What is Ureaplasma?
Ureaplasma is a bacterium which causes urethritis (inflammation of the kidneys). Urethritis affects approximately 1 out of every 10 men over the age of 50 years. It usually begins with pain in the lower back and progresses to kidney failure. The disease can be prevented if patients take antibiotics daily for 3 months before they undergo dialysis. If not treated, the risk of death increases up to 90%.
How does it infect me?
The organism lives in the body where it can cause inflammation of the kidneys. When there is inflammation in these organs, blood flow becomes blocked and urine production decreases. The patient may experience shortness of breath or even collapse from exhaustion. This condition is called acute renal failure (ARF) and can occur at any time during life. ARF is one of the leading causes of death among persons aged 65 years and older.
When does it start?
It starts when someone consumes food contaminated with the organism. However, some cases have been reported after contact with contaminated water or soil.
Is it contagious? Is it spread through casual contact? Can I catch it from my mother or sister?
The organism is spread through contaminated food (both animal and plant sources). It is not spread by coughing or sneezing. It is not spread by casual contact, such as shaking hands or kissing. It is not spread from mother to infant during birth or from contact with a woman’s genital tract. It is not spread from sexual contact.
How do you get it?
Can you get it from food?
Yes, you can get it from food.
What kind of food?
Lettuce, milk, bacon, and lamb.
Why does it happen?
The organism is acquired by eating contaminated food.
Can the food be cooked to prevent infection?
There is no evidence that cooking food prevents ureaplasma infection.
Does it float around in the air?
No, it does not appear to float around in the air.
Can I get it from my mother or sister?
No, you cannot get it from your mother or sister.
Can I give it to my girlfriend by having sexual contact with her?
No, you cannot give it to your girlfriend by having sexual contact with her.
Are some people more at risk than others?
No, everyone is at risk.
How do you know if you have it?
You may have no symptoms. But if you do, they may include fever and chills, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, painful urination, and pain in the lower back.
The symptoms are different from one person to another.
What should you do if you think you have it?
See your healthcare provider.
Does it show up in blood tests?
Yes, it shows up in blood tests.
Can a doctor tell just by looking at you?
A healthcare provider may be able to tell just by looking at you.
How is it treated?
Antibiotics, rest, and increased water intake.
Does everyone get better?
Most people get better, but some people have a relapse.
Does it come back again?
Some people have a relapse.
Does it ever go away completely?
Most people recover completely.
If you have ureaplasma, can you still donate blood?
No, you cannot donate blood.
Does it show up on standard tests for urine?
Yes, it may show up on standard urine tests.
Does it show up on standard tests for stool?
Yes, it may show up on standard stool tests.
Does it show up on a pregnancy test?
No, it does not show up on a pregnancy test.
Does it show up on chlamydia tests?
No, it is not a chlamydia.
Can you get it from a toilet seat?
No, you cannot get it from a toilet seat.
What is the treatment?
Does it affect fertility?
Yes, it may affect fertility.
Does it cause problems when you get older?
No, it does not cause problems when you get older.
Does it make you sterile?
No, it does not make you sterile.
Does it prevent pregnancy?
No, it does not prevent pregnancy.
Can it cause birth defects?
No, it does not cause birth defects.
Can it cause cancer?
No, it does not cause cancer.
Can you die from it?
No, you cannot die from it.
Does it cure itself?
No, it does not cure itself.
Does clothing or underwear ever carry it?
No, clothing or underwear never carries it.
Does a toilet seat ever carry it?
No, a toilet seat never carries it.
You cannot give it to someone by shaking their hand.
Can you get it when swimming in a pool?
Sources & references used in this article:
Ureaplasmas and human disease by WM O’leary – Critical reviews in microbiology, 1990 – Taylor & Francis
Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia and Ureaplasma: What Do We Know So Far? by N De La Haye, MC Hütten, S Kunzmann… – Neonatal …, 2017 – neo-med.org
Comparative genome analysis of 19 Ureaplasma urealyticum and Ureaplasma parvumstrains by V Paralanov, J Lu, LB Duffy, DM Crabb, S Shrivastava… – BMC microbiology, 2012 – Springer
Prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis, Mycoplasma genitalium and Ureaplasma urealyticum in men with urethritis attending an urban sexual health clinic by N Khatib, C Bradbury, V Chalker… – … journal of STD & …, 2015 – journals.sagepub.com
Ureaplasma urealyticum chorioamnionitis by CF Maher, MV Haran, DJ Farrell… – Australian and New …, 1994 – Wiley Online Library
Mycoplasmas and ureaplasmas in infertility and abortion by E Wallach, J Friberg – Fertility and sterility, 1980 – Elsevier
Erythromycin for the prevention of chronic lung disease in intubated preterm infants at risk for, or colonized or infected with Ureaplasma urealyticum by CG Mabanta, GS Pryhuber… – Cochrane Database …, 2003 – cochranelibrary.com
Detection of Mycoplasma genitalium, Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, and Ureaplasma parvum DNAs in urine from asymptomatic healthy young … by S Takahashi, K Takeyama, S Miyamoto… – Journal of infection and …, 2006 – Elsevier
Analysis of sensitivity of Ureaplasma urealyticam to 4 antibiotics in Nanning by L Yongzhen, Q Shanlie, Z Xiumei – GUANGXI MEDICAL …, 2000 – en.cnki.com.cn