Trichomoniasis – Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factor

What is trichomoniasis & Symptoms?

Trichomoniasis, commonly known as trich, is a prevalent sexually transmitted disease that affects millions of people in the UK. This condition can easily be treated when you visit your nearest STI Clinic in London

There are usually no symptoms of trichomoniasis. A study from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention stated that only 30% of people with trich have symptoms. Another study revealed that about 85% of women with the condition did not experience any symptoms.

If symptoms are to occur, they will do so within 5 to 28 days after contracting the disease. However, some people may have a more extended waiting time before having the symptoms.

Here are the most common symptoms of trichomoniasis in women and those with vaginas:

  • White, grey, green, or yellow frothy vaginal discharge, which is usually accompanied by a foul smell
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Burning or itching of the genitals
  • Redness or swelling of the genitals
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Painful sexual intercourse or urination

Here are the most common symptoms of trichomoniasis for men and those with penises:

  • Discharge from the urethra
  • Burning after ejaculation or during urination
  • A frequent urge to urinate

Causes of trichomoniasis

Trichomonas vaginalis is a one-celled protozoan that causes trichomoniasis. It is usually transferred during sex through contacts of genitals or through sharing sex toys. Women and those with vaginas usually have this infection in their vagina or urethra, or both. But men and those with penis only have it in their urethra.

When this infection is contracted, it can be easily transferred through contact when a condom or other barrier methods are not used.

This infection cannot be transmitted through contacts like hugging, kissing, sharing the toilet seat or dishes. Neither is it transmitted by sexual contacts that do not involve the genitals.

Risk factors of trichomoniasis

More than one million new cases of trichomoniasis are established yearly. Also, trichomoniasis is more common in women than men, and more than 2.3 million people with this disease are women aged 14 to 49.

It is more prevalent in older people, especially women and those with vaginas. According to a study, most of the positive cases are from women aged 50 and above.

The risk factors of having trichomoniasis include:

  • Having more than one sex partner
  • Having a previous STI
  • A previous trichomoniasis infection
  • Not using a barrier method like a condom or others when having sex

How trichomoniasis is diagnosed

Trichomoniasishas symptoms are similar to those of other infections, and so, the condition cannot be diagnosed by examining the symptoms alone.

If you suspect trichomoniasis infection, visit your doctor for both physical and laboratory examinations.

Some tests can be done to diagnose trich, and they include:

  • Cell cultures
  • Antigen test. The presence of trichomoniasis cause antibodies to bind and change colour
  • Test that checks for the presence of trichomoniasisDNA
  • Examination of samples like urethral discharge, vaginal fluids, or urine under a microscope

How to treat trichomoniasis

Doctors usually cure trichomoniasis with antibiotics. A medication that may be prescribed by your doctor is metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax) to treat the condition.

When taking Flagyl, avoid alcohol for the first 24 hours or 72 hours when taking Tindamax. It is known to cause severe nausea and vomiting.

Ensure that your sexual partner(s) takes the private STI testing in London for the condition. . The fact that there are no symptoms does not mean that they have not contracted the disease. They should also take the treatment according to prescription. You and your partner(s) will need to wait for a week after the treatment before having sexual contact again.

What’s in for patients with trichomoniasis?

Without treatment, a patient can suffer from a continuous case of trichomoniasis. However, with treatment, the condition can be cured within a week.

It is possible to contract trich again if your partner was not treated, or you met a new partner that is infected with the disease.

Reduce your risk of contracting the disease again by ensuring that all your sexual partners are tested and treated before continuing your sexual activity. Also, ensure that you wait for a week after the treatment before having sex again. If you meet a new partner whose status you are not sure about, use a condom for sexual contact.

Your symptoms should clear after you have completed the treatment. If it doesn’t, ask your doctor to retest and retreat you for the condition.

You should have a follow-up appointment three months after your treatment. The rate of re-infection is higher during that time. The chance of re-infection is up to 17% for those with vaginas within three months after infection.

Your doctor may recommend that you retest two weeks after the treatment. However, since there is no data supporting re-infection in men and those with penises, there is generally no retesting done for them.

Possible complications of trichomoniasis

Having trichomoniasis makes you more prone to contracting other sexually transmitted infections. For instance, people with genital inflammation from trich are at a higher risk of contracting HIV alongside other STIs. It is also easier to transmit HIV to others when you are infected with trich.

Diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia and bacteria vaginosis usually occur along with trich. When these conditions are left untreated, they lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and the complications of PID includes:

  • Blocked Fallopian tubes from scar tissues
  • Infertility
  • Chronic Pelvic or abdominal pain

How trichomoniasis affects pregnancy

Pregnant women can experience unique complications from trich. This includes premature birth or giving birth to babies with low birth weight. Also, they may transmit the condition to the baby during delivery.

It is important for you to take metronidazole or tinidazole during pregnancy. They do not cause any side effects. If you are pregnant and suspect an infection of trichomoniasis, talk to your doctor to prevent complications that may affect you and your baby.

Prevention of trichomoniasis

The most secure way of preventing trichomoniasis is to abstain from all sexual activities. However, you can reduce your chances of contracting the disease using latex condoms and other barrier methods during sexual activities. They will also keep you from other sexually transmitted infections.