Urogenital mycoplasma infections – can lead to miscarriage
Mycoplasmas are the smallest extracellular free-living microorganisms occupying intermediate sizes between bacteria and viruses. Infection that leads to damage to the urogenital tract is transmitted sexually – through genital and oral contact. The only source of urogenital mycoplasma is a sick person who is a carrier of the pathogen. Although they are saprophytic in nature, representatives of the genera Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma can cause local inflammation of the genitourinary system. Ureaplasmas got their name because of their ability to produce urease, which breaks down urea.
Mycoplasma microorganisms are permanent inhabitants of the surface layer of the mucous membranes of the respiratory and genitourinary systems but do not lead to symptoms. Asymptomatic carrier is inherent in representatives of both sexes. It is believed that mycoplasma infection develops more often against the background of another bacterial infection. More than 100 species of mycoplasmas are known. About 10 species are parasitic on humans. Only 4 of these 10 are pathogenic. These are: Mycoplasma pneumonia, Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma genitalium and types of Ureaplasma (U.biovars, U.urealiticum, U.parvum).
Mycoplasmas are characterized by the fact that they have a three-layer cytoplasmic membrane but do not have a cell wall in their structure, which makes them extremely plastic and highly resistant to certain groups of drugs.
Mycoplasma disease – mycoplasmosis is one of the sexually transmitted diseases that are not uncommon in practice. It affects the genitourinary tract and leads to various clinical complaints that may sometimes be absent. One of the late consequences of untreated mycoplasma infection is infertility.
Mycoplasma, unfortunately, does not always lead to the manifestation of clinical symptoms. The incubation period after sexual contact with an infected partner is from 3 to 5 weeks, but on average it is about 20 days. Complaints are often nonspecific and occur with other types of sexually transmitted infections.
In men, symptoms may be:
- Urethritis with the appearance of burning, discomfort, dysuria – pain when urinating;
- The appearance of liquid discharge from the penis, most often colorless;
- It is believed that an untreated mycoplasma infection can lead to infertility since it reduces sperm motility and the ability to fertilize.
Symptoms in women are very diverse, but often the infection is asymptomatic and is detected by accident. For the first time, mycoplasma microorganisms were isolated from an abscess of the Bartholin gland. Symptoms can be:
Vaginal discharge – abundant fluoride of various consistencies with or without odor, depending on whether the infection proceeds independently;
Painful and sometimes difficult urination. If sterile urine is being examined and there is no bacterial growth in it, the possibility of mycoplasma infection should not be overlooked;
Dyspareunia – pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse;
Bleeding after sex, is most often due to the fact that the infection itself leads to the appearance of superficial erosions in the vagina, which bleed to the touch. This symptom is not common;
- Intermenstrual bleeding – they can be caused by other reasons;
- Pain in the pelvis and appendages (tubes and ovaries);
- During pregnancy, infection with mycoplasma can lead to spontaneous abortion, premature birth, stillbirth, and the development of fetal malformations. Before planning a pregnancy, it is advisable to undergo an examination for the carrier of the infection;
- In people with immunodeficiency, mycoplasmas can spread with blood flow and cause damage to the heart, kidneys, joints, etc.
The diagnosis of mycoplasma infection is not difficult if the doctor is well acquainted with sexually transmitted infections and their clinical picture. In men, it is enough to examine the discharge from the urethra, urine, seminal fluid, or the secret of the prostate gland. In women, urine, and discharge from the cervix or vagina can be examined. The most widely used method of confirming mycoplasma pathogens is a polymerase chain reaction – PCR. Other sexually transmitted diseases that may have a similar clinical picture should also be taken into account in the differential diagnosis. This is most often gonorrhea, chlamydia and vaginal trichomonas.
Antibiotics from the tetracycline group – tetracycline, and doxycycline – remain the gold standard in the treatment of mycoplasma and ureaplasma infections. Both partners are treated for at least 14 days. Due to the duration of treatment, it should be combined with taking probiotics.
Macrolide antibiotics and quinolones are also used for treatment. For prevention, it is recommended to avoid casual sexual partners, as well as use barrier protection.