Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease that is cause by a protozoan parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis. This disease effects both men and women equally. Men experience symptoms in the urethra or tube that empties urine from the bladder. Women are affected by this disease in the vagina or on the cervix. Infected male and female patients can be symptom free and infect their sexual partners. This disease is present with other STDs such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Trichomoniasis is also referred to as trich. The rate of diagnosis of this disease is higher for women than men. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable sexually transmitted disease in sexually active, young adults.
Symptoms for trichomoniasis appear between four and twenty days after the initial infection or exposure. Women experience a foamy. yellow-green or gray vaginal discharge. Sometimes there is bleeding, a foul smell, itching or discomfort. Women who have trichomoniasis may also have painful urination, which is frequent. Other symptoms can be painful intercourse, abdominal pain and some slight bleeding during intercourse. Cervical hemorrhaging is rare.
Men are usually asymptomatic, but the few symptoms present are a pale white discharge from the penis and painful, difficult urination.
This disease is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. The transmission occurs mainly through sexual contact, mutual masturbation and by sharing sex toys.
To diagnose trichomoniasis, a culture of the discharge must be performed. This is the most effective method of determining trichomoniasis. A swab collects the discharge from a man’s urethra (tube that passes urine from the bladder) or a woman’s vagina. The culture of Trichomonas vaginalis takes ten days to provide results.
Women can also be diagnosed via microscopic exam of vaginal fluid, a Pap smear and a urinalysis. The cervix is examined for bleeding. Trichomoniasis is usually present with other STDs, so patients are also screened for Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV.
Metronidasole is the only drug known to cure trichomoniasis. A single dose is the typical prescription to cure this disease. Individuals who take this medication should avoid alcohol after treatment because a chemical reaction can cause nausea and vomiting can occur. Side effects for this medication are nausea, headache, and stomach cramping. Seizures and neurological damage have been reported in some individuals who take this medication. Pregnant women are advised to consult a physician before taking metronidazole.
Symptoms can go away in a few weeks, but the patient may remain a carrier. Treatment should be administered to any sexual partners of the infected individual
Children and Trichomoniasis
If a child who has reached puberty, has trichomoniasis it is important that they be tested for other STDs. The child, if age appropriate, should have access to the doctor for open discussion about sexual activity in private. Children need to be able to have frank discussions with appropriate adults about sexual activity.
If a child has not reached puberty and is diagnose with trichomoniasis, he or she may have been sexually abused. A pediatrician can treat the physical issues and also refer professionals who can help with the emotional and psychological issues of sexual abuse. Community health organizations and sexual counseling services are also a good resource for information and assistance. The sexual abuser needs to be kept from the victim and reported to the law for investigation, in order to protect the victim and future victims.
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