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Trichomoniasis – what to know about the one-celled parasite

This insidious disease does not cause symptoms, but can cause many problems. However, it can be treated. Let's talk about trichomoniasis.

What is trichomoniasis

There is nothing easier than catching this most common non-viral sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the world. In 2020, the World Health Organization counted 156 million people with trichomoniasis – and this is even more than those who had the more “popular” chlamydia.

The main aspect in this number of patients is the lack of symptoms. A tiny single-celled parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis provoking trichomoniasis, is in no hurry to declare its presence in the body. Thus, it can greatly harm it. Therefore, the earlier this parasite is detected in the body, the easier it is to get rid of it during treatment.

Causes of trichomoniasis

It’s simple – sex with penetration. Infection occurs during both heterosexual and homosexual contact – trichomonas is quite tolerant here. Yet, tolerance ends on gender and age, since women get trichomoniasis more often than men, and with age, the chances of women getting infected increase. If you have more than one sexual partner, you have 4 times more chances to get trichomoniasis.

Follow your doctor’s advice and use condoms – the only method of contraception that protects against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Trichomoniasis can also be transmitted to a newborn during childbirth.

Even without any symptoms in your partner, you can’t avoid infection! You may also get trichomoniasis an infinite number of times, as there is no immunity against this parasite. The only protection is a condom worn before contact with the partner’s genitals.

Symptoms of trichomoniasis

Most people don’t even feel infected. 70% of patients do not have any symptoms. If they do appear, you will feel them in the period from 5 to 28 days.

  • Itching, irritation, redness and burning in the vagina;
  • Pain during urination and more frequent urge to go to the restroom;
  • Discharge with an unpleasant odor, possibly more abundant than usual, yellow or green in color;
  • Pain during sex, or even bleeding afterwards.

Men will experience the same symptoms in the intimate area.

Complications

Vulnerability to other infections increases significantly in patients with trichomoniasis. And the main threat is of course HIV. The parasite makes blood vessels and genital skin more fragile, so it becomes easier to catch or transmit the immunodeficiency virus. Actually, as well as other sexually transmitted infections.

But it’s not all.

Complications in women

Complications in men

  • Inflammation of the genitals;
  • Increased risk of prostate cancer;
  • Penile ulcers.

Plus, both men and women have a risk of spreading the infection to other organs of the reproductive or urinary system. Nonetheless, this is rare.

How to treat trichomoniasis

You will have to take antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. During therapy, you should refrain from drinking alcohol. It will not only make it ineffective, but also lead to nausea and vomiting.

It is crucial to be treated together with your partner, even if he/she has no symptoms. The course of antibacterial drugs should be drunk completely, no matter how well you feel. You should also abstain from sex for at least a week after treatment. Then you do a test, and if you and your partner have a negative result, you can resume sexual relations. 

As my personal experience shows, as well as the experience of my colleagues from around the world, it is important to treat all sexual partners together. It is worth abstaining from penetrative sex until all sexual partners test negative for trichomoniasis after treatment.
In 18 years of working with patients who had genital trichomoniasis, in 20% the only complaint was joint inflammation. They were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, but when they were tested for this infection on my advice, they tested positive for trichomoniasis. They were treated against trichomonas and the joint inflammation disappeared.

Gynecologist-endocrinologist Silina Natalia

However, using quality condoms with an untested partner can protect you from complications and the need to take antibiotics. And from interrupting breastfeeding as well, since antibiotics get into breast milk and can harm the baby. Seconds spent on putting on a condom can save weeks of treatment and rehabilitation of your body.

As I said, there is no immunity. The parasite will gladly visit your body again during unprotected sex with an infected partner, and about 20% of people get trichomoniasis within three months after treatment.

So choose safe sex and stay healthy!

More about your health and body is in the courses: A girl becomes a woman, All about you. What it’s like to be a Woman, All about you 35+.

I’m eager to file all of these courses in English, just send me a request to dr.silinaeducation@gmail.com

You can always choose your doctor at the Lior Medical Center.

Issued by Dr. Silina School of Women’s Health, journalist Maria Zavialova

All materials published on the website “Dr. Silina School of Women’s Health” were reviewed by a gynecologist-endocrinologist, the founder of the educational project, candidate of medical sciences, Natalya Silina.

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