Trichomonas vaginalis is a single celled parasite that causes one of the most common curable STI in sexually active women, Infecting 7.4 million Americans each year. The parasite resides in the vagina or urethra; in the vagina Trichomonas causes yeast infections, vaginitis, or bacterial vaginosis.
Yeast infections: Causes irritation, green-yellow discharge, and itchiness of the vagina.
Vaginitis: Inflammation of the vagina that causes discharge, itching, and pain.
Bacterial Vaginosis: Vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina.
Almost 50% of infections occurring in the vagina are asymptomatic and 95% of infections in the penis are asymptomatic. Symptoms that do appear show up 5-28 days after infection. If an individual with a penis do show symptoms they appear as nonspecific urethritis and cystitis, this may cause some burning after urinating or ejaculating. If left untreated for some time the parasite may cause prostate inflammation and cancer.
Urethritis: Inflammation of the urethra, causes pain with urination
Cystitis: Inflammation of the bladder causing cloudy urination, blood in urine, pain during sex, constant urge to urinate.
Diagnosed: A culture of the parasite is grown overnight using genital fluid of the infected individual, a physical examination along with a culture test are required to diagnose Trichomoniasis.
Treatment: once diagnosed treatment is a single dose oral antibiotic, metronidazole. Other options are being researched in case a new antibiotic resistant strain emergence.
Long term effects: If left untreated Trichomoniasis can increase the risk of HIV infection, AIDS, cervical cancer, pneumonia, bronchitis, and oral lesions. If pregnant Trichomoniasis can lead to lower birth rates and impaired IQ for the baby.
Prevention: Condoms and spermicide are effective at preventing Trichomoniasis but are not 100% effective. Trichomoniasis is not tested for regularly and talking to your doctor about testing and if you are at risk is recommended.
Washington & Lee. (2020). Washington & Lee. Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://my.wlu.edu/student-life/health-and-safety/student-health-and-counseling/health-library/stis/trichomoniasis#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20long%2Dterm,%2C%20AIDS%2C%20and%20cervical%20cancer.