Ureaplasma urealyticum, IgM antibodies
Why this test?
To determine whether a person is infected with Ureaplasma urealyticum bacteria.
To determine the causative agent of urethritis (together with other data).
To detect hidden ureaplasma infection.
In what cases is it prescribed?
With symptoms of urethritis.
When clarifying the causes of urethritis and other pathologies associated with Ureaplasma urealyticum.
U. urealyticum is a bacteria that belongs to the mycoplasma group. These are extremely small organisms, the smallest free-living creatures on Earth.
In medicine, attention is paid to two types of ureaplasmas: U. urealyticum and U. parvum, because they are the ones that can cause the disease. However, in most cases, the presence of ureaplasma in a patient is not accompanied by any symptoms, that is, these bacteria can be present in the microflora of a healthy person.
Ureaplasmas are present in 40-70% of healthy women who are sexually active. They are less common in men. Ureaplasma can be transmitted sexually or during childbirth.
However, sometimes these bacteria can be the cause of urethritis - inflammation of the urethra. Note that U. urealyticum is only one of the possible causative agents of urethritis, which is also caused by gonococci (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis), trichomonads (Trichomonas vaginalis), mycoplasmas (Mycoplasma genitalium) and other microorganisms. It is impossible to determine the causative agent by external symptoms, so laboratory tests are required for an accurate diagnosis (and the selection of the correct treatment method).
Symptoms of urethritis -
- pain, burning in the urethra,
- mucous secretions,
- pus in the urine.
- vaginal discharge
- pain when urinating,
- stomach pain
Some researchers believe that there is a connection between ureaplasmas and complications during pregnancy, but this has not been proven. Therefore, analysis for ureaplasma during pregnancy is not mandatory. However, many diagnostic laboratories recommend detection of U. urealyticum (and subsequent therapy against it) even in the absence of symptoms.
Unproven consequences of ureaplasma infection: premature birth, stillbirth, infertility, chorioamnionitis, in newborns - meningitis, pulmonary dysplasia, pneumonia.
After pathogenic microorganisms enter the body, it begins to fight them. One of the ways to fight is the production of antibodies (special immunoglobulin proteins). There are several types of immunoglobulins: IgG, IgM, IgA, etc.
Class A antibodies are present in human blood (serum IgA) and in other biological fluids: saliva, tears, colostrum, etc. (secretory IgA). Secretory IgA has an antibacterial effect, but the functions of serum IgA have not yet been fully understood. It is known that its deficiency is often associated with autoimmune and allergic diseases.
Although the role of serum IgA is not entirely clear, it can be used to diagnose diseases. The level of IgA (as well as IgG) increases when foreign bacteria enter the body. These antibodies can be detected no earlier than a week after infection. If the treatment is successful - all bacteria have died - then the level of IgA gradually (within several months) decreases.
In case of repeated infection, the level of IgA increases again, and antibodies appear in larger quantities and faster than the first time.
The presence of Ureaplasma urealyticum means that a person has been infected with these bacteria. However, as already mentioned, the relationship between the presence of bacteria and the disease is not sufficiently studied, so that antibodies against ureaplasmas are rather an additional factor for making a diagnosis, rather than a decisive one.