Trichomoniasis

Overview

Trichomoniasis, commonly known as trich, is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis (TV).

In women, it is associated with foul-smelling vaginal discharge, painful urination, and genital itching. If you experience these symptoms go to a hospital near you for checkup immediately. If you are in Kenya, East Africa, or Africa and there is no hospital near you, consult with a doctor online using the Uzima Patient App at the comfort of your home.

Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are likely to deliver underweight or premature babies. A majority of men with trichomoniasis do not show any symptoms. Of all the STDs, trichomoniasis is the most curable.

Risk Factors

They include having multiple sexual partners and not using condoms during sex.

A history of sexually transmitted infections or a previous episode of trichomoniasis.

Facts and Figures

According to the World Health Organization, over 1 million sexually transmitted diseases are acquired every day in the entire world.

Cumulatively, around 357 million people are infected with 1 of the 4 main STIs, namely gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.

A study was conducted in 2016 in Kisumu (Kenya) to substantiate the prevalence of T. vaginalis infection among women aged 15 to 49. A total of 785 women from different ethnic groups participated, and the findings revealed that 15.5% (122) of the participants tested positive for trichomoniasis.

The age group with the highest infection was 15 to 19 years, which means that young girls in Kenya are the most infected with trichomoniasis.

Symptoms

Approximately 70% of people infected with trichomoniasis do not show any signs or symptoms. However, when the symptoms occur, they can vary from mild irritation to severe inflammation. 

A few people show symptoms 5 days to one month after being infected while others do not develop them until much later.

Women with trichomoniasis may notice:

Men with trichomoniasis may notice:

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Burning after ejaculation or urination
  • Irritation or itching inside the penis

If you feel or have any of these symptoms, seek medical attention at a hospital near you or if you are in Kenya, East Africa or Africa at large, you can use the Uzima Patient App to consult with a doctor online at the comfort of your home.

Causes

Trich is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. The parasite is transmitted from one person to another through:

  • Having vaginal sex without a condom with a partner infected with trichomoniasis
  • Sharing sex toys that are not washed or covered with a new condom every time they are used.

Note that unlike other forms of STIs, trichomoniasis is not transmitted through oral sex, anal sex, kissing, or hugging. It is not equally transmitted to the fetus or during delivery. Trich is only transmitted through vaginal sex, and that is why women are at the highest risk.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of trichomoniasis is made through the use of a microscope. 

For women, a sample of the vaginal fluid is examined under the microscope while for men; a sample of the urine is used.

Other faster tests used today include nucleic acid amplification and rapid antigen tests. Consult with a doctor online using the Uzima Patient App to guide you on the tests to undertake to confirm whether you have trichomoniasis or not.

Treatment

As mentioned, trich is the most curable STD and the most common treatment which is also permissible for pregnant women. Treatment involves both parties taking one large dose of a certain oral antibiotic. Consult with a doctor online using the Uzima Patient App for medical advice at the comfort of your home.

Once diagnosed, make sure both yourself and your partner receive treatment. Avoid sexual activity until the infection is entirely cured. It resolves within days or weeks.

Trichomoniasis has a tendency or reinfection/recurrence, and thus, your doctor may want to retest you from 2 weeks to 3 months after treatment.  Consult a doctor online using Uzima App for guidance and proper treatment.

Complications associated with trichomoniasis, especially if it remains untreated include:

Prevention

If you are sexually active, take the following precautions:

  • Engage in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a tested partner who has no STD infection
  • Use latex condom rightly every time you have sex. However, be careful because the parasite may infect the areas that are not covered by the condom.

For more information on treatment, speak to a doctor, or get access to a hospital near you through the Uzima Health App that is accessible in Kenya, East Africa, and Africa at large.

Sources

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis)

https://www.avert.org/sex-stis/sexually-transmitted-infections/trichomoniasis

https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/trichomoniasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20378609

https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/guide/trichomoniasis#1