How does mycoplasma genitalium affect female fertility?

On the occasion of the World Sexual Health Day we analyse this disease caused by a superbug that can lead to female infertility

Fertility problems are some probable consequences of suffering certain Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). Among them we find mycoplasma genitalium, transmitted by the same name bacteria, mycoplasma genitalium, that can cause a pelvic inflammatory disease that can damage the fallopian tubes, as it happens in other known STDs, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.

How is it transmitted?

The contagion of Mycoplasma genitalium can happen during sexual intercourse: vaginal, oral or anal without a condom or through sexual toys, hands or fingers that have touched the genitalia or the anus of an infected person.

That is why the main recommendation to avoid it, as in any other Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), is to practice safe sex.

Also worth taking into account that mycoplasma genitalium is a silent STD. Since most of infected people do not have any symptoms, they can be infected and infect many others during many years without even being conscious of this fact.

How can it be detected?

Apart from infecting other people, if the disease is not treated promptly it can put at risk the woman’s future motherhood.

In order to check if there is infection, urine and vaginal discharge samples should be taken, and a specific analysis carried out. If the disease is detected, the treatment will consist of antibiotics. In order to review the damage on the fallopian tubes an imaging examination should be carried out.

What are mycoplasmas?

They are the smallest germs with an independent life capacity. Since they are prokaryotic microorganisms surrounded by a membrane but with no cell wall, they have a resistance to antibiotics, which usually act on their wall. Furthermore, they have a much-reduced genome that hinders its biosynthesis and its culture in the laboratory.

Apart from the Mycoplasma genitalium, other pathogen mycoplasmas for the human being are the Mycoplasma pneumoniae, that causes respiratory infections and the Mycoplasma hominis and the Ureaplasma urealyticum, that cause urinary infections.