Trichomoniasis Is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a protozoan parasite - Trichomonas vaginalis And which is the cause of vaginal infections in women and urethral infections in men.
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Ways of transmission of trichomoniasis
The parasite is transmitted from infected to uninfected during sexual contact. In women, the most commonly infected part of the body is the lower genital tract (vulva, vagina, cervix or urethra), while in men - the urethra.
In some infected people, trichomoniasis is asymptomatic, in others it is symptomatic (in only 30%), which probably depends on factors such as age and general health. Infected people can still transmit the infection to others without symptoms.
Symptoms appear 5-28 days after infection. For some people this may take much longer.
The most common symptoms in women are:
- Vaginal discharge, which may be white, gray, yellow, or green, and usually frothy, with an unpleasant odor;
- Vaginal spots or bleeding;
- Genital burning or itching;
- Genital redness or swelling;
- Frequent urge to urinate;
- Pain during urination or sexual intercourse.
Trichomoniasis rarely causes symptoms in men. However, when men have signs and symptoms, they may include:
- Discharge from the penis;
- Burning during urination or after ejaculation;
- Frequent urge to urinate.
Trichomoniasis is more common in women than in men;
The risk of transmission may increase in the following cases:
- Multiple sexual partners;
- History of trichomoniasis;
- A history of other sexually transmitted diseases;
- Unprotected sexual contact.
Trichomoniasis facilitates infection with other sexually transmitted diseases. Inflammation of the genitals caused by trichomoniasis can increase the risk of HIV infection and HIV transmission.
Other diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and bacterial vaginosis are often found in combination with trichomoniasis. Untreated infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Complications of PID include:
- Blockage of the fallopian tube by scar tissue
- Chronic pain in the abdomen or pelvis
Trichomoniasis and pregnancy
Complications in pregnant women with trichomoniasis:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight (BBLR)
- Transmission of the infection to the baby during childbirth
If you are pregnant and suspect trichomoniasis or other sexually transmitted diseases, consult your doctor as soon as possible to avoid complications for you and your baby.
Diagnosis of trichomoniasis is impossible based on symptoms alone. If you think you may be infected, you should contact your doctor for a physical exam and lab tests.
Several tests can diagnose trichomoniasis, including:
- Cell culture
- Antigen tests
- Tests looking for Trichomonas DNA
- Examination of vaginal fluid, urethral discharge or urine samples under a microscope
Trichomoniasis can be cured with antibiotics. Your doctor may recommend metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax).
The course of treatment should be conducted by your partner as well. You should avoid sexual contact until the infection has healed, which takes about a week.
Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours after taking metronidazole or 72 hours after taking tinidazole as this may cause severe nausea and vomiting.
Your doctor will likely ask you to retest for trichomoniasis two weeks to three months after treatment to make sure you are not re-infected.
You can still get trichomoniasis after treatment if your partner has not been treated or if your new partner is infected
Untreated trichomoniasis can last for months or years.
Prevention of trichomoniasis
The only reliable way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is to abstain from questionable vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following to reduce your chances of getting infected:
- Be in a long-term bilateral monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results;
- Use a latex condom correctly each time you have sex. This may reduce the chances of getting trichomoniasis.
- Talk about the potential risk of STDs before having sex with a new partner. This way you will be able to make informed choices about the risk you are taking in your sexual life.
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