Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a protozoan called Trichomonas vaginalis that induces cell death and results in the rupture of the inner linings of the vagina.
Causes and Symptoms of Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases among women and is said to affect more than 8 million people worldwide, annually.
Caused by a single-celled protozoan, Trichomonas vaginalis, the condition injures the inner lining of a woman’s urogenital tract and may have an incubation period of 28-30 days.
Some studies have demonstrated that the human genome contains genes that are similar to Trichomonas vaginalis, but there is no clinical evidence showing genetic causes for trichomoniasis.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with trichomoniasis are:
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Dark-yellow or grayish-white discharge during menstruation
- Pain during urination or sexual intercourse
- Irritation, itching and burning around the vagina
- Pain and swelling in the bones
- Frequent abdominal pain
Men might also show some symptoms if their partner is infected.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Trichomoniasis
Doctors usually test the vaginal discharge for any signs of infection. Other tests used for the detection of infection include:
Nucleic Acid Amplification Test:
This may be the most effective in establishing an infection because it can determine genome sequences that are unique to the functioning of the organism.
Aptima Trichomonas Vaginalis Test:
This test involves transcription-mediated amplification of the genome to establish the infection and requires only a small fraction of the organism to be detected for establishing an infection.
Treatment strategies for trichomoniasis:
Trichomoniasis is a curable sexually transmitted disease and drugs used in the treatment of trichomoniasis include metronidazole or tinidazole. These drugs are available as Flagyl and Tindamax respectively.
Gels and creams are also available that can be used topically to relieve symptoms of the infection.
It is recommended to avoid sexual activity to reduce the chance of a recurrence. A revision dose is also recommended for both the partners to ensure complete recovery from the infection.
Complications and Prevention of Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is associated with various complications, especially in pregnant women, the most common being:
- Premature delivery
- Stunted growth and development of the infant
- Transmission of the disease through the birth canal
- Low weight of the baby at birth
Complications seen in men and women:
- Increased risk of HIV infection
- More susceptibility to cervical cancer and urogenital infections
- Mostly linked with prostate cancer
- Erectile dysfunction
Since trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease, chances are that both the partners can be infected at the same time. Some of the prevention strategies recommended include:
Abstaining From Sex:
To reduce the risk of transmission, patients are advised to abstain from sex until completely recovered. This not only reduces the chances of spreading the infection but also allows the body to recover from the infection.
Use of Preventive Measures:
To reduce the chance of spreading an infection, it is recommended to use protection.
Both the partners are advised to be open to each other if either one or both are infected. This can help avoid spreading the infection and also assist getting treated on time.
Trichomoniasis is one of the most common, curable sexually transmitted diseases seen worldwide and it can be managed with proper protection, timely intervention and the right treatment plan.
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