Trichomoniasis, commonly referred to as trich, is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. It’s a highly contagious disease that can spread via sexual activity where one of the partners is already infected.
It can affect women and men; however, the symptoms are more prevalent in women.
Practising safe sex using condoms is critical in preventing the transmission of this common sexually transmitted disease (STD).
What is trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is a parasitic STI that can affect any sexually active person. It usually transmits through genital contact during sex.
In some cases, trichomoniasis may not present any symptoms at all. However, a person not experiencing any symptoms can still transmit the infection to others.
Trichomoniasis symptoms may also bear a resemblance to those of other STIs. These factors can make the diagnosis challenging. Therefore, reaching out to your doctor is crucial to get the right diagnosis and treatment.
The STD trichomoniasis is caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoan parasite. It spreads through sexual contact (vaginal, anal, or oral sex), where one partner carries the parasite.
One can contract trichomoniasis if they engage in sexual activity without protective measures like a condom or have more than one sexual partner. Because the condition can be asymptomatic a lot of the time, people may end up spreading it unwittingly.
The areas affected in women by trichomoniasis include the vulva, urethra, vagina, and cervix. Trichomoniasis affects men in the urethra. Although uncommon, the infection can also affect areas like the hands, mouth, or anus.
In the absence of treatment, trichomoniasis can persist for a long time, from months to years. A person with no symptoms may not have any reason to seek treatment and continue to transmit the infection to others all this while.
After contracting the infection, it could take 4 to 28 days for the symptoms to manifest.
Trichomoniasis symptoms for women include:
- An unusual amount of vaginal discharge. The trichomoniasis discharge could look yellow, white, green, grey, or even clear.
- Trichomoniasis discharge could have a foul odour. Its consistency may be thin, thick, or foamy.
- Painful intercourse or urination.
- Itching or burning sensation in the genitals.
- Frequent urination.
While trichomoniasis symptoms are typically absent in men, some may experience the following:
- Abnormal penile discharge
- Pain during urination or ejaculation
- Itching sensation in the penis
- Frequent urination
Trichomoniasis test and diagnosis
The trichomoniasis test consists of a physical (genitals) examination and lab testing to check for signs of trichomoniasis. Women should expect that a pelvic examination may be performed for their physical exam.
A sample of genital (penis or vagina) swabs or discharge is collected for laboratory testing. The sample is analysed under a microscope to spot the presence of the parasite.
If the parasite isn’t visible using the microscope, but there is a strong indication of trichomoniasis, further testing on the sample may be required. The sample may be kept for a few days, allowing the parasite to grow enough for clear detection in the microscope.
Additional helpful trichomoniasis tests are nucleic acid amplification test and rapid antigen test.
While testing for trichomoniasis, your physician may also recommend testing for other STDs. After confirming the trichomoniasis diagnosis, you should notify your partner about the same and urge them to get tested as well.
Trichomoniasis treatment and cure
Seeking treatment for trichomoniasis is important; else, it can lead to complications. For pregnant women, these complications could include premature delivery and an increased probability of low birthweight in babies.
Untreated trichomoniasis can also make you more susceptible to catching other STDs.
Trichomoniasis is quite curable with proper treatment. Both partners need to get trichomoniasis treatment simultaneously to avoid the chances of reinfection. So, even if your partner hasn’t shown any trichomoniasis symptoms, it’s still vital that they get tested and undergo treatment.
For trichomoniasis cure, you’ll be advised a course of antibiotics to be taken orally for about a week. These could be tinidazole or metronidazole.
Sometimes the symptoms may get better before the course is complete, but ensure that you take your medication for the entire prescribed duration.
After receiving the treatment, you and your partner should wait a week to 10 days before resuming any sexual activity. You should wait until the infection is eliminated from the body; otherwise, you risk getting reinfected yourself or reinfecting your partner.
It’s a good idea to get yourself and your partner tested again sometime after the treatment to ensure that the infection hasn’t returned for either of you.
Unprotected sex leaves you vulnerable to contracting various STDs, trichomoniasis being one of them. Reinfection is a high possibility with trichomoniasis, often due to a lack of precautionary measures. Hence, engaging in safe sex and regularly testing for STDs is a good practice.
At the CK Birla Hospital, we offer a professional and safe environment to support your sexual well-being. Our expert specialists can guide you toward the right testing and treatment for trichomoniasis and the preventative steps you should take in the future.
Get the best trichomoniasis treatment by visiting the nearest CK Birla Hospital centre or booking your appointment with our experienced team of Doctors.