Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the parasite Trichomonas Vaginalis. Men and women can transmit the disease to other women, but men usually only contract the disease from an infected female. It is one of the most common, curable STDs that women are affected by.
Infected women are affected in and around their vagina, and infected men are affected in the
urethra. It can be contracted by vaginal sex and by genital-to-genital contact. Trichomoniasis has been known to stay alive on items like towels, sheets and clothing, especially undergarments.
History of Trichomoniasis
The first species of Trichomoniasis, Trichomonas tenax, was discovered in 1773. Trichomonas Vaginalis was discovered in 1836 after analyzing the genital secretions of men and women.
Symptoms of Trichomoniasis
Many people that are infected with Trichomoniasis are asymptomatic. However, the people that do experience symptoms can include the following:
- Vaginal redness
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent urination
- Painful or burning urination
- Genital itching
- Genital burning
- Yellowish green vaginal discharge
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Blood spotting
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Abnormal penile discharge
- Tingling sensation inside the penis
- Burning during ejaculation
Women tend to have more severe and painful symptoms after menstruation, and many mistake Trichomoniasis for a yeast infection.
Symptoms can emerge as early as 3 days after initial exposure, or up to 28 days after initial exposure.
Diagnosis is easier for women than it is for men. In women a simple laboratory test can be conducted to determine the presence of Trichomoniasis. In addition, a pelvic examination can reveal if any sores related to Trichomoniasis are present inside the vaginal walls or on the cervix.
Treatment for Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is easily treated with a single dose of an antibiotic. Metronidazole or tinidazole are two popular medications that are frequently prescribed. Pregnant women can safely use Metronidazole.
Men may develop symptoms and then have them disappear. This does not imply in any way that the disease does not need to be treated. Men, even though they appear asymptomatic, need to seek treatment and complete the treatment course as recommended by their physician.
It is also important for both partners to get treated simultaneously in order to rid both people of the parasite. Also, while undergoing treatment, sexual intercourse should be avoided until the course is completed and symptoms have gone.
Being infected and treated for Trichomoniasis does not indicate immunity, therefore, people are still susceptible to re-infection if proper precaution is not taken.
Trichomoniasis is not life-threatening, but the symptoms can become rather irritable and bothersome. As it is one the easiest STDs to cure and treatment is administered easily.
What Happens if Trichomoniasis Goes Untreated?
However, not treating Trichomoniasis can lead to an increased risk of contracting HIV, and as a result, transmitting the infection to one’s partner. There are also extremely rare cases where pregnant women infected with Trichomoniasis can cause a premature splitting of the membranes and premature delivery. Also, babies can be delivered at a very low birth weight.
Abstaining from sexual intercourse is an infallible way to prevent Trichomoniasis infection. If intercourse cannot be avoided, being aware of your partner’s status is valuable. Also, using latex condoms regularly can greatly reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting the disease.
If an infected person learns that he or she has been infected with Trichomoniasis, all sexual contact should cease immediately and all partners should be alerted and tested for the disease.
Who Is at Risk for Contracting Trichomoniasis?
The following list includes those people that are at a higher risk of contracting Trichomoniasis:
- People with new sexual partners
- People with more than 2 partners
- People not using any method of protection
- Individuals abusing drugs or alcohol before engaging in sexual intercourse
- People sharing an infected person’s towels, sheets, or clothing
- Lesbian women
- Bisexual women
- Women working in the sex trade
Statistics about Trichomoniasis
The following are some important statistics about Trichomoniasis:
- 1 in 54 people in the Unites States are infected every year
- 7.4 million new cases of Trichomoniasis occur every year
- 170 million people are affected by Trichomoniasis worldwide
- Approximately 1 in 5 sexually active women will contract Trichomoniasis during her lifetime
- Individuals with Trichomoniasis are more at risk of contracting HIV, and it is estimated that this can relate to approximately 747 cases a year
- The disease was detected in 72 percent of men that have infected female partners
- Prevalence of the disease among 18 to 24 year olds is 2.4 percent
- Adults over the age of 25 have a prevalence rate of 5 percent
- Vaginal discharge is found in approximately 42 percent of infected women
- Abnormal vaginal odor is found in approximately 50 percent of infected women
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