The bacterium Ureaplasma Urealyticum affects approximately 70% of sexually active people; both men and women. It is not a very well known STI in the same way that Gential Warts and Chlamydia are but it is one that is easily spread through sexual activity.
If you think you might be suffering from ureaplasma urealyticum, then get in touch and we’ll be happy to arrange a discrete appointment for you.
Ureaplasma Urealyticum, more commonly referred to simply as Ureaplasma, is asymptomatic in the majority of cases; that is that it exhibits no symptoms whatsoever. The problem is that if it goes untreated for a long length of time it can have serious health implications.
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The Causes of Ureaplasma
The underlying cause of Ureaplasma is the Ureaplasma Urealyticum bacterium which is highly contagious and can be transmitted in a number of ways. These include:
- Having unprotected sex with a carrier
- Through saliva
- Via blood transfusion
- By sharing needles
- By air (in rare cases)
Although rare it can also be transmitted by touching an infected person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or if an infected person coughs or sneezes over you.
The common symptom shared by men and women
The most common symptom of Ureaplasma when among both men and women (when symptoms do present themselves) is Urethritis an inflation of the Urethra, the tube that carries urine and sexual fluids.
The Symptoms of Ureaplasma in Women
In addition to the common symptom of Urethritis, when symptoms do present in women they can also include the following:
- Itchiness of the vagina
- Vaginal pain
- Vaginal discharge
- Pain when urinating
- Painful intercourse
Another possible symptom in women is Female Urethral Syndrome, which is also known as Female Prostatitis. This is a very often an undiagnosed symptom but it can also cause pelvic pressure. Although sometimes likened to Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, Ureaplasma does not cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
Ureaplasma is not thought to contribute to infertility but when present in the genitourinary tract in pregnant women it can result in inflammation of the placenta, and may also work its way into the amniotic fluid causing adverse pregnancy conditions, of which one is premature birth.
Ureaplasma and the Foetus
Ureaplasma can also be passed to the foetus “in-utero” or through contact with vaginal secretions during birth. This is however rare with otherwise healthy, full term infants, but infection can result in very low birth weight, and in premature babies can cause Bacteremia, Congenital Pneumonia, Meningitis and in very rare cases, death.
Premature babies with Ureaplasma also are at greater risk of specific complications of prematurity, including Broncho-Pulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), which is a serious chronic lung condition. Young people with BPD may need years of supplemental oxygen treatment and other supportive care.
The Symptoms of Ureaplasma in Men
In addition to the general symptom of Urethritis, when men do display symptoms they can also include:
- An itchy penis
- Pain during urination
- Penile discharge
Ureaplasma is often diagnosed in men who have Epididymitis, a condition whereby the region just behind the testicles (where sperm is stored) becomes inflamed.
Screening for Ureaplasma
Due to the absence of specific symptoms, Ureaplasma is difficult to diagnose. It is often diagnosed by ruling out other causes such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. Specific tests are available for Ureaplasma but due to the complexities of analysis (the test itself is very simple, usually a urine sample or vaginal swab) most NHS clinics do not offer them. However if you choose a good private STI clinic London such as Broadgate Clinic London Wall (where we offer a walk-in service whereby no prior appointment is necessary) you can get tested when it is convenient to do so.
Treatment for a Ureaplasma infection at Broadgate GP
If you do get a positive diagnosis for Ureaplasma, treatment is by way of a prescription of antibiotics. These also can be obtained from the in-house pharmacy at Broadgate’s STI testing Clinic London Wall.