Signs & Symptoms of Ureaplasma
Ureaplasma are a group of tiny bacteria that can commonly be found in the urinary and genital tracts of men and women. The most clinically relevant type of Ureaplasma species is Ureaplasma Urealyticum, which can cause urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) in men, and bacterial vaginosis in women.
These infections may have few or no symptoms at all for many people, and may only get picked up on routine STD screening or when an individual presents with symptoms from another infection such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea. For those who develop symptoms directly from a Ureaplasma infection, common presentations would be with pain or burning on passing urine, penile discharge or vaginal discharge, or pelvic/genital discomfort. As their name suggests, these bacteria also hydrolyse urea to produce ammonia, which can result in a strong or unpleasant odour as well.
How is Ureaplasma transmitted?
Ureaplasma is predominantly transmitted through sexual contact (vaginal, anal, and oral sex). However, it is not typically classified as an STD due to its relatively low degree of pathogenicity (ability to cause disease). Although many infections may be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, there are still risks for complications including pelvic inflammatory disease and epididymo-orchitis. Studies have also found associations with complications in pregnancy such as preterm labour, as well as infertility in both men and women. As Ureaplasma infection can cause inflammation of the mucous membrane, it can also increase the risk of transmission of other STDs and is commonly found to cause co-infections.
Testing for Ureaplasma can be done with urine samples or swab tests, and would generally be detected through special cultures or through PCR testing. It would not be detected through a normal bacterial culture for non-STD infections. Treatment of Ureaplasma would generally be a course of oral antibiotics and of course, partner testing and treatment would be recommended as well. – STD Testing in Singapore