Cultures of vaginal discharge for Ureaplasma and Mycoplasma are used for the laboratory diagnosis of infection by these micro-organisms, to determine their susceptibility to antimicrobial agents, and to monitor patients.
Mycoplasma species are the smallest free-living microorganisms and are unique among the prokaryotes in that they lack a cell wall. Their characteristic is responsible for their biological properties, including the lack of response to Gram staining and the insensitivity to many common antimicrobial agents, including beta-lactamases. Mycoplasmas are usually associated with mucous membranes. They are usually found extracellularly in the respiratory and urogenital tracts and rarely infiltrate the submucosa, except in cases of immunosuppression or the use of medical manipulations, so they can enter the bloodstream and transmit to many organs and tissues. Some species appear as intracellular pathogens.
Mycoplasma hominis and Ureaplasma urealyticum, also known as genital mycoplasmas, are considered opportunistic pathogens and cause infections in susceptible individuals. Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma hominis can be isolated from the urethra, urine and vaginal discharge of sexually active individuals. More than 60% of women have Ureaplasma urealyticum in their genital system and remain asymptomatic. Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma can be transmitted through direct contact between humans (through genital and oral contact), from mother to infant (either during childbirth or in the womb), or iatrogenically through various manipulations and tissue transplantation.
Mycoplasma species do not cause vaginitis but may multiply in patients with bacterial vaginitis and may contribute to the disease. Whether Ureaplasma infection causes infertility remains questionable. Ureaplasma species can cause placental inflammation and can invade the amniotic sac, causing infection and various other pathological conditions of pregnancy, including premature birth.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.