What is trichomoniasis?
Trich (pronounced (trick) is a very common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by an infection from a single-celled microscopic parasite known as trichomoniasis vaginalis. Although symptoms may vary from person to person, most people who have the parasite are aware that they are infected.
Worldwide, studies have shown that trich is the most common curable STD. Research also indicated that in the US an estimated 3.7 million people have the disease at any one time, with older women more likely to be infected than younger women.
How do people get trichomoniasis?
Trich is very easily passed on through unprotected vaginal sex, from a person who has the infection to someone who doesn’t. Women usually have the infection in the vaginal area, while men carry the parasite inside the penis, normally in the urethra. During sex, the parasite can be carried from penis to vagina, or from vagina to penis.
Fortunately the trich parasite does not infect other parts of the body like the hands, mouth, or other genital areas.
If you are sexually active with different partners and are not using protection, your chances of contracting trich are very high. Trich infection also raises the risk of getting HIV.
Common symptoms of trich
Some people who test positive for trichomoniasis do not have any symptoms, but medical science are still unsure why. However, if you are infected symptoms usually appear about 3 weeks after the parasite takes hold.
Symptoms in women include:
- Itching and pain in the vaginal area.
- Pain when urinating or having sex.
- Pain in the lower abdomen area.
- A yellowish vaginal discharge which may have an unpleasant smell.
Trich symptoms in men include:
- A watery white discharge from the tip of the penis.
- Pain or a burning sensation when urinating.
- Redness, swelling and soreness around the head of the penis and foreskin.
Whether you are a man or a woman, if you have any of the above symptoms, please visit the doctor to get tested. The examination is simple and only involves a swab being taken from the penis or the vagina.
Treatment for trich
This parasitic infection is treated very successfully with a course of antibiotics. Wait until you have completed the treatment before resuming sexual relations. It might also be a good idea for the doctor to do another test to make sure you are clear.
Without treatment, the infection can last for several months until the immune systems knocks it out.
Are there any complications?
Without treatment, the long-term effects can be quite serious, which may require medical attention.
- Severe inflammation of the vagina and the cervix.
- Infection in the ligaments which hold the uterus in place.
- An abscess in a fallopian tube which is inflamed has also been known to occur.
- Possible inflammatory disease of the pelvic area.
- Inflammation of the prostate, which can cause a blockage in the urethra making it difficult to urinate.
- Infection in the tube carrying the sperm to be ejaculated, which could potentially result in reduced sperm and over time may affect fertility.
These complications only arise if the infection is not treated for a considerable length of time, otherwise, there are no adverse effects from the trich parasite infection if treated with antibiotics as soon as symptoms appear.
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