birth
In men, the infection can be associated with:
- Sexually associated reactive arthritis
- Pain and swelling of the testicles because of inflammation of the epididymitis (the tube that stores sperm).
What if I test positive for Mycoplasma?
Mycoplasma is treated and cured with a course of specific antibiotics. If you test positive for Mycoplasma, Better2Know will provide you with a prescription. You can choose whether to access treatment through your Better2Know doctor, or take your results to your own GP or local GUM clinic. Your choice of clinician will be able to prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic for you.
Once the treatment has been received, you are advised to abstain from any sexual activity for at least two weeks to avoid passing the bacterium on to your sexual partner. You may wish to consider having a repeat test at the end of your treatment to check that the infection has completely cleared. You should also contact your previous partners to notify them about your result as he/she may also need to get tested.
If you have tested positive for Mycoplasma using a home sample collection test, we can arrange a private doctor’s consultation for you. Your doctor will receive a copy of your results, discuss your diagnosis with you and prescribe you the appropriate antibiotic. Phone us on the number at the top of the page to book your GP appointment.
Book your Mycoplasma test
Better2Know is the world’s leading provider of private sexual health testing services. We will arrange a clinic appointment or home testing kit quickly, and deliver fast and accurate results for your peace of mind. If you have any concerns about your sexual health, please contact us or call our friendly booking team on the number above.