Ureaplasma as an STI

Commonly known as STDs, Sexually Transmitted Diseases are spread by having unsafe sex with someone who is already infected. This can involve anal, oral or vaginal sex. According to a research conducted by the American Social Health Organization, one teenager out of every four adolescents is infected with an STD each year. By the time the younger generation reaches the age of 25, approximately half of this population will be infected.

Contrary to popular belief, STDs are serious diseases and require prompt and proper treatment. If left untreated, these diseases can alter the life of the individual to a tremendous extent. Some of these diseases, like HIV, do not have a cure at all.

What is an ureaplasma infection?

Ureaplasma is one of the smallest bacteria. These free living microorganisms do not have a cell wall and live inside the cells of the host for their own protection. However, they can survive like many viruses, in cultures outside the protection of any cell. On the bright side, these bacteria can be eradicated with certain antibiotics, which is impossible in the case of viruses.

Many people find it frustrating that the NHS will not take Ureaplasma seriously - see this discussion online.

What are the symptoms of an ureaplasma infection?

The symptoms of this infection can be ‘silent’. Their expression and appearance is almost unnoticeable. There may be a few symptoms in a few cases. These include:

ü  Vaginal or penile discharge

ü  Burning sensations while urinating

ü  Changes in urinary frequency

ü  Urgency and pain in urination

What are the parameters for diagnosis?

Some special diagnostic tests and cultures are carried out in the lab, which help in diagnosing ureaplasma infection. Culture tests involve growing the bacteria in special and controlled environment to analyze and identify the microorganisms.

It is important to note that there are various reasons which make it difficult to identify this class of bacteria. The biggest reason is that even after special tests are carried out, these organisms are almost impossible to isolate. Moreover, these tests cannot be carried out by a regular gynecologist or a general practitioner.

Once the organism is isolated and identified, these require high potency antibiotics, which need to be taken strictly as advised by the doctor. The duration of the treatment depends upon the severity of the disease, but mostly these medications have to be taken for more 2 weeks. It is also important for the sufferer to refrain from any sexual activity with an infected person during the course of the treatment.

You can find out more about Ureaplasma and hour to get tested at www.theGUMclinic.com

How to avoid getting infected?

There is no clear cut answer to this question. Sexual contact with a known case of infection has to be avoided at all costs. However, if you or your partner have been diagnosed with a ureaplasma infection, that does not imply infidelity. The microorganism has several ways of entering the human body and sadly, not all of them are known.

The best possible way to steer clear of this infection is to have safe sex and to avoid sexual activity involving any diagnosed cases of ureaplasma.

What are the treatment options?

Antiobiotics such as tetracyclines or macrolides are effectively used against the spread of ureaplasma to different organs inside the human body. It is necessary on the doctor’s part to find out whether the patient has any allergies prior to writing down the prescription. Some people consider engaging in sexual activities to be safe during the course of treatment. This is not true and only increases the risk of the spread of the disease.

The partner of the affected individual is also prescribed antibiotics if they stay sexually active during the course of treatment.

The prescribed antibiotics should be taken strictly as advised. One tablet Doxycycline (100 mg) should be taken orally for 14 days, twice daily. Alternatively, a five day course of Azithromycin may be prescribed but this is usually less effective for female patients.

It is important that confirmatory tests are carried out at the end of treatment to ensure that the organism has been eliminated completely. 

More information about the treatment for Ureaplasma can be found at Pharmacy Meets Public Health.