From recent survey carried out, it has been discovered that up to thirty to fifty percent of women and men that are sexually active are infected by Mycoplasma hominis. Another bacteria that infect over fifty percent of women that are sexually active and five to twenty percent of men that are sexually active is the Ureaplasma urealyticum.
These bacteria have colonized about one-quarter of new born babies, but it is expected that after three months from birth, the colonization rates will drop drastically. Premature babies are more susceptible to this colonization (almost half of the whole premature babies less than thirty-four weeks’ of gestation period may be infected with the bacteria at birth if their mothers are infected by the bacteria. Mycoplasma hominis infection can be spread when there is direct contact with the host, particularly during all types of sexual activities. The bacteria can also be spread by mothers during the gestation period and delivery.
This bacterial infection is usually caused by a bacteria called Mycoplasma homonis. The infection can be spread through sexual intercourse (either through vagina, oral, or anus), and directly from mother to infant by colonization or nosocomial transplant of tissues. The black race are more infected by Mycoplasma hominis than any other races – the reason still unknown, hence it cannot be concluded that it is a racial or socioeconomic condition.
Signs and Symptoms :
In most cases, people with Mycoplasma hominis infection do not have symptoms. If there are any, then it will definitely be difficulty and pain when urinating and discharge of fluid from urethra. Joint pain and respiratory problems may also be signs of this bacterial infection common with individuals with fragile immune system, but this is a very rear scenario.
Although vaginal discharge is not caused by genital mycoplasma, urethritis (a disease caused by mycoplasma bacteria) may likely contribute to vaginal infection which may lead to discharge of fluid. There may also be signs of pelvic pain as a result of pelvic (inflammatory) disease caused by mycoplasma or other STDs. In new born babies, it can be very subtle. Changes in heart rate and blood pressure, uneasy breathing and fever are the first symptoms of most problems.
The most reliable test for Mycoplasma hominis infection is PCR test. This detection is specific, sensitive, and offers a same-day outcome. Although regular plate cultures can be occasionally used to detect this organism, it is a non-sensitive and very slow approach to detect the presence of the bacteria. There are other specialized cultures but they cannot be compared to PCR in terms of speed.
Interpretation of PCR Result :
If the PCR result is positive, it means that the DNA of Mycoplasma hominis is present in the sample tested. A negative result means that there is absence of the DNA of Mycoplasma hominis in the sample. Note that this does not totally rule out the organism as the negative result may be due to less quantity of the disease causing organism.
Samples taken from areas of infection e.g. sample from vagina discharge, and unique culture techniques are used to grow the organism. A positive result shows that Mycoplasma is present while a negative outcome indicates the absence of the bacteria.
Immediately after diagnosis of mycoplasma infection, treatment should be followed up to avoid any form of complications. Delay in treatment has several severe consequences that may be detrimental to the health. Below are some of the consequences:
- Respiratory issues and joint pain
- It left untreated, it may lead to fever, unusual blood pressure and heart rates, and pelvic disease.
Below are ways to reduce the risk of transmitting or contracting Mycoplasma hominis infection if proper testing was carried out:
- Use protective sheaths during sexual intercourse.
- If you suspect any sign of STI, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Avoid vaginal sex especially after end of pregnancy (miscarriage, abortion, or delivery) or some gynaecological actions, to ensure proper close of the cervix.
- Know the STI history of your partner and insist that they carry out a test and treated if any found before intercourse.
- Also seek for advice from medical professionals if your former or current partner has history of sexually transmitted infection.
Are They Contagious?
Yes, they are highly contagious through direct contact or from mother to baby
Types of Mycoplasma Bacteria :
Four types of mycoplasma bacteria are known to cause ill health to their host. These bacteria are very stubborn and resistant to most antibiotics used for treatment. They include:
- Mycoplasma hominis (which is being treated in this article)
- Mycoplasma genitalium
- Mycoplasma pneumonia
- Ureaplasma species.
It is rear to experience any form of complications in healthy people, but the commonest is the inflammation of some parts of the reproductive tract. Some people, especially those that have fragile immune system may experience joints and bone infection, lung disease, and skin infection. Mycoplasma hominis infection in women may also cause infertility. Infected new born babies, especially the premature may develop severe lung disease or pneumonia and are likely to suffer from meningitis and the disease can spread throughout their entire bodies.
Home Remedies :
Oregano oil, garlic, grape seed and probiotics can be administered to this bacterial infection, but they are less effective because these bacteria are highly resistant to treatment.
Mycoplasma bacteria have three layers of membrane and cell wall is absent. Antibiotics that are commonly used are generally not effective because their efficiency is dependent on the ability to prevent the synthesis of cell wall. Penicillins and various antibiotics acting on cell wall are not affected by mycoplasmas. There are other antibiotics with broad spectrum that hinders mycoplasmic growth in the host. These antibiotics prevent multiplication of bacteria but doesn’t kill them.
Macrolides, ketolides, erythromycin, quinolones, and tetracyclines are used for the treatment Mycoplasma hominis infections. Apart from penicillins, rifampicin does not also have any effect on mycoplasma bacteria. It may prove futile to completely eradicate mycoplasma from cells or from animal or human host by antibiotics because they are resistant to antibiotics or antibiotics cannot kill mycoplasma cells. Mycoplasma can invade the cell of its host.