Health Desk- Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that affects both men and women. These are very widespread but are treatable STIs. Only 15 to 30% of people infected with it show symptoms and the symptoms of this disease are most easily recognized in women. In women, trichomoniasis is called trichomonas vaginalis and is sometimes referred to as a “trich”. However, trichomoniasis should only be diagnosed by getting tests done by a doctor, not based on symptoms alone.
How to recognize the symptoms of trichomoniasis?
Pay attention to vaginal discharge-
For most women, vaginal discharge is completely normal and can range from clear to milky white. Abnormal vaginal discharge will appear greenish-yellow and frothy. A foul-smelling discharge is also a sign of abnormal discharge.
Trichomoniasis is spread through contact with vaginal discharge, which occurs mostly during vaginal intercourse. However, sometimes non-sexual transmission can occur when other things, such as a douche nozzle, enter the vagina. The good news is that any parasite can only live outside the body for 24 hours.
Recognize unusual genital symptoms-
Trichomoniasis causes red, burning, and itchy genitals in some infected people. These symptoms indicate a possible trichomoniasis infection or the possibility of another STI.
Trichomoniasis causes irritation inside the vaginal canal or vulva.
Vaginal irritation may be normal if the irritation lasts only a few days or if it gets better after treatment. However, if the irritation persists or gets worse, it is best to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Do not ignore painful or unusual sexual intercourse or urination
Trichomoniasis can cause inflammation and pain in the genitals, which can make intercourse uncomfortable. If you experience these symptoms, see a doctor and don’t have sex until you’ve been tested for STIs or STDs.
Avoid all forms of sexual intercourse, including anal and oral sex, until a blood test has been done to rule out the possibility of the disease.
If you think you have an STI/STD, tell your sexual partner and encourage them to get tested and treated as well. Some clinics will help alert your partner by giving them a contact slip that can show that they have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection. Your name will not be on it and it will not be told which infection it is.
Get tested and treated for trichomoniasis-
Know when you are at risk of getting STIs/STDs
In any sexual activity, there is always a risk of contracting an STI. In some circumstances, you are more likely to have an STI, and being aware of these conditions can help you and your doctor decide whether you need to get tested. You will probably need to have tests if-
*You must have had unprotected sex with your new partner.
You and your partner have had unprotected sex with others.
* Your partner says that he has a sexually transmitted disease.
*You are pregnant or planning to conceive.
*Your doctor or nurse notices abnormal vaginal discharge from your vagina or redness and swelling of the cervix.
Allow the doctor to collect a cell sample from your vagina to test for trichomoniasis.
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The doctor eye health care provider will ask for permission to collect your vaginal cell tissue or discharge from a cotton swab. Sometimes the swab looks like a plastic loop rather than a cotton tip. It is wiped over the infected part of the body, such as inside or around the vagina. It is usually painless and causes very little discomfort.
Your doctor can immediately test your sample by placing it under a microscope and telling your result immediately. Otherwise you may have to wait for 7 to 10 days for the result. Do not engage in any sexual activity during the waiting period so that if you have an infection, it does not spread.
Blood tests and cervical screening tests do not detect trichomoniasis. Specifically ask for a trichomoniasis or STI test.
If you have trichomoniasis, take antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.
If your test comes back positive, your doctor will give you antibiotics to treat it. At this time, your doctor may prescribe medications based on your likelihood of infection before the test results come in. The doctor will mostly prescribe oral antibiotics called metronidazole (Flagyl) which will stop the growth of bacteria and protozoa (trichomoniasis is a protozoan parasite). Side effects include dizziness, headache, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, constipation, changes in taste, and dry mouth. Due to this, urine can also come in dark colour.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you are or are about to become pregnant. Metronidazole is safe for pregnant women.
Do not drink alcohol while you are taking these antibiotics.
See a doctor if side effects persist and increase to such an extent that it becomes difficult to carry out everyday activities.
See your doctor right away if you have tremors, numbness or tingling in your extremities, or mood or mental changes.
Most women with trichomoniasis also have bacterial vaginosis. The good news is that the antibiotics used to treat trichomoniasis can also cure bacterial vaginosis.
How to prevent Trichomoniasis ?
Taking care of your sexual health, keep doing routine checkups-
It’s always best to have regular checkups with your doctor, even if you don’t have any STIs. Remember, only 15 to 30% of people infected with trichomoniasis show signs of infection. The remaining 70 to 85% of people never show any symptoms.
If left untreated, trichomoniasis can increase your risk of contracting HIV or transmitting HIV to your sexual partner.
Trichomoniasis in pregnant women can lead to premature rupture of the membrane protecting the baby, leading to premature labour.
Practice safe sex-
If you are not in a monogamous relationship in which that person is free of STIs, always using latex condoms (for both men and women) to avoid exposure to sexually transmitted conditions. Following are some other methods of protection:
*Use a condom when having oral, anal, and vaginal sex.
*Never share sex toys. If you share them, wash them or cover them with a new condom when using them with someone new.
Warn your sexual partner about your infection-
Tell your sexual partner who you had unprotected sex with or came in direct genital contact with so they can get tested and treated if needed.
Some clinics will help tell you that they have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection by giving your partner a contact slip. Your name will not come in this and it will not even be told which is the infection but they will be ready to get the test done.
There is only one way to avoid trichomoniasis – having safe sex. Use a latex condom or abstain from sexual intercourse if there is no mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
Genital inflammation caused by trichomoniasis increases your susceptibility to HIV. This also increases the chance that you may transmit HIV to your partner.
Even if you’ve been cured of trichomoniasis before, you can still get infected again if you’re not careful during sexual intercourse.
Untreated trichomoniasis can lead to bladder infections or fertility problems. In pregnant women, this can cause premature rupture of the membranes and can lead to premature labour and can also spread infection to the newborn during labour.
Note- This article has been written for educational purpose, there is no option for the treatment of any disease, so for more information, consult a qualified doctor. Thank you.