Gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia – everybody’s heard of these sexually transmitted diseases. But there are also other pathogens that can be transmitted during sex and cause infection with potentially grave consequences. These are called mycoplasma infections.
Mycoplasma are amongst the smallest of bacteria. They use we humans as their hosts and multiply in our cells. Once there, they exist peacefully in our bodies without causing harm. However, on occasion they can also trigger localised inflammation in the urogenital area. If left untreated, it can unfortunately have unpleasant consequences in both men and women. Inflammation in the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries, as well as in the seminal duct, prostate, or epididymis can all lead to infertility. There is an additional risk to pregnant women. Mycoplasma can be transmitted from mother to child. Possible consequences can include a low birth weight, respiratory infections, infections of the cerebral membrane in newborns or, in worst case scenarios, premature births or miscarriages. Mycoplasma can also spread to other organs and cause, for example, meningitis or pneumonia, or result in nerve, joint or muscle damage.
70 percent of those who are sexually active are affected
In most cases, the bacteria is transmitted through unprotected sex. It is estimated that somewhere in the region of 70 percent of those who are sexually active are infected at least once by mycoplasma during their lifetime. Infections often exhibit no symptoms, and so are left unnoticed and untreated. Even if there are symptoms, they tend not to be specific but instead characteristic of all urogenital/sexually transmitted infections. They also vary depending on where the inflammation sits. As mycoplasma can also occur in healthy people without causing problems, it is not always easy to clarify whether a particular inflammation is caused by mycoplasma or other germs. It is therefore important to be able to rule out other possible pathogens that cause similar symptoms, such as chlamydia.
The determination of pathogens alone is not enough
Once the presence of pathogens is confirmed, a mycoplasma infection can be treated quickly and easily with antibiotics and completely cured. Deciding which antibiotic and dosage to use is not easy when it comes to mycoplasma infections, as antibiotic resistance is widespread in this area of medicine. The determination of pathogens alone is therefore not enough, as any potential resistances must also be checked in order to avoid the use of ineffective antibiotics and the further spread of resistance. Our NADAL® Mycoplasma test was developed precisely for this purpose.