Ureaplasma urealyticum (UU) is intricately linked to the reproductive health of both men and women. Typically, an infection with Ureaplasma can result in genitourinary tract infections. Ureaplasma stands as the second most significant pathogen in non-gonococcal urethritis, ranking just behind Chlamydia. Its primary mode of transmission is through sexual contact, making it more prevalent among sexually active individuals.
The principal source of infection is often attributed to unsafe sexual intercourse and directly correlates with inflammation in the genitourinary tract. When the mucous membrane surface becomes compromised, Ureaplasma can exploit these lesions, leading to infections in the reproductive and urinary systems.
So, does a positive Ureaplasma require treatment?
In general, Ureaplasma tends not to resolve naturally and usually necessitates intervention. Symptoms may vary, with some individuals experiencing mild discomfort post-infection while others suffer more severe consequences. Male and female patients might exhibit different signs. Timely treatment is advisable for patients displaying the following symptoms:
In male patients, Ureaplasma accounts for 30%-40% of non-Chlamydia and non-gonococcal urethritis cases. It can also lead to conditions like orchitis, epididymitis, chronic prostatitis, and urinary tract stones. In most cases, with active intervention, these conditions can be managed without severe consequences. However, Ureaplasma's ability to adhere to sperm surfaces, impair sperm motility, interfere with sperm-egg binding, and induce immune damage to sperm can result in infertility, a more serious concern that demands attention.
In female patients, Ureaplasma infection can manifest as vaginitis, cervicitis, and non-gonococcal urethritis. Symptoms may include urethral itching, frequent urination, urgency, difficulty urinating, or a feeling of incomplete emptying. Mild urinary discomfort may be present, and some patients may experience thin purulent discharge with an odor in the perineal area. Active treatment typically helps avert severe consequences. However, when Ureaplasma infects pregnant women, the situation can be more critical. Ureaplasma can traverse the placenta, leading to spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, stillbirth, low birth weight, and other complications.
Therefore, timely treatment is crucial. Treatment options may include macrolide antibiotics such as azithromycin, erythromycin, and roxithromycin, typically administered over about a week. The specific dosage should be determined based on the patient's condition under a doctor's guidance. In addition to antibiotics, patients can also explore herbal remedies like Diuretic and Anti-inflammatory Pills for treatment. Female patients with gynecological issues may consider herbal medicine such as Fuyan Pill as an option.
However, many Ureaplasma-infected individuals find that the infection recurs even after treatment. Why does this happen?
1. Inadequate Follow-Up Examinations
One significant reason for recurrent Ureaplasma infection is incomplete treatment. While individuals may adhere to their medication regimen, they often struggle to follow through with the recommended follow-up examinations. It's vital to conduct a follow-up examination 2-4 weeks after medication and, in most cases, another follow-up examination three months later to confirm complete clearance of the infection. Ureaplasma has a high recurrence rate, and incomplete treatment can lead to reinfection after some time.
2. Lack of Treatment for Both Partners
Ureaplasma infection can affect both men and women, but physiological factors may make men less symptomatic. However, Ureaplasma primarily spreads through sexual contact. Even if men aren't severely affected, untreated infections can lead to cross-infection and recurrent infections in females. Therefore, when Ureaplasma infection is detected, it's advisable for both partners to receive simultaneous treatment and follow-up examinations.
3. Mixing Laundry
Many people wash their clothes together, regardless of gender or age, which can be a significant factor in cross-infection for various diseases, including Ureaplasma. This bacterium can be transmitted through contaminated clothing. Carelessness in this regard can result in others becoming carriers, making complete cure challenging.
4. Excessive Concern
While Ureaplasma infection can impact women's health, increasing the risk of infertility and miscarriage, active treatment usually leads to a high cure rate, minimizing the need for excessive worry. However, some individuals become overly focused on Ureaplasma, practicing excessive cleanliness. This can disrupt vaginal flora balance, increasing the chances of recurrent Ureaplasma infections. Moreover, excessive concern can affect mood, causing undue stress or low mood, impacting the body's immune response and complicating recovery.
5. Neglecting Personal Hygiene
Though Ureaplasma isn't caused by bacteria or viruses, neglecting personal hygiene and creating changes in the body's internal environment can facilitate Ureaplasma proliferation, raising the likelihood of infection. Paying attention to personal hygiene, changing clothes frequently, and avoiding cross-infection are essential practices.
If you find yourself frequently experiencing Ureaplasma infections, it's vital to assess potential causes and make necessary adjustments promptly.