Trichomoniasis, sometimes referred to as “trich”, is a common cause of vaginitis. It is a sexually transmitted disease. It is caused by the single-celled protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis.
Trichomoniasis is primarily an infection of the urogenital tract; the most common site of infection is the urethra and the vagina in women.
Approximately 174 million people worldwide are infected with this parasite each year, making it the most common curable sexually transmitted infection worldwide
The average size of a trichomonad is 15 mm (they are not visible with the naked eye).
Typically, only women experience symptoms. These include inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis), urethra (urethritis), and vagina (vaginitis).
- Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal itching
- Smelly, itchy, and typically frothy or foamy discharge
- Yellow or gray-green discharge
- Pain with urination possible
In rare cases, lower abdominal pain can occur. Symptoms usually appear in women within 5 to 28 days of exposure. While symptoms are most common in women, some men may temporarily exhibit symptoms such as
- The majority of infected men have no symptoms
- Urethral discharge
- Pain with urination
- Pain and swelling in the scrotum (from epididymitis)
Trichomoniasis is diagnosed by visually observing the trichomonads via a microscope. In women, the doctor collects the specimen during a pelvic examination by inserting a speculum into the vagina and then using a applicator to collect the sample.
The sample is then placed onto a microscopic slide and sent to a laboratory to be analyzed.
Causes and Risk Factors of Trichomoniasis
Trichomonis can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. While trichomoniasis is usually passed sexually, it may be picked up from contact with damp or moist objects such as towels, wet clothing, or a toilet seat, if the genital area gets in contact with these damp or moist objects.Unlike most STDs, the parasite can live for about an hour on damp towels, washcloths, and bathing suits.
If someone uses these towels or washcloths or puts on the bathing suit, the disease may be passed on that way. The good news is that trichomoniasis is curable.
- Trichomoniasis may cause a woman to deliver a low-birth-weight or premature infant.
- Trichomoniasis is also associated with increased chances of cervical cancer
- Evidence implies that infection in males potentially raises the risks of prostate cancer development and spread due to inflammation.
Prevalence and prevention
Use of male condoms may help prevent the spread of trichomoniasis.
i. The treatment of choice is antibiotics prescribed by the doctor. In addition to antibiotics, some alternative medicine therapies are available.
ii. Home therapy should not be used instead of a doctor’s visit and appropriate antibiotics, as this may allow the spread of the condition as well as harmful sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, or chlamydia. (The author does not advise you to use these alternative therapies but these are listed to be complete.)
iii. Some people feel that natural douches once a day while lying in a warm bath may help. To increase parasite-killing activity, you may add the juice of one lemon to the following douche:
Vinegar douche – 1 teaspoon vinegar to 1 quart warm water
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