What Is Trichomoniasis?


Overview

Trichomoniasis or “trich” is spread through unprotected sex with a person who already has the infection. It affects both men and women. For women it is an infection of the vagina, urethra and bladder. In men it infects the urethra and prostate gland.

Pregnancy, menstruation and illness (resulting in a weakened immune system) could contribute to a higher risk of being infected.

It is caused by a parasite protozoan – a single-cell organism known as Trichomonas Vaginalis. “Trich” is a common STD seen frequently with gonorrhea.

Reports from doctors suggest that non-sexual transmission of the disease is possible though very rarely. The organism is known to remain alive for short periods on toilet seats, towels and bath water.

After contracting this vaginal infection women may show symptoms within 4-20 days. According to the CDC, about a quarter of infected women may not have any symptoms. Men are usually asymptomatic – meaning they almost never have any symptoms after exposure to the infection.

How Is Trichomoniasis Transmitted?

Trich is an STI that can be transmitted between a penis and vagina, or between vagina and vagina. The parasite does not generally infect the mouth or anus.

Women can acquire this sexually transmitted disease from infected men or women, but usually men contract it from women. As men usually do not show any symptoms they may unknowingly passed it to their partner.

What Are The Symptoms

Women have the following symptoms and it may worsen during menses.

  • Vaginal irritation – burning and itching.
  • Abundant frothy greenish-yellow vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor.
  • Burning during urination if urethra is affected and slight discharge from the urethra opening.
  • Soreness and inflammation of the vulva, just touching it is painful.
  • Vaginal walls may be inflamed, red and ulcerated.

As mentioned earlier men do not usually experience any symptoms so the worst they may have are:-

  • slight penile discharge
  • itching inside the penis
  • burning after urination or ejaculation

Treating Trichomoniasis

Do not be embarrassed. If you are a woman seek medical treatment immediately if you have signs of this common STD so that the cervical cells are not permanently damaged.

It is very important for pregnant women to see their gynecologist promptly. Untreated “trich” during pregnancy may lead to premature rupture of the aminotic sac and preterm delivery.

The partner of an infected person should also be treated even if they do not show signs. This is to ensure that the organism (T.Vaginalis) that cause trichomoniasis is not passed back and forth between the sexual partners.

Sexual intercourse should be avoided until you are done with treatment. It is important for both partners to be treated before resuming sexual intimacy.

Be aware that treatment does not protect you from future infections. There is always the risk that you will be re-infected again if you do not practice safe sex.

If the men are reluctant to see a physician they should use condoms to prevent re-infection.

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