Ureaplasma is not a disease. It is a conditionally pathogenic bacterium. That means it may reside in people and cause no disease.
Ureaplasma lives inside vagina in 30% of women. Many experts consider it as normal vaginal flora and it gives neither benefits nor harm.
Detection of ureaplasma and mycoplasma (same-family germ) in the vagina is rarely associated with risk to pregnancy problems and infertility. There has been an assumption that, ureaplasma may make complicated many diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria, though that has not yet been proved.
Ureaplasmosis is an inflammatory disease in urinary tract caused by ureaplasma. It is a sexually transmitted diseases – mother may pass it to her baby during labour.
In men, usually, ureaplasmosis causes non-gonococcal urethritis. Cloudy urethral discharges present often after a long delay in urination. They can be intermittently present and absent. With a background of dormant urethritis a patient may develop epididymitis – inflammation of epididymis and testis. This may lead to infertility.
In women, often, vaginal discharges with frequent and painful urination are present. Ureaplasma is often found in bacterial vaginosis. It may lead to infertility.
Remarkably, the manifestations of this disease often resembles the ones of other infections, for example chlamydia. Both ureaplasma and mycoplasma most often co-exist with other microbes. Therefore, symptoms may be not caused by ureaplasma, but other pathogens. Successful treatment from chlamydiosis may keep ureaplasma at bay.
Thus, the essence includes:
- If nothing disturbs you, there is no reason to get tested for ureaplasma
- If it has been found by accident or in purpose and you have no inflammatory processes, there is no reason to get worried
- If inflammatory processes are present, you should seek for the reason. However, you should malign ureaplasma and mycoplasma in the latest turn when all the other reasons are excluded. When ureaplasma and mycoplasma has been proved as the only causative agent of inflammation, ureaplasmosis or mycoplasmosis may be diagnosed.
Swab does not tell the full reason. It may only raise a suspicion of ureaplasma. More precise methods are used to detect a pathogen. They may be a culture test or a PCR (polymerase chain reaction). The ureaplasma is to be considerably more in number then other germs. PCR is one of the most reliable and certain ways to detect a causative agent on the basis of presence of its DNA in the sample.