According to the World Health Organization, the global prevalence estimate of sexually transmitted infections in men in 2016 was 2.7% for chlamydia, 0.7% for gonorrhea, and 0.6% for trichomoniasis. In men, these and other sexually transmitted infections can lead to urethritis and inflammation of the urethra.
There are several methods of detecting these infections. In recent years, new technologies have emerged in the field of urine analysis methods that offer fast and standardized possibilities in daily clinical practice. Stanislav Tjagur, one of the authors of the study, a teacher at the Tartu University Clinic for Men and a PhD student at the Tartu University Faculty of Medicine, said one of these innovative diagnostic methods is flow cytometry: “Compared to other methods, this is the technique is easy to perform, automated, delivers results quickly and is non-invasive. “
However, there is limited information on how flow cytometry can be used in diagnosing male urethritis. Therefore, medical researchers from Tartu University and andrologists from Tartu University Hospital conducted a study to evaluate the performance of flow cytometry on urine with first cavity in men with infectious urethritis. “We wanted to find the optimal limits for faster and more accurate diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections associated with urethritis in order to improve the cost-effectiveness of treating infectious urethritis in men in a busy outpatient department,” said Tjagur.
The study involved patients who had come to the Men’s Clinic at Tartu University Hospital for either a case of high-risk sexual behavior, for fertility testing, or for prophylactic health checks. Cases included 306 patients aged 18 to 50 years with chlamydia, gonorrhea, Mycoplasma genitalium infection, and / or trichomoniasis. The control group consisted of 192 patients of the same age group without genitourinary symptoms and negative for the infections listed.
The study found that in men who consulted an andrologist, chlamydia (64.1%) was the most common sexually transmitted infection, followed by Mycoplasma genitalium infections (20.9%), gonorrhea (7.8%) and trichomoniasis ( 1.6%). The total proportion of the various combined infections was 5.6%. “The results measured by flow cytometry showed that gonorrhea caused the highest inflammatory reaction and the highest number of bacteria in the urine with the first cavity,” said Tjagur, who considers this finding to be one of the largest values in the study and also provides a good overview of the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases Infections and the efficiency of diagnostics.
Tjagur concluded that flow cytometry can be considered a rapid and objective screening method for suspected male infectious urethritis, although more studies are needed to confirm the initial results.
Estonian Research Council
S. Tjagur et al. (2020) Profile of Sexually Transmitted Infections that cause urethritis and an associated urinary inflammatory response in heterosexual men: A flow cytometry study. PLUS ONE. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242227.