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Innermost Secrets / Innermost Living / Body Clock
Skip Navigation LinksMycoplasma
Page modified at: 21/02/2010

MycoplasmaMycoplasma genitalium and Ureaplasama Urealyticum are sexually transmitted bacterial infections and both men and women can become infected.
Mycoplasma  eand Ureaplasma are relative “new” sexually transmitted infection and were first identified in the1980s. Mycoplasma has surpassed N.gonorrhoea in prevalence among young adults in the USA and Ureaplasma is the commonest cause of nongonococcal and nonchlamydial urethritis.
 
 The prevalence for both conditions is thought  to be too low for population based screening but for male and fe

male patients presenting with symptoms there is compelling evidence to investigate for Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma  in cases of non-specific urethritis and cervicitis.

 
How are Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma spread?
Mycoplasma is usually passed from one person to another during vaginal, oral or anal sex, or by sharing sex toys.  Detection of M.genitalium by PCR in male non-gonococcal urethritis has been well documented.  Interestingly, there is also a high fold increased risk of urethritis that persists after successful eradication of laboratory confirmed chlamydial and gonococcal infection (ie post-chlamydial/gonococcal as opposed to non-chlamydial/gonococcal) is significantly associated with M.genitalium and Ureaplasma urealyticum.  Testing men who are symptomatic but who have non-gonococcal urethritis, persistent infection and recurrent symptoms after treatment, or for complications such as epididymitis and prostatitis - and for women with genital tract symptoms, genital discharge, pelvic pain and intermenstrual bleeding is reasonable.
 
How do I reduce the risk of catching Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma?
Male and female condoms, when used correctly, can help protect against STIs
Before you have sex, talk to your partner about using condoms
Use condoms every time you have vaginal or anal sex
If you have oral sex, use a dam
 
How do I reduce the risk of passing Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma on to others?
Testing and treating (if appropriate) all sexual contacts helps to prevent the infection being passed on to others. The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual contact or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.  
Avoiding alcohol and drug use may also help prevent transmission of Mycoplasma or Ureaplasma because these activities may lead to risky sexual behavior. It is important that sex partners talk to each other about their HIV status and history of other STDs so that preventive action can be taken.
Transmission of an STD, including syphilis cannot be prevented by washing the genitals, urinating, and/or douching after sex. Any unusual discharge, sore, or rash, particularly in the groin area, should be a signal to refrain from having sex and to see a doctor immediately.
 
What are the symptoms of Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma?
 
Women might notice:

    * Nothing – many are silent
    * Unusual vaginal discharge
    * Bleeding between periods or during or after sex
    * Pain with sex or when passing urine
    * Lower abdominal pain

Men might notice:

    * Nothing – many are silent
    * Men with Mycoplasma often have urethritis and it is also detected in epididymitis and prostatitis.
    * Men with Ureaplasama often have urethritis with pain passing urine, urethral discharge, swelling of the opening of the penis (meatus)
    * Pain when passing urine or painful testicles
 
What happens if Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma isn't treated?
Without treatment, the infection can spread to other parts of the body causing damage and long-term health problems, including infertility. Upper genital tract infection in women can be caused by M.genitalium  by attachment to human spermatozoa.   
 
In women, Mycoplasma can cause urethritis, cervicitis and pelvic inflammatory disease. This can lead to:

    * Ectopic pregnancy (when a pregnancy develops outside the womb, usually in the fallopian tube)
    * Blocked fallopian tubes (the tubes that carry the egg from ovary to womb) - causing infetrtility
    * Long-term pelvic pain

In men, Mycoplasma can lead to painful infection in the testicles, persistent urethritis and possibly reduced fertility.
 
How can I reduce the risk of catching Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma?
Practising safer sex reduces the risk of infection with Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma
 
How do I reduce the risk of passing Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma on to others?
Testing and treating (if appropriate) all sexual contacts helps to prevent the infection being passed on to others.
 
How do I get testing or treatment for Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma?
If you think you might have Mycoplasma or Ureaplasma it's important to be tested quickly.
 
NHS:Testing is free on the NHS from genitourinary medicine clinics, sexual health clinics, many contraception clinics, your GP and pharmacies. You can find an clinic to help with Mycoplasma by phoning directory enquiries and asking for genitourinary medicine, sexually transmitted disease or venereal disease or locate one using our NHS Genitourinary Medicine Clinic page in the Sexual Health Section of our website.
 
PRIVATE:Alternatively you can have confidential private testing based on an internet ordered urine home sample kit.   Telephone   0345 2303386 or use the Confidential Text Service 07786202070

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