Mycoplasma genitalium and ectopic pregnancy

There has been a lot of discussion in today’s media about a potential new sexually transmitted infection (STI) known as Mycoplasma genitalium or MG.

MG is estimated to affect 1% of 16- to 44-year-olds who report having had at least one sexual partner. Its symptoms are identified as causing discharge, testicular pain, pelvic pain and bleeding after sex in women, although most people have no symptoms at all. It is suggested that the infection could possibly lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which could then create damage to Fallopian tubes and therefore an ectopic pregnancy.

Medical advisers to the EPT have reviewed the research paper that is being discussed. It has nothing about ectopic pregnancy in it. In essence, it says that MG is associated with similar risk factors to other STIs, risky sexual behaviour – and is associated with some symptoms – although the cause is not shown due to the nature of the study. Previous research papers have found no correlation between MG antibodies and ectopic pregnancy.

At the EPT, we think sexual health is important and people should use condoms in relationships where they are not with a long term partner. Ending a sexual relationship with one partner before starting another is beneficial as it reduces the opportunity for the spread of infections.

However, it is important to note that if someone has an ectopic pregnancy having previously had an STI, it does not mean that the STI was definitely the cause of the ectopic pregnancy. In the majority of instances, we still do not know the cause of the ectopic. For any woman who has had an STI, it is impossible to tell if the Fallopian tubes had been affected because the only way we would know would be to remove the tube and examine it to see if there was evidence of scarring associated with the infection.

Many women criticise themselves very heavily if they have an ectopic pregnancy having previously had an STI and sometimes even suggest they ‘deserve it’. This heartbreaks the EPT every time we hear it and wish to assure all women that feel this way that it is not their fault and no one deserves to go through the devastating experience of an ectopic pregnancy.