Trichomoniasis, sometimes referred to as “trich,” is a common STD that affects 2 to 3 million Americans yearly.
It is caused by a single-celled protozoan parasite, oval in form, with a diameter of 7 to 15 microns, and length of 10 to 30 microns, endowed with 3 to 5 flagels that endure its mobility. It is called Trichomonas vaginalis.
Trichomoniasis is primarily an infection of the urogenital tract; the urethra is the most common site of infection in man, and the vagina is the most common site of infection in women.
It is a common disease, considering that one woman out of five gets it some day during her lifetime. However, it is not extremely serious if we take into account the fact that it stays located at the level of the vagina.
It is sexually transmitted, but the women may also take it through dirty, wet lingerie. Also she may contact it using infested toilets, towels or other objects. In the case of men, the disease is transmitted only sexually and is located inside the urinary tract, where it is not easily perceivable.
HOW DOES TRICHOMONIASIS MANIFEST?
Like many other STDs, it often occurs without any symptoms. Men almost never have symptoms. The symptoms in men, if present, include a thin, whitish discharge from the penis and painful or difficult urination.
When women have symptoms, they usually appear within four to 20 days of exposure. The symptoms in women include:
– A heavy, yellow-green or gray vaginal discharge
– Discomfort during intercourse
– Very unpleasant vaginal odor
– Painful urination
– Irritation and itching of the genital area
– Lower abdominal pain
– Pain during intercourse
HOW DO WE TREAT TRICHOMONIASIS?
Men can transmit the disease to their lovers very easily, because the symptoms are not present. Therefore, it is preferable to treat both lovers to eliminate the parasite.
Metronidazole is the drug used to treat people with trichomoniasis. It usually is administered in a single dose. People taking this drug should not drink alcohol because mixing the two substances occasionally can cause severe nausea and vomiting.
Follow the prescriptions of the doctor to the slightest and apparently most insignificant detail. Follow the treatment on the whole duration the doctor recommended, even if the symptoms no longer appear. While the treatment lasts, you and your lover should abstain from intercourse.
Warning: always check with your health care provider before deciding whether you are or not infested. Do not in any case decide to take the treatment without medical advice.
The use of condoms may help prevent the spread of trichomoniasis, although careful studies have never been done that focus on how to prevent this infection.