What Is Trichomoniasis Or Trich?
Trichomoniasis or trich is a sexually transmitted protozoal infection that is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Every year more than one million cases are reported in the United States alone; making it a very common STI.
Transmission Of Trich
Trichomoniasis is transmitted via sexual interaction with an infected person. This includes genital-genital contact and vaginal intercourse.
Classic Symptoms Of Trich
70% people infected with Trichomonas vaginalis are asymptomatic. Exhibition of symptoms is more common in women than men. The nature of symptoms vary in both males and females i.e. from mild irritation to extreme inflammatory reactions. Usually people show symptoms after 5 to 28 days of infection but some might develop symptoms after prolonged time.
Following are the symptoms that may be experienced in females:
- Vaginal odor
- Green, grey, or yellow colored vaginal discharge
- Painful sex
- Painful urination
- Itching around or inside the vagina
Men usually don’t exhibit any symptoms but, if they do, the symptomatology is specific for:
- Itching in penis
- Irritation inside penis
- Painful urination
These symptoms may go on and off and if not treated, can last for years.
Genital inflammation due to trich makes it easier to catch HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. It also makes it more likely to pass STIs to sexual partners.
How Can You Prevent Trich Infection?
One can avoid Trich by using latex condom every time sex is performed.
As discussed previously, Trich increases the risk of contracting HIV, therefore, it is very important to get yourself tested. Diagnosing trich in men is difficult, when compared to women. A doctor cannot diagnose trich solely on the basis of symptoms in fact, many don’t even exhibit any symptoms.
Here are some tips for women:
- Do not schedule diagnostic test for Trich when you are having periods
- Absolutely avoid the use of vaginal sprays for 24 hours before the diagnostic test
- Avoid douches for about 24 hour before the test
- Use protection if you are having sex 24 hours before the test
In women, Trcih can be diagnosed by taking sample of vaginal discharge or fluid which is then placed on slide and examined under microscope for the presence of parasite. However, this diagnostic method doesn’t yield valid results all the time.
Another method is culture test, used for both men and women in which a swab is taken from urethra or vagina or a urine sample is collected.
Recently, DNA based tests have become available which give more accurate results for both men and women.
Trichomoniasis is a curable disease. Antibiotics such as Tinidazole (Tindamax) or metronidazole (Flagyl) are usually advised for the treatment.
It is important to complete the entire antibiotic course even when symptoms are gone. You must inform your sex partner(s) about it and ask them to get tested too. One should not have sex until or unless all partners have successfully completed the treatment.
A mother infected with trich can develop a wide variety of complications such as giving birth to pre-mature child or giving birth to a baby with low weight (below 5.5 pounds). A woman must consult healthcare provider and ask for additional tests for trich, if she plans to conceive or thinks that she is pregnant.
Treatment for trich is contraindicated in first trimester, as the medicines can harm the fetus. Treatment can be started after the first trimester (first 3 months).
Despite being one of the common sexually transmitted infection, many women are not even aware of it. In fact, those who are aware believes that it is the least common STI. A sexually active woman receiving treatment for vaginal discharge must get herself tested for trich too, says Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Olorode, O. A., Mark, O. O., & Ezenobi, N. O. (2014). Urinogenital trichomoniasis in women in relation to candidiasis and gonorrhoea in University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 8(26), 2482-2485.
- Howe, K., & Kissinger, P. J. (2017). Single-Dose Compared With Multidose Metronidazole for the Treatment of Trichomoniasis in Women: A Meta-Analysis. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 44(1), 30-35.
- Hussein, A. H., Saleh, M. H., Nagaty, I. M., Ghieth, K. A., & El-Azab, N. A. (2015). Prevalence, Clinical Criteria and Sociodemographic Predictors of Trichomonas vaginalis Infection in Suspected Egyptian Women, Using Direct Diagnostic Techniques. Iranian journal of parasitology, 10(3), 432.