Trichomoniasis - Why Routine STD/STI Testing Is Important

Trichomoniasis – Why Routine STD/STI Testing Is Important

What Is Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection which can be sexually transmitted. It affects both man and women. It is one of the most widespread STD-s, but also one of the most easily curable. Trichomoniasis, also known as “Trich” is caused by Trichomonas Vaginalis. Through heterosexual transmission people are mostly infected with this parasite. The infection rarely affects other parts of the human body, so it can be found on the vulva, vagina, vaginal lips and urethra.

Signs and Symptoms of Trichomoniasis

In most of the cases the infection is asymptomatic. In cases when signs and symptoms do occur they are present a short period after the infection. The incubation period usually is 5 – 28 days. However, in some cases the signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis appear much later. Signs and symptoms usually include:

  • Itching on the genital area
  • Redness
  • Sore vulva
  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal discharge that might vary in color from green to yellow,
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse,
  • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain, etc.

The infection if not diagnosed and treated on time will remain in the human body even for years. Possible long term complications of trichomoniasis infection include a higher risk of preterm birth, low birth weight for babies, but also a higher vulnerability to other sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

How Is Trichomoniasis Diagnosed?

Trichomoniasis is diagnosed with the help of lab tests, which are performed on a sample of vaginal fluid or urethral fluid. Trichomoniasis is diagnosed with direct visualization of the parasites under microscope. It is not possible to diagnose any STD with a physical examination. A mucus swab is taken from the genital area and tested for the parasites. Trichomoniasis and many other sexually transmitted diseases are mostly diagnosed through routine STD testing rather than a checkup triggered by signs and symptoms of the infection.  

How Is Trichomoniasis Treated?

The infection is treated with antibiotics. Metronidazole or Tinidazole are two of the antibiotics that are mostly used in these cases. These antibiotics are safe even during pregnancy. It is very important to diagnose and treat this infection and any other possible STD. The medication should be taken as prescribed by the doctor and for the entire course. It is not wise to stop the treatment before the infection is totally cured, because it will reoccur. Mostly, people who have been tested positive for trichomoniasis, will probably test positive for any other possible STD.  Re-test is always recommended after the antibiotic course is finished in order to make sure that the parasite is gone and the infection is treated.

Keep in mind that trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease, so not only you need treatment. If tested positive for trichomoniasis, or any other possible STD tell your partner. He/she should also get tested and treated. Avoid sexual intercourse until both you and your partner are cured.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Trichomoniasis, or Any Other STI

  • Use condoms every time during sexual intercourse
  • Do not change the sexual partners often. Limit their number and do not go back and forth between partners
  • Do not practice sex with an infected partner
  • If you think that you might be infected, avoid having sexual intercourse and make an appointment with your doctor. Get tested. If tested positive, tell your partner and make him/her take the tests as well.

 

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