What is Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease. It is cause by a parasite known as Trichomoniasis vaginalis. According to estimates, around 7.4 million people in America are infected by the parasite every year. Young, sexually active females are most commonly infected. However, the disease can easily be cured.
How Does one get Infected with Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis spreads by having unprotected sex. It can also spread by sharing underwear, towels and sex toys. Any infected person who is sexually active can pass it to his partner.
The disease however, does not spread by kissing, hugging, having unnatural sex, sharing toilet seats, or eating from the same dish.
In women, Trichomoniasis usually affects the vagina and the urethra. In men, urethra is commonly infected. However, at times, the penis or the prostate gland may also get infected.
Symptoms of Trichomoniasis
The symptoms of infection usually appear within 4 to 6 weeks of exposure. However, in almost 50% of the cases, there are no symptoms of the disease.
The common symptoms seen in men are:
- Itchiness on the penis
- Some discharge from the tip of the urethra
- A burning sensation after voiding urine or ejaculation.
The common symptoms of Trichomoniasis in women include:
- A foul smelling vaginal discharge which is greenish yellow in color and frothy in appearance.
- Pain and burning during micturition.
- Itching and irritation of the vagina
- Painful intercourse
- Some women may complain of a dull ache in the pelvic region
Diagnosis of Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is diagnosed when a swab taken from the vagina in women or urethral swab in men is tested in the laboratory and the organism is identified. The parasite is easier to detect in women as compared to men.
Treatment of Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is easily treated with a course of metronidazole taken twice a day for five to seven days. It is important that the whole course of antibiotic is completed even if the symptoms disappear. It is also important to treat both the partners simultaneously to kill the parasite and prevent re-infection.
Both the partners should avoid sex until the treatment is complete.
Complications of Trichomoniasis
A woman suffering from Trichomoniasis is more likely to get infected from other sexually transmitted diseases like HIV. If a woman is suffering from concurrent HIV infection and Trichomoniasis, she is more likely to transmit the HIV infection to her sex partner.
In case of pregnant women, Trichomoniasis can lead to premature rupture of membranes and early delivery.
Prevention of Trichomoniasis
Following precautions should be taken to prevent Trichomoniasis infection:
- Use a barrier contraceptive every time you have sex. Condoms are the best way to protect oneself against sexually transmitted diseases.
- Limit the number of sex partners.
- In case you are suffering from Trichomoniasis, avoid sexual contact lest you spread the infection to your partner.
- Even if one partner is suffering from infection, antibiotics should be taken by both the partners and the course should be completed.
- Avoid sex till the time the infection is cleared.