Written on August 23, 2023 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH, Sexuality Educator & Certified Sexologist. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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You may be wondering what is Mgen and how is it treated? Mgen (Mycoplasma genitalium) is an STD that can cause infection in all genders. Mgen can infect the cervix, inside the penis (the urethra), or the rectum. Mgen can be transmitted when having vaginal or anal sex without a condom by someone who has the infection. It's still being determined if can be spread Mgen through oral sex.
More scientifically, M. genitalium is a bacterium that is sexually transmitted and causes infections of the urinary tract, penile urethra, or cervix. It results in symptomatic or asymptomatic urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) and can contribute to cervicitis (inflammation of the cervical tissues), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), preterm delivery, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), and infertility.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2017-2018, it is estimated that Mgen occurs in 1.7% of people between the ages of 14 and 59, and prevalence is similar when comparing those assigned male at birth versus those assigned female at birth (1.8% versus 1.7%).[1,2]
However, among men with urethritis who received care in select STI clinics, 28.7% were positive for Mgen. Among women with urethritis at one Seattle clinic, 26% were infected with Mgen. Another study estimates an incidence of about 10.3% and also posits that Mgen is more common between the ages of 15 to 24 than in people between 35 to 39.
The risk of Mgen was higher, in this study, in Black participants compared to White participants, and higher also in non-Hispanic participants compared to their non-Hispanic counterparts. Another study found the prevalence of Mgen among men who identify as gay and bisexual and in other men who have sex with men (MSM). They also found that urethral and rectal Mgen infections were more common than pharyngeal infections.
A person with Mgen can transmit the infection to someone else even when they are asymptomatic (or have no symptoms).
Some common symptoms that may be noticeable include vaginal discharge, a burning sensation when urinating, and/or discharge from the penis.
A person often may not know that they have a sexually transmitted infection like Mgen if and when they do not have symptoms—that’s why it is important to get tested regularly, when appropriate.
In the case of Mgen, testing is simple, fast, and easy—a healthcare provider may request a urine sample or they may swab the vagina or cervix (or have you perform a self-swab). You should consult a healthcare provider if your partner has an STD or symptoms of one. Some symptoms of an STD to watch out for are an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when peeing, pain/bleeding after sex, and bleeding between periods.
Mgen is a bacterial infection, so antibiotics can cure it. It is important to take all of the medicine to treat the infection. Do not share medicine for Mgen with anyone. Your sex partner(s) should also be tested and treated if needed. When taken properly, treatment will stop the infection and can decrease your chances of having future problems. The medicine will stop the infection, but will not undo any permanent damage caused by the disease.
Similar to other sexually transmitted infections, like gonorrhea, there is an increasing amount of drug-resistant strains. This is a result of incomplete courses of treatment, making the infection stronger, in a sense.
Everlywell offers access to STI treatment online via telehealth appointment so you can meet and discuss any STI concerns with a healthcare provider (and receive treatment as applicable). Depending on your insurance, you pay between $10 and $60. Many major insurance plans are accepted.
If your test results come back abnormal, you will be connected to our national independent physician network to receive the appropriate treatment.