What is an STI? How bad is an STI to an individual? What are some of the effects of the STI discovered, and how best can it be countered or treated? This article explains how bad the new STI could be harmful to an individual’s sexual health. A new sexually transmitted infection (STI) was recently discovered that might harm your sexual health. Mycoplasma genitalium, or MG, causes similar symptoms to chlamydia and gonorrhea, but it hasn’t been as prevalent in recent years, which has made it easy to ignore its existence. Here’s something you should know about Mycoplasma genitalium: It’s very common and could be harmful to your sexual health if left untreated. The article explains how it works and how one can be infected with it. There Is a New Sexually Transmitted Infection, and It Could Be Affecting Millions It’s rare for public health officials to raise the alarm about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Pereyre et al. (2017) explained that individuals might be surprised to learn that a newly identified disease called Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) could affect millions. It’s called mildly infectious bacteria, and it can spread through all forms of sexual contact, especially through vaginal sex. It causes various common symptoms such as itching, burning, and Discharge. Korich et al. (2020) stated that many people with MG are unaware they have it because its symptoms are similar to other STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhea. They also suggest at least 1 in every 100 Americans may have MG, which translates into 3 million people in the U.S., which is more than previously thought. What Is Mycoplasma Genitalium? According to Baumann et al. (2018), it is a type of bacteria that lives in the mucous epithelial cells of men and women’s urinary and genital tracts and is transmitted through sexual activity. This infection was discovered in the 1980s, and although it might be less common to medical practitioners today, it is becoming more and more serious even though you don’t have sexual penetration in the vagina with your penis (going all the way in), you might still contract it through rubbing or touching the vagina. Signs and Symptoms of Mycoplasma Genitalium. Most people with Mycoplasma genitalium don’t have any symptoms. Campo et al. (2015) explained that if an individual does have, they may include: a burning sensation during urination, urethral Discharge, and painful or frequent urination. Since many of these symptoms are also associated with other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it can be difficult to determine if an individual has MG or a more common STI like Chlamydia or gonorrhea. Some other symptoms might indicate a bacterial infection, like genital itching, pain when urinating, and irritation around your genitals and anus. These additional signs could be indicative of Mg. In men, additional symptoms include watery Discharge from one’s penis and stinging pain when one urinates. In women, symptoms may include Discharge from one’s vagina, bleeding after sexual intercourse, and pain in one’s pelvic area, especially below the belly button. These signs and symptoms might look like other health conditions. For example, they can resemble signs of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), urinary tract infections (UTIs), and yeast infections. A doctor can help you sort through your concerns by taking a medical history and physical exam. Because these symptoms might be hard to notice or absent in an infected person, the infected person might continue having unprotected sexual transmission with their partner continuing the chain of infection further. Who Gets Affected? How Do You Get Mycoplasma Genitalium? Das et al. (2020) explained that it is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sex (vaginal, anal, or oral). The bacteria can also be spread by sharing sex toys, including vibrators. It can also be spread from mother to child during birth if either partner has been infected. Most Mycoplasma genitalium infections occur in young adults between 18 and 25. It’s unclear why people who fall into that age range are most affected, but they tend to be more sexually active than others. They also tend to have a greater number of sexual partners than other age groups, increasing their risk of exposure. While men and women both get Mycoplasma genitalium, it disproportionately affects men because they are more likely to pass it on through unprotected sex with multiple partners. Why Is Mg Dangerous? Since there is still so little known about Mycoplasma genitalium, it’s difficult to measure how harmful it could be to our health. Since Both men and women can contract mg, it might cause more problems than just urinary tract infections. Rahimkhani et al. (2018) explained that Mg could increase a person’s risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and increase their chances of getting pregnant. Although more research needs to be done for us to understand better how harmful Mg is, until then, there are easy ways you can protect yourself against potentially dangerous STIs such as Mg. If Mg is left untreated for long, it may cause Pelvic inflammatory disease, as explained by teh study above, which can then, in turn, cause infertility. It can also cause a swollen urethra in both men and women and an inflamed cervix in women called Cervicitis. All these possibilities show just how much it can be dangerous for Mg to be left untreated because it is hard to notice symptoms, making it a very dangerous disease to contract. It is, therefore, best to prevent infection by using a condom when having sexual intercourse. How Do I Know If I Have Been Affected By Mg? If you have recently had a new sexual partner or have been with your current partner for less than one year and experienced symptoms like Discharge, painful urination, or pain during sex, contact your health care provider. Das et al. (2020) explained that these may be signs of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but it is best to be sure and knows what kind of infection you have. If you have multiple partners or high-risk behavior, it would be best to get tested as soon as possible. Many people who contract Mg do not show any symptoms of having it. The best way to know if you have contracted Mg is by visiting your doctor. However, testing Mg can be tricky as it is possible using modern medicine via nucleic acid amplification testing. Treatment for Mg The good news is that, unlike some other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Mycoplasma genitalium can be easily treated with a 7-day course of antibiotics. However, despite Mg being considered an STI, there are currently no vaccines available to prevent its spread. While it’s important to continue using condoms even if you get treated for Mg, those diagnosed should still consider getting tested again after a few months to ensure they don’t have any lingering symptoms. These might include burning during urination or pain during sex, which could mean you have another STI or that your initial treatment didn’t fully affect you. Conclusion Mycoplasma genitalium, or MG, causes similar symptoms to chlamydia and gonorrhea, but it hasn’t been as prevalent in recent years, which has made it easy to ignore its existence. It’s very common to both males and females and could be harmful to your sexual health if left untreated. Individuals should be cautious about sexual intercourse and use protection for better health. References Baumann, L., Cina, M., Egli-Gany, D., Goutaki, M., Halbeisen, F. S., Lohrer, G. R., … & Low, N. (2018). Prevalence of Mycoplasma genitalium in different population groups: systematic review and meta-analysis. Sexually transmitted infections, 94(4), 255-262. Campos, G. B., Lobão, T. N., Selis, N. N., Amorim, A. T., Martins, H. B., Barbosa, M. S., … & Timenetsky, J. (2015). Prevalence of Mycoplasma genitalium and Mycoplasma hominis in the urogenital tract of Brazilian women. BMC infectious diseases, 15(1), 1-8. Das, K., Garnica, O., Flores, J., & Dhandayuthapani, S. (2020). Methionine sulfoxide reductase A (MsrA) modulates cells and protects against Mycoplasma genitalium-induced cytotoxicity. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 152, 323-335. Korich, F., Reddy, N., & Trent, M. (2020). Mycoplasma genitalium and Trichomonas vaginalis: addressing disparities and promoting public health control of two emerging sexually transmitted infections. Current opinion in pediatrics, 32(4), 482. Pereyre, S., Nadalié, C. L., Bébéar, C., Arfeuille, C., Beby-Defaux, A., Berçot, B., … & Verhoeven, P. (2017). Mycoplasma genitalium and Trichomonas vaginalis in France: a point prevalence study in people screened for sexually transmitted diseases. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 23(2), 122-e1. Rahimkhani, M., Mordadi, A., & Gilanpour, M. (2018). Detection of urinary Chlamydia trachomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium, and human papillomavirus in the first trimester of pregnancy by PCR method. Annals of clinical microbiology and antimicrobials, 17(1), 1-7.