Mycoplasmosis is one of those diseases that have an unnoticed character but causes significant damage to health. Mycoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by mycoplasmas. These bacteria are sexually transmitted. They affect the genitourinary and respiratory systems. However, mycoplasmas rarely manifest themselves soon after the infection has been caught. More often, the pathogen remains in an inactive state and manifests when the immunity is weakened. An analysis of mycoplasma is prescribed to identify its presence in the absence of symptoms.
Mycoplasma: why is it so dangerous?
The first symptoms occur only after a few weeks. Patients note aching pain in the lower abdomen, discomfort during intercourse, burning sensation during urination, women have colorless vaginal secretions, in men – from the urethra. However, not all infected people notice these symptoms. Sometimes they are almost imperceptible. People simply do not pay attention to them.
Mycoplasmosis can cause very severe inflammatory processes without treatment (for example, the risk of developing pyelonephritis in the presence of mycoplasmosis increases significantly). Neglected mycoplasmosis is often the main infertility cause. Mycoplasmas are also very dangerous for pregnant women. Mycoplasmosis can cause miscarriage or premature birth.
When and why are mycoplasma tests prescribed?
Mycoplasma analysis is a common diagnostic option, it is prescribed in many cases:
- the presence of any inflammatory processes in the genitourinary system, especially if their cause is unclear;
- the onset of symptoms characteristic of mycoplasmosis;
- preparation for operations on the pelvic organs;
- regular exacerbations of candidiasis;
- planning a pregnancy, including in preparation for in vitro fertilization;
- the diagnosis of the causes of infertility or miscarriage;
- the presence of other types of sexually transmitted diseases. As a rule, along with mycoplasmosis, herpes and trichomoniasis are detected;
- in case of refusal of barrier methods of contraception in favor of hormonal or other means. As with pregnancy planning, both partners are tested for mycoplasma.
What biological fluids are being examined?
The type of biomaterial required for mycoplasma analysis depends on the method of investigation. Most often, patients have a venous blood test. Venous blood allows determining PCR and EIA analyzes. Today these are the most accurate and fastest methods for detecting both mycoplasmosis and many other infections.
However, laboratories often use another, a slower method for diagnosing mycoplasmosis – seeding. Despite the fact that this method does not fall into the category of rapid analysis, it has an undeniable advantage over other methods. It allows you to determine which antibiotic is sensitive to a particular strain of bacteria and choose the right treatment.
The main biomaterial for seeding is the cells of the mucous membrane (smear). For analysis of mycoplasma in women, a vaginal, urethra or cervical smear is taken. Men have a smear from the urethra. Sometimes the material for the study is urine. A smear or urine is also used for PCR analysis.
How to take biomaterial for analysis on mycoplasma in men and women
To increase accuracy and reduce the risk of mistakes, you should be ready for the test for mycoplasma. If urine is given for analysis, you need to collect the first-morning biomaterial.
If this is not possible for some reason, the urine that is given for analysis should be collected at least 3 hours after the last urination. Women should give urine 1–2 days before menstruation or 2-3 days after it ends. It makes no sense to have urine for mycoplasma analysis during antibiotic treatment or shortly after the end of the therapy course. The result may be false. The analysis can be carried out a month after the last antibiotic intake.
A smear is also taken no earlier than a month after the end of the antibiotic course. At least 2-3 days before the biomaterial is taken, you should stop using antibacterial agents for intimate hygiene, women should also abandon any vaginal sprays, creams, ointments, suppositories, as well as tampons and douching. On the day of the smear collection, you can take a shower without using cleaning agents.
Blood for analysis on mycoplasma is taken in the morning on an empty stomach. It is not recommended to overload and take alcohol the day before the study. Blood for analysis, as well as urine and smear, is donated a month after antibiotic treatment discontinuation.
Nowadays, there are three main methods for having tests on mycoplasma – EIA, PCR, and seeding. All of them are highly accurate diagnostic methods, however, each of the methods has its own characteristics.
In bacteriological research, the biomaterial is seeded on a special nutrient medium. Bacteria begin to multiply and form a colony, which can be easily examined through a microscope. So you can identify not only mycoplasma but also other pathogenic microorganisms. As already mentioned, mycoplasma does not reproduce alone. Seeding also allows scientists to calculate the number of bacteria and determine the degree of damage. In addition, having at the disposal a culture of bacteria, a specialist can check how certain antibiotics will affect it and choose the most effective drug. The accuracy of bacteriological research is close to 100%. It will take a long time to wait for the result – usually at least 5-6 days, in some cases even longer.
This is one of the most modern methods for mycoplasmosis diagnosis, the essence of which is to identify and repeatedly replicate a portion of the bacterial DNA found in the biomaterial together with its subsequent identification. Thus, it helps to specify a fairly insignificant concentration of bacteria. Even if the infection has occurred recently and there are no symptoms yet, PCR can detect the infection. PCR results can be obtained in just a few hours – however, many commercial laboratories charge extra for an express analysis. PCR is a very accurate diagnostic method. Its accuracy is almost 100%. A false result is almost impossible. There is an extremely low probability of a false-positive result, but only if sampling violations were made during the collection of biomaterial and the study.
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay – EIA- allows you to identify not bacteria, but antibodies, which our immune system produces when it faces an infection. In addition to establishing the fact of the presence of mycoplasmosis, EIA allows you to determine at what stage the disease is – in acute or chronic. The accuracy of this test is quite high and reaches 80%. A false-positive result is possible if the infection was destroyed recently or the antibodies that developed as a response to a long-passed mycoplasmosis returned to combat readiness due to another infectious disease.