Trichomoniasis is known to be the most widespread yet treatable sexually transmitted disease that affects both men and women. It is also considered as one of the most frequent infection of a women’s vagina.
According to the annual estimates of the WHO, there are around 7.4 million cases of trichomoniasis in the US each year and 180 million reported cases all over the world.
How is Trichomoniasis Transmitted?
Trichomoniasis is produced by a single-celled parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis. It can affect both men and women. The most general location of infection in men is the urethra, while it usually occur in the vagina for women. Individuals get trichomoniasis through sexual contact. Example is penis-to-vagina intercourse or vulva-to-vulva contact with an infected person. Women get trichomoniasis from affected men or women, while men usually acquire the disease only from infected women. Trichomonas vaginal can also be contracted through oral or anal sex with an infected partner. It can be passed from a mother to her newborn; newborns with mothers infected with trichomoniasis were evidenced of the parasite in their lungs. You cannot contract this STD from intimate kissing, sharing utensils, or toilet seats.
How is Trichomoniasis Recognized?
The symptoms of this sexually transmitted disease in women may include vaginal discharge that is yellow-green in color, fishy odor of the vagina, pain during sexual intercourse and urination, and irritation or itching of the vulva, the genital area outside the vagina. Men generally do not show signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis, but may experience burning during ejaculation or urination and evidence of discharge from the penis.
How is Trichomoniasis Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of this STD requires both sexes to undergo physical exam and lab testing. It is diagnosed by observing the trichomonads under a microscope. The infection in men is more difficult to detect compared to the women. For the female community, the specimen is collected during an examination in the pelvic wherein a doctor inserts a speculum into the vagina and swabs the wall using a cotton-tipped applicator to collect the specimen. The sample is then sent to the laboratory to be analyzed. The visual analysis of the specimen under a microscope may reveal small red ulcerations or sores in the vaginal cervix. If this case appears, the term used is “strawberry cervix”.
How is Trichomoniasis Treated?
Trichomoniasis can be commonly treated with drugs that are prescribed by the doctor. Patients can choose either tinidazole or metronidazole that is taken orally just once. Symptoms of this STD in men may vanish in a couple of weeks even without curing treatment. However, a man who has not shown any symptoms or have continued symptoms can still affect or infect his partner whose symptoms have disappeared. In such knowledge, both partners should be cured all at once to fully eradicate the parasite. Individuals who undergo treatment for trichomoniasis should prohibit having sex until they and partners are done with the treatment and show no symptoms of the disease. Pregnant women with trichomoniasis can use metronidazole to treat the disease.
Your having trichomoniasis once does not keep you from getting the disease again. People are still prone to reacquiring the disease even after a successful treatment. So in order to be completely sure that you don’t have trichomoniasis, you should be sure to get tested every now and then.