What is Trichomoniasis? Trichomoniasis | an STI
Trichomoniasis is a contagious and sexually transmitted infection, which is caused by a parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis. It affects both men and women, but is more commonly diagnosed in women. Symptoms of trichomoniasis in women may include itching or burning in the genital area, painful urination, vaginal discharge that may be yellow-green, and a strong odour. In men, symptoms are less visible, however, in rare cases, symptoms may include discharge from the penis, pain or burning during urination, and itching or burning around the tip of the penis. Trichomoniasis is usually treated with antibiotics, and both partners must be treated in order to prevent re-infection. Trichomoniasis | an STI
Pregnant women are likely to transmit the infection to their babies. Antibiotic treatment is effective in curing the infection and reducing the risk of health problems. If left untreated, trichomoniasis can cause serious health problems for both the mother and the baby.
Trichomoniasis can be treated simply by taking doses of antibiotics, like metronidazole (flagyl), tinidazole, or secnidazole. These antibiotics are able to fully eradicate the infection. In order to prevent reinfection, all sexual partners should be treated at the same time. Moreover, safe sex practices are compulsory to prevent the transmission of infection.
Signs and Symptoms of Trichomoniasis
Many people with trichomoniasis do not show any symptoms, however, over the course of time signs and symptoms do appear. These signs and symptoms are different in men, and women. Most men feel mild symptoms, while these symptoms in women are comparatively more serious.
Symptoms in Women: Trichomoniasis | an STI
In women, symptoms of trichomoniasis can include:
- Itching or burning in the genital area
- Discomfort or pain during urination or sexual intercourse
- A strong, foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
- Irritation and redness in the genital area
- Discomfort in the lower abdomen
Many women with trichomoniasis may not have any symptoms at all. However, they can still pass the infection to others and it can cause complications if left untreated. If you are experiencing any symptoms or have concerns about STIs, it is best to see a doctor for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.
Symptoms in Men:
Symptoms of Trichomoniasis in men are less severe as compared to women. Most of the men do not feel any symptoms at all. When men do have symptoms and signs, however, they might include;
- Itching or burning sensation in the penis
- Irritation and redness in the genital area
- Discharge from the penis that is thick and creamy
- Painful urination or ejaculation
- Pain or discomfort during sex
- Swelling or redness of the foreskin or head of the penis
- Foul odour from the discharge
- Burning or itching in the urethra
- Discomfort or pain in the scrotum
- If not treated timely, trichomoniasis develops the pelvic inflammatory disease. As a result of PID, small sores or ulcers in the genital area may also develop.
Causes of Trichomoniasis Trichomoniasis | an STI
Trichomoniasis is caused by a single-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. The parasite can be spread through sexual contact with an infected person, as well as through contact with contaminated objects such as towels, sex toys, or toilet seats. It can also be spread from a pregnant woman to her baby during childbirth. People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV, are at a higher risk of contracting trichomoniasis.
The parasite causes infection in the lower genital tract. In men, the parasite infects the inside of the penis (urethra). In women, this includes the vulva (outer part of the genitals), vagina, cervix (the opening of the uterus) and urethra (the urinary opening).
Complications of Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is a less serious infection but if not treated promptly, it can lead to more potential complications. These complications can be hard to be treated then. Therefore, prompt medical care is needed if you suspect to have trichomoniasis.
- Increased risk of HIV infection: Trichomoniasis can cause inflammation and irritation in the genital area, making it easier for the HIV virus to enter the body.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Trichomoniasis can spread from the vagina to the uterus and fallopian tubes, leading to PID, which can cause infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
- Preterm birth: Women with trichomoniasis are at an increased risk of delivering a premature baby, which can lead to a host of complications for both mother and baby.
- Increased risk of cervical cancer: Chronic trichomoniasis infections have been linked to an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
- Urinary tract infections: Trichomoniasis can cause inflammation and irritation in the urethra, leading to painful and frequent urination.
- Complications during pregnancy: Trichomoniasis during pregnancy can lead to a variety of complications, including premature delivery, low birth weight, and postpartum infections.
- Prostatitis: Trichomoniasis can also affect the prostate gland in men, causing prostatitis, which is an inflammation of the prostate gland.
- Transmission of infection to baby: Pregnant women having an infection can easily transmit the infection to their baby during birth. Babies born from infected women should be treated before showing any signs.
- Low birth weight: Pregnant ladies who have a trichomoniasis infection can have a baby with a low birth weight
Risk Factors of Trichomoniasis
You are at high risk of having an infection of trichomoniasis in following situations.
- Multiple sexual partners: Trichomoniasis is highly contagious and can be easily spread through unprotected sexual contact. Having multiple sexual partners increases the risk of infection.
- Lack of protection during sexual activity: Using condoms or dental dams can help reduce the risk of trichomoniasis transmission, but not using protection increases the risk.
- Unprotected oral sex: Trichomoniasis can be transmitted through oral sex as well, increasing the risk of infection.
- Weak immune system: People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are more susceptible to trichomoniasis.
- Age: Women between the ages of 30-45 are more likely to be infected with trichomoniasis.
- Poor hygiene: Poor genital hygiene and wiping from back to front after using the bathroom can increase the risk of trichomoniasis.
- Previous infection: A history of trichomoniasis increases the likelihood of re-infection.
- Douching: Douching can disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina, making it easier for trichomoniasis to take hold.
How to prevent Trichomoniasis
There are some preventive and preemptive measures that can help reduce the risk of having trichomoniasis. In other words avoiding the above-mentioned risk factors can prevent you having the infection. These measures are as follows:
- Use condoms: Consistently using latex condoms during sexual intercourse can greatly reduce the risk of getting trichomoniasis.
- Limit sexual partners: Having fewer sexual partners can reduce your risk of getting trichomoniasis and other sexually transmitted infections.
- Get tested: Regular testing for sexually transmitted infections, including trichomoniasis, can help detect the infection early and prevent its spread to others.
- Get your sexual partner tested: In many people trichomoniasis may be asymptomatic. If one sexaul partner has shown the symptoms, the chances for the other sexual partner are sure. Therefore, testing and treating your sexaul partner is as essential, as they are for you.
- Avoid sharing personal items: Do not share personal items such as towels, washcloths, or underwear, as the parasite can survive on these items.
- Good hygiene: Good hygiene practices, such as washing the genital area before and after sexual activity and urinating after sex, can help reduce the risk of getting trichomoniasis.
- Avoid frequent douching: Frequent douching disrupts the balance of vaginal bacteria. Imbalance of bacteria will allow the toxic bacteria function actively. Therefore, avoiding douching can help prevent many STIs including Trichomoniasis.
It should be noted that the best way to prevent trichomoniasis and other sexually transmitted infections is to practice safe sex. If you are sexually active, be sure to use latex condoms every time you have sex and get tested regularly.