A very common STD, Trichomoniasis or trich is a parasitic sexually transmitted infection caused by a small one-celled, protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) More common in females than males, trichomoniasis is asymptomatic in about 70% of cases. In symptomatic cases, the incubation period of Trich i.e. the time period between the exposure to infection and appearance of symptoms is known to be about 4-28 days.
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Trichomoniasis of Risk factors:
- females are more prone than younger ones
- Older Unprotected sex with an infected person
- History of STD
- Multiple sex partners
Symptoms of Trichomoniasis:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge which is offensive, yellowish, or greenish in color
- Pain or burning during urination
- Painful sex
- Itching, redness, or soreness in the genitals
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Rarely, there may be lower abdominal pain
- Discharge from penis
- Burning after ejaculation
- Irritation inside the penis/ urinary tract
Diagnosis of Trichomoniasis:
A swab test of the abnormal discharge or a urine test may be done to detect the presence of the causative organism. A urine culture may also, be done for a confirmative diagnosis.
Nowadays more conclusive tests such as nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) /DNA PCR tests are available that can be done with a urine sample and are highly accurate.
Tests for other STDs may also, be performed as trichomoniasis may increase the risk for other infections.
Treatment of Trichomoniasis:
Oral antibiotic medications such as metronidazole or tinidazole help control the trich infection. The dosage should be a large dose or a few smaller doses, as recommended by the doctor.
Avoid alcohol while on medications as it may cause nausea, vomiting, or headache. Also, abstain from sex about 7 days after completion of treatment. The doctor may also, advise a retest to be sure the infection has cleared off.
As the chances of contracting the Trich infection again are substantially high, repeat testing after 3 months may be required.
Complications of Trichomoniasis:
The Trichomoniasis infection is considered harmless but if left untreated, it can cause complications during pregnancy resulting in premature childbirth or low birth weight baby. The infection may also, transmit to the baby during delivery.
The genital inflammation caused by the infection increases the chances of contracting other STDs, including HIV. Hence, timely diagnosis and treatment are very essential.
Prevention of Trichomoniasis:
- Use a condom or dental dam for every sexual act
- Avoid sex partners whose STD status is unknown
- Get a regular screening for STDs for both you and your partner
- Avoid douching as it harms the natural, healthy bacteria present in the vagina which predisposes one to infections.