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Ureaplasma Urealyticum

Causes, symptoms and treatment options for ureaplasma

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Dr Hilary Jones discusses ureaplasma urealyticum and the treatments available at HealthExpress

Ureaplasma urealyticum is a bacterium that affects about 70% of sexually active men and women. Although it is not considered as an STI, ureaplasma can be transmitted through sexual contact. Ureaplasma often carries no symptoms whatsoever, and most people may never experience any problems at all.

Luckily Ureaplasma is a bacterial infection and completely treatable. This page provides you with the more information as to causes, symptoms and help in order to treat the condition, safely, and effectively. Alternatively, if you just need medication, click below to start your quick no obligation, free consultation.

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What is ureaplasma urealyticum?

Ureaplasma urealyticum is a very common bacterial infection, which is mostly spread via sexual contact. However it isn't classified as an STI, but instead, is referred to as a bacterial infection.

Ureaplasma urealyticum is a genital mycoplasma that colonises the genital tract and produces infection. The infection itself is highly contagious, and is spread by blood, saliva, needles, and air. The symptoms for this condition aren't necessarily noticeable, which therefore means that many individuals with ureaplasma, don't realise they are infected.

Causes of ureaplasma

The principal cause of ureaplasma is the result of the spread of an infectious agent by an infected person to their partner through sexual contact, saliva, blood transfusions, air, needles or blood.

Ureaplasma is extremely contagious, and is most often spread through sexual contact and unprotected sex with multiple partners. In more extreme cases, you can become infected if you touch an infected person's nose or eye secretions, or if an infected person coughs in your face.

What are the symptoms of ureaplasma?

Ureaplasma is often characterised by urethritis in men and genital tract infections in women. Ureaplasma is also often asymptomatic in many cases and the majority of infected people may not even realise they have the condition. Ureaplasma is often diagnosed in men with epididymitis (a condition in which the area behind the testicle where sperm is stored is inflamed) and venereological patients (people involved in the study of STIs).

Ureaplasma has similar symptoms to urethritis and chorioamnionitis (an infection of the vagina due to a bacterial infection, often occurring during pregnancy), especially when there is a rapid expansion of the infection. These symptoms include redness and inflammation, an unusual genital discharge, and pain during urination.

Other symptoms of ureaplasma include lower abdominal pains, urethrorrhoea (the flow of blood from the urethra), and dysuria (painful urination).

How can I get tested for ureaplasma?

If you are displaying any of the symptoms listed above, then you should book an appointment with your GP or a sexual health clinic, where they will be able to test you for ureaplasma. An early diagnosis means that you can get treatment straightaway, which will reduce your chances of complications like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or infection in the testicles.

Testing is different for men and women. For women, a swab will be taken from the cervix or vagina as part of an internal assessment. Men will be tested by means of a urine sample.

Benefits of treating ureaplasma

There are a variety of benefits that can be experienced when treating ureaplasma.

  • The risk of further health problems, such as infertility and meningitis, are avoided
  • Sexual confidence will improve
  • Partner's sexual confidence will also improve
  • Fertility won't be harmed
  • Sexual performance and experience will be enhanced
  • Psychological issues associated with STIs, such as anxiety and stress, will be avoided

What are the risks of ureaplasma?

Although ureaplasma can easily be treated, it can stay unrecognised for months because it rarely shows any symptoms. It's been found that, if left untreated, ureaplasma can be associated with infertility, premature or still birth, non-specific urethritis, chorioamnionitis, meningitis and pneumonia. If ureaplasma has been left untreated for several months, it can spread to other parts of your body and damage your joints, nerves and muscles. As mentioned, ureaplasma can be effectively treated, ensuring that these health problems can be successfully avoided.

Prevention for ureaplasma

Ureaplasma is a completely avoidable condition, and can be prevented by adhering to the following methods:

  • Use male or female condoms – this is the safest and most recommended option to prevent ureaplasma in the most effective, and safest way possible
  • Minimise the number of your current sexual partners
  • Avoid sharing sex toys – if sex toys are shared, ensure they are cleaned and covered with a condom
  • Attend regular STI screenings, and encouraging your partner(s), to prevent the infection from being passed on

What treatment options do we offer for ureaplasma?

At this current moment in time, the only method available to effectively treat ureaplasma is prescription medication. A simple course of antibiotics can be used to successfully treat this condition.

Doxycycline is usually taken as a week-long course to treat ureaplasma. However, Azithromycin is taken as a single dose treatment, although it may take up to seven days for the infection to be entirely treated. You have a higher chance of successfully treating the infection if you start a course of antibiotics straight away. Even if your symptoms disappear before you finish your course of antibiotics, you should always ensure you take the full course, to prevent the infection from returning.

If you test positive for ureaplasma, we recommend that you take our quick, free and simple online consultation, to determine which prescription treatment is right for you. Once you have completed the online consultation, our UK registered doctor will thoroughly assess your condition, and determine which treatments are best suited for you. When you've made your choice, a prescription will be issued and our pharmacy will dispatch your medication for next day (or same day, for all London postcodes) delivery.

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