Many STDs have terrible reputations, among them HIV or syphilis, which can both lead to severe symptoms and eventually death. Others, however, are less well-known, making you more susceptible to their effects, even if those effects are less severe.
One such disease is Ureaplasma, a common but potentially devastating bacteria that can have serious long-term consequences. Today let’s take a look at this disease, as well as what you can do to avoid seeing repercussions in your life.
What Is Ureaplasma?
This STD can be confusing to people due to the fact that Ureaplasma are not necessarily a bad thing in the human body. As Medical News Today explains, “Ureaplasma is a bacteria that is commonly found in people's urinary or genital tract. It is parasitic, which means it needs a host, such as a human or animal, to survive.” Normally, “they live in balance, without causing a problem, in most cases. Sometimes, however, they can increase in population, causing infection and health problems.” (1)
According to Healthline, it passes in one of three ways (2):
- Through sexual contact, from either the vagina in women or the urethra in men.
- From mother to child during vaginal birth, though this is rare and the infection typically goes away after a few months.
- To and from people with weakened immune systems, such has those who suffer from HIV or AIDS, or those who have had a transplant.
It may seem confusing that a bacteria you already have could cause problems. The issue lies not in whether or not you have the bacteria, but whether it is growing within normal limits or out of control. In the latter situation, it takes over healthy bodily processes and can cause problems. Similarly, if someone who has an out-of-control infection passes it to you, your body may not be able to handle it. This can lead to serious long-term consequences.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Treat Ureaplasma?
The short answer is that ureplasma can be a big problem. Recent studies show that “Besides genital tract infections and infertility, Ureaplasma is also associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes and diseases in the newborn (chronic lung disease and retinopathy of prematurity). Infection produces cytokines in the amniotic fluid which initiates preterm labour. They have also been reported from renal stone and suppurative arthritis. Genital infections have also been reported with an increasing frequency in HIV-infected patients. Ureaplasma may be a candidate 'co factor' in the pathogenesis of AIDS.” (3)
In plain English, it is associated with:
- Urinary tract infections
- Danger to pregnant women and babies
- Kidney problems
- Greater transmission of and symptoms from HIV/AIDS
For obvious reasons, it’s best to avoid any of the above outcomes. That’s where reliable testing comes in.
Why Should You Test for Ureaplasma?
Unfortunately, “Ureaplasma does not have a cell wall, which makes it unique among bacteria. The lack of a cell wall makes it resistant to some common antibiotics, including penicillin. However, it can be treated with others.” (4) That means that, if you want to make sure you can treat the disease and you want to avoid adding to antibiotic resistance, the best option is to test regularly.
Keep in mind that tests don’t just test for ureaplasma; they test for other STDs as well. This is critical, as diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis can have long-lasting consequences if not caught and treated early. The same is true even for relatively “mild” diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, which can be healed if treated early, but can cause pain, infertility and even death (through ectopic pregnancy) if left untreated for months or years.
The question then becomes: How should you test? Do you really have to make a trip to the clinic every single time you need information about your sexual health? As it turns out, no … not anymore.
What Is a Home Test Kit?
New home test kits from iDNA substantially reduce the time, cost and emotional energy associated with regular STD testing. Instead of requiring that you go out of your way to schedule with a doctor when you need to test for an STD, home kits allow you to do so from the comfort and privacy of your own home. You simply order a test online, follow the instructions and relax while you wait for your results. The even better news is you can do this as many times as you need, only calling up your doctor if you see a positive result.
Let’s take a closer look.
How Does a Home Test Kit Work?
Home test kits are really pretty straightforward:
- Head to our home page and follow the instructions for ordering your kit online. If you have a partner whose sexual health you’d like to ensure, order one for them as well. Ditto if you have children in the house about whom you are concerned.
- Watch for it in the mail. It will arrive in a plain box, so you don’t have to worry about alerting any members of the household you’d rather didn’t see it.
- When the test comes, follow the instruction to collect the sample. Make sure to follow all instruction so you don’t compromise the its quality.
- Package the sample and place it in the mail right from your own home.
- Register for an account online, so you can track the progress of your test and receive results as soon as they’re in. Our team works 24/7 to get you your results as quickly as possible, so you won’t have long to wait.
- Schedule an appointment with a clinic or your primary care provider if you get a positive result. If you get a negative result, congrats! Plan to test again when you switch partners, or after a year if you are not monogamous – even if you have tested with each new partner.
Also be aware that some diseases, such as HIV, take time to fully show their presence in your body. If you think that might be a concern, test again 6 months after exposure.
And that’s it! It couldn’t be easier to take charge of your sexual health, today and every day from now on. If you have questions, we invite you to get in touch with our friendly team members and let us know how we can help you. Either way, don’t wait to order a kit today!
(1) What Is Ureaplasma? (2018). Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321636.php
(2) Everything You Should Know About Ureaplasma. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/ureaplasma#outlook
(3) Ureaplasma: Current Perspectives. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25865969
(4) What Is Ureaplasma? (2018). Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321636.php