Trichomoniasis is one of the common type of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), comprising around 15-54% of STIs worldwide. It is caused by a Protozoa called Trichomonas vaginalis. As the name would suggest, this microscopic creature fluourish in vagina. Hence, women have more symptoms compared to men.
Trichomonas resides in inner surface of urogenital (sexual organs) tracts. In these places, surrounded by lots of urethra and vaginal secretion pools, the trichomonas can swim around, flapping their flagella, reproduce and when there are too much, it will cause illness. Urethral or vaginal secretions are main spreading agents of Trochomoniasis. It takes 4-28 days incubation period (like a ‘grace period’ after getting infected through sexual contact) before the symptoms appear.
How Trichomonas Infect You?
99% of trichomoniasis is through Sexual Intercourse. As the vaginal and urethral fluid get exchanged, the protozoa, transferred to your partner. Simple but horrible and nasty disease!
The chance of having trichomoniasis is highest in: Sexually active people: having unprotected sex with new or multiple partners, or sex workers, people with history of STD or currently having other types of STDs.
Having sex in the last 30 days with infected partner 50% of women with trichomoniasis will have symptoms within 6 months. Nearly all men do not have symptoms at all. Hence, the infection is more commonly found in women. However, 72% of men who had sex with infected women were infected with Trichomoniasis without knowing about having it. 17% of these patients are likely to get re-infected in 3 months too.
Although almost all infected men do not have symptoms, if untreated, men can be a continuous source of infection to their female partner!
Symptoms of Trichomonas?
If you have sex in past 30 days, and you have any of these symptoms, please get a check-up
1. Vaginal Discharge – while many STDs have relation with vaginal discharge, it is 62% chance of getting trichomoniasis if your discharge looks frothy. Frothy, thin vaginal discharge is classic sign of trichomoniasis. It may be have abnormal odour (or specifically, musty odour). The discharge can sometimes more bloody or thick or pus-like. Urethral discharge can also occur, both in men and women
2. Vaginal Itchyness – it may be just an itch, but if it’s burning, red and sore; definitely something is wrong.
3. Dyspareunia – Pain while having sex which is excessive and intense (more than usual).
4. Dysuria – Pain during urination
5. Post-coital Bleeding – Bleeds after having sex.
6. Strawberry Cervix – This is also very classic sign of trichomoniasis. It can only be seen using speculum by a doctor. It is when the cervix is very inflammed, swollen, with puckered and red spots.
UNTREATED = COMPLICATIONS.
Ignoring this infection can be costly. It may leads to:
– In female;
2. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
3. Increased Tendency for Other STDs (eg: HIV, Herpes and Syphilis)
– In male;
The result came fairly quick for trichomoniasis, when we are to compare with other STDs.
1. Microscopy – In this test, doctor will need to view the trichomonas from discharge taken from
vagina or urethra. Takes only few minutes, but there is chance of false negative, if the protozoa
‘dodge the net’.
2. Culture – Urethral or vaginal discharges taken and send to lab. If the trichomonas was inside, it
will breed and higher chance of being seen under microscope. This take about 2 days.
3. DNA/ Antigen testing – This test is more accurate, take only 1 hour to 1 day but more costly.