HealthHow to manage trichomoniasis - Healthwise

How to manage trichomoniasis – Healthwise

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#Rotimi Adesanya

A man once complained of whitish discharge from the tip of his penis. He was first asked to ignore but due to the sexual history and recurrent discharge, he was asked to go for a test called Urethral Swab for microscopy, culture and sensitivity. (MCS). His result came out showing a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.

Trichomoniasis (also called trich) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite called trichomonas vaginalis. It is easy to treat but most people don’t have any symptoms. If you’ve had unprotected sex, or you are worried about trichomoniasis or other STIs, it is important to get tested as soon as possible.

Transmission

Trichomoniasis is easily passed on through unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who has the infection – even if they don’t have any symptoms. You also cannot pass on trichomoniasis through: kissing or hugging, sharing cups, plates or cutlery, toilet seats.

Symptoms

Many people with trichomoniasis don’t have any symptoms. If you do get symptoms, they normally appear within a month of infection.

The symptoms in women include yellow-green vaginal discharge which may have an unpleasant smell, soreness, swelling and itching in and around the vagina, pain when urinating (peeing) or having sex, pain in the lower stomach.

Trichomoniasis symptoms in men include thin, white discharge from the tip of the penis, pain or a burning sensation when urinating (peeing), soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis and foreskin.

Test

Getting tested for trichomoniasis is easy and doesn’t hurt. A health care professional will examine you and take a swab from the vagina or the penis. Sometimes men will also be asked to give a urine sample. If you find out that you have trichomoniasis, you should test for other STIs. Diagnosis is based upon identifying the parasite through microscopic examination of the vaginal or urethral discharge. This is the best test for Trichomonas infection.

Treatment

Trichomoniasis is easily treated with antibiotics. It is easily cured with one of two antibiotics: Metronidazole or Tinidazole. Its advisable to wait until you have finished your treatment before having sex again, even if you don’t have any symptoms. Remember that if you have been treated for trichomoniasis you are not immune and you can get infected again. Without treatment, the infection can last for months or even years.

Trichomoniasis and HIV

Having an STI, including trichomoniasis, increases your risk of getting HIV. If you are living with HIV and also have trichomoniasis, your viral load will likely increase. This will make you more likely to pass on HIV if you have sex without a condom, even if you are taking HIV drugs (antiretrovirals).

Trichomoniasis in Pregnancy

Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are at higher risk of premature birth (babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or a low-birth-weight baby (less than 2.5 Kg). Premature birth and a low birth weight raise the risk of health and developmental problems at birth and later in life.

Prevention

Regularly testing for trichomoniasis and other STIs will help to look after sexual health, especially if for those having sex with multiple partners. It’s really important to talk to your partner/s about your status and decide how to have safer sex together.

Using a new male or female condom every time you have sex will help prevent you from getting trichomoniasis.

However, some people have the infection in the area around the penis or vagina that is not covered by a condom. This means sometimes the infection can still spread even if you use a condom.

Use condoms: Condoms are the best way to prevent STIs when you have sex. Because a man does not need to ejaculate (come) to give or get trichomoniasis, make sure to put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth, or anus. Other methods of birth control, like birth control pills, shots, implants, or diaphragms, will not protect you from STIs. Get tested. Be sure you and your partner are tested for STIs. Talk to each other about the test results before you have sex.

Be monogamous: Having sex with just one partner can lower your risk for STIs. After being tested for STIs, be faithful to each other. That means that you have sex only with each other and no one else.

Limit your number of sex partners: Your risk of getting STIs goes up with the number of partners you have.

Do not douche. Douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protects you from infection. This may increase your risk of getting STIs.

Do not abuse alcohol or drugs: Drinking too much alcohol or using drugs increases risky behavior and may put you at risk of sexual assault and possible exposure to STIs.

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