Trichomoniasis is an STD found in vagina and urethra. It is a most common STD found in women. It is considered as most common, curable STD out of other STDs.
It can be easily spread through sexual contact. It is caused by a microscopic parasite of protozoan family called “trichomonas vaginalis”.
Humans are the only hosts of trichomonas vaginalis. It is associated with adverse pregnancy consequences, infertility, postoperative infections, and cervical neoplasia.
The organism is mostly seen in vaginal or urethral secretions and not in mouth or rectal sites. It is thought to go unchecked due to lack of screening.
What Is Trichomoniasis?
As previously noted it is the most common occurring STD by a micro-organism “trichomonas vaginalis”.
T vaginalis is almost the size of white blood cell, though its size changes according to the conditions. It has four flagella, one on the posterior aspect which is the extension of an anterior flagellum and four on the anterior aspect of the cell.
The size of the organism is approximately 15 mm and it reproduces after every eight to twelve hours.
It destroys epithelial cells of the organ by direct contact and by releasing cytotoxic substances.
What Are the Symptoms of Trichomoniasis?
Men do not usually have symptoms of trichomoniasis and often do not know that they are infected. But when symptoms do occur, they include, irritation inside the penis, mild discharge, slight burning after urination or ejaculation.
women usually have signs or symptoms of infection. Symptoms in women can include greenish-yellow, frothy vaginal discharge with a strong bad odor, painful urination, itching in vagina and irritation, uncomfortable intercourse and lower abdominal pain.
Symptoms usually appear within five to 28 days of exposure in women.
People with trichomoniasis are at increased risk of getting HIV. It may cause a oregnany women to deliver a low weight or premature baby and there is increased chance of cervical cancer.
Men are at high risk of getting prostate cancer that develop due to inflammation.
How Can I Know If I Have Trichomoniasis?
Doctor can either take a swab from infected area of the person and find out if there is any protozoa, under microscope. Pap test and semen tests can also be taken to check for the disease.
The doctor can collect the specimen during pelvic exam in women. The doctor insert cotton tipped speculum in the vagina to collect sample.
The specimen is then observed under the microscope to look for the organism. This method is cheap but has low sensitivity may be due to inadequate sample that results false negative.
Culture test is another test performed but it takes long for the result to come out, but it is considered “gold standard” in disease diagnosis.
Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs) are another sensitive type of tests, but these tests are more expensive than culture test and microscopy.
Is There a Treatment for Trichomoniasis?
When there is vaginal or urethral itching and burning during urination is felt, one should prompt a visit to the health care provider.
Oral antibiotics are given to the person infected with trichomoniasis. But don’t forget to tell the doctor if one is pregnant, because certain medication can be harmful for foetus.
Treatment for both pregnant and non-pregnant women is metronidazole but with caution. In most cases, only single dose of metronidazole is enough for the treatment.
There is a minor population that is resistant to metronidazole and account for repeat cases. Trichomoniasis goes away on its own without treatment in men.
Some people think that natural douches while lying in a warm bath may be helpful and adding lemon juice in vinegar douche or live-culture yogurt douche increases the parasite killing activity.
If in women, the disease remains untreated it can be of real harm to the baby in the womb and cause premature delivery.
How Is Trichomoniasis Spread?
This parasite spread through unsafe sexual contact during penis to vagina intercourse. Men usually get this infection from women during sexual contact when the women are exposed to the infection but do not show any symptoms.
How Can I Prevent Getting or Spreading Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis can be prevented like all other STDs do. Using latex condoms every time one is going to have sex can reduce the risk of getting or spreading trichominiasis.
By completely avoiding sex before the treatment completes can help preventing the disease. Wash before and after intercourse.
Do not share swim suits and towels and shower immediately after swimming a public swimming pool.
Get regularly tested if either of the sex partners have trichomoniasis or any other STDs. Have regular checkups and pelvic exams, answer honestly true to the questions of health care provider.