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Home / STIs / Ureaplasma Urealyticum

Ureaplasma Urealyticum

Causes, symptoms and treatment options for ureaplasma

Ureaplasma urealyticum is a urinary tract infection that can be transmitted via sexual contact, although it is not considered an STI. Ureaplasma is also often asymptomatic.

As this condition is a bacterial infection, it is treatable. To order treatment today, start a free consultation below.

Content reviewed on 29-08-20
Dr. Sarah Donald Clinical Lead MBChB MRCGP DFSRH DRCOG (GMC Reg: 6099482)

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  • Second-line treatment for STIs
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  • Used to treat chlamydia, NSU and ureaplasma
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What is ureaplasma urealyticum?

Ureaplasma urealyticum is a very common infection that is mainly spread via sexual contact, however, it isn't classified as an STI but a bacterial infection.

Ureaplasma urealyticum is a genital mycoplasma that colonises the genital tract and produces infection. The infection itself is highly contagious and can be linked to the contraction of other STIs making it important to get a full check up.

The symptoms for this condition aren't necessarily noticeable, which therefore means that many individuals with ureaplasma don't realise they are infected. This make it important to get tested for bacterial infections spread by sexual contact to avoid spreading it further. It is essential to treat ureaplasma, regarding of whether you have any symptoms, for the following reasons:

  • Reduced risk of further health problems such as infertility and meningitis.
  • Psychological issues associated with STIs such as anxiety and stress.

What are the symptoms of ureaplasma?

Symptoms in ureaplasma

Ureaplasma is often characterised as 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. If symptoms do appear, these can be very similar symptoms to urethritis, other STIs and infections.

Venereological patients (those involved in the study of STIs) are often diagnosed with ureaplasma.

Ureaplasma in men

Ureaplasma is often diagnosed in men with epididymitis (a condition in which the area behind the testicle where sperm is stored is inflamed).

  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Slow urination
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Urethral discharge

Ureaplasma in women

Ureaplasma is often diagnosed alongside 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.

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Unusual discharge
  • Pain during urination (dysuria)
  • Lower abdominal pains
  • Pain from the vagina
  • Unusual odour

Another symptom of ureaplasma include urethrorrhoea (the flow of blood from the urethra). Some women may experience chronic cystitis or other similar urinary tract infections (UTIs).

What's the difference between ureaplasma urealyticum and mycoplasma genitalium

Ureaplasma and mycoplasma are often connected to each other. The reason is that they are caused by different bacterium from the same mycoplasma family.

Mycoplasma is responsible for hundreds of types of bacteria, however, some can causes infections; two of which are ureaplasma urealyticum and mycoplasma genitalium. Other infections include mycoplasma pneumonia, mycoplasma hominis and ureaplasma parvum.

Both infections require the same antibiotics to treat and cure the infection. It is also common for both bacterial infections to present no symptoms whatsoever. It comes as no surprise that they are often intertwined.

  • Both ureaplasma and mycoplasma are commonly found in the reproductive tract.
  • Both can be treated completely, often with doxycycline and azithromycin.

What are the 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 (vaginal sex and oral sex). Other causes can include:

  • Saliva
  • Blood (including transfusions)
  • Air
  • Needles

It's important to remember that other bacterial STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea can also result in ureaplasma and other infections. As infections in the reproductive area causes scarring and damage, especially when untreated, this makes it easier for you to contract a host of other sexual infections. Getting a full STI check-up when needed is essential in stopping the spread of infections and avoiding long-term complications.

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.

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 and other STIs. 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.

To find your nearest STI Clinic, you can check the NHS website. There is usually a wait so be sure to take a book or other entertainment. The whole process is confidential and the clinic will contact you via email, phone or text depending on your preference.

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.

How can ureaplasma be prevented?

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.

There are two types of antibiotics usually prescribed that completely cure ureaplasma in most cases. Doxycycline is usually taken as first line treatment and Azithromycin as second line treatment.

If you are unsure which treatment to go for, that's absolutely fine; begin a consultation and our doctor will recommend the best antibiotics for you. This whole process takes around ten minutes and you can receive your order the next day.

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.

Taking a consultation online

If you test positive for ureaplasma, you can buy antibiotics online. As they are prescription medications, it's required to complete a consultation reviewed by a medical professional. You can do this here with our quick, free and simple online consultation.

  • Once you have completed the online consultation, our doctor will thoroughly assess and determine which treatments are best suited for you.
  • When you've made your choice, a prescription will be issued straight to the pharmacy and will dispatch your medication for next day delivery.
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