Common STD a Public Health Concern

Trichomoniasis, or “trich,” is the most common curable sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. but is a relatively unknown and under-served condition.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 7.4 million new cases of trich are reported annually in the United States, which is greater than the estimated 3 million new cases of chlamydia and 700,000 cases of gonorrhea diagnosed annually.

Both men and women can be infected, and the symptoms can vary. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Women:

    • Vaginal Itching or Irritation: Women with trichomoniasis may experience itching or irritation in the genital area.
    • Abnormal Vaginal Discharge: The discharge may be frothy, greenish-yellow, or gray with an unpleasant odor.
    • Painful Urination: Some women may experience discomfort or pain during urination.
    • Genital Redness or Swelling: The genital area may appear red or swollen.
  2. Men:

    • Itching or Irritation: Men infected with trichomoniasis may feel itching or irritation inside the penis.
    • Discharge from the Penis: A clear or white discharge from the penis is a common symptom.
    • Burning Sensation: Some men may experience a burning sensation during urination or after ejaculation.
    • Pain or Discomfort: Pain or discomfort in the penis or during ejaculation can occur.

It’s important to note that not everyone with trichomoniasis develops noticeable symptoms, and some individuals may carry the infection without being aware of it. If you suspect you have been exposed to trichomoniasis or experience any of these symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. Testing for trichomoniasis typically involves a laboratory examination of a sample of genital fluid.

The consequences of trich can be severe. Trich has been linked to an increased risk of contracting and transmitting HIV in both men and women. Other complications of trich in women include an increased risk of infertility, cervical cancer, infection of the uterus or ovaries, premature birth, and infection following surgery. Untreated trich in men can also contribute to a greater risk of infertility, low sperm count, and prostate pain.

Because the symptoms of trich can often go unnoticed, it is important to be aware of the potential signs, including:

  • Yellow, green, or gray vaginal discharge (often foamy or sticky) with a strong odor
  • Genital discharge in men
  • Irritation, itching, soreness, or redness of the genital area
  • Discomfort or pain during intercourse and urination
  • Lower abdominal pain in rare cases
  • Signs that worsen during menstruation

“Physicians need to be vigilant about testing for trich in patients who are sexually active because they may not experience any symptoms,” said Dr. Jane Schwebke, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. “Fortunately, trichomoniasis can be cured with a single-dose therapy in both women and men.”

How is trichomoniasis treated?

Trichomoniasis is typically treated with prescription medications, usually oral antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic for trichomoniasis is metronidazole. In some cases, tinidazole may also be used. Here’s how the treatment generally works:

  1. Oral Antibiotics:

    • Metronidazole: This antibiotic is often prescribed as a single, larger dose or as a multi-day treatment. It’s important to take the medication exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

    • Tinidazole: An alternative to metronidazole, tinidazole is another oral antibiotic that may be prescribed for trichomoniasis.

  2. Abstaining from Sexual Activity:

    • It’s recommended to abstain from sexual activity, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex, during the course of treatment to prevent spreading the infection to your partner.
  3. Partner Treatment:

    • If you are diagnosed with trichomoniasis, it’s crucial for your sexual partner(s) to also be tested and treated to prevent reinfection.
  4. Follow-Up Testing:

    • After completing the prescribed antibiotic treatment, your healthcare provider may recommend follow-up testing to ensure that the infection has been successfully cleared.
  5. Avoid Alcohol:

    • While taking metronidazole or tinidazole, it’s important to avoid alcohol. Consuming alcohol during treatment with these medications can cause severe nausea and vomiting.

It’s essential to complete the entire course of antibiotics, even if symptoms improve before the medication is finished. If left untreated, trichomoniasis can persist and lead to complications. Regular check-ups and STI screenings are crucial for maintaining sexual health, and practicing safe sex can help prevent reinfection or the spread of the infection to others. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and attend any recommended follow-up appointments.

What are the potential complications of trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis, if left untreated, can lead to various complications. Some potential complications include:

  1. Increased Risk of HIV Transmission:

    • Individuals with trichomoniasis may be at an increased risk of acquiring and transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during sexual activity.
  2. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID):

    • Trichomoniasis can contribute to the development of pelvic inflammatory disease, especially in women. PID is an infection of the reproductive organs that can lead to chronic pelvic pain, infertility, and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  3. Pregnancy Complications:

    • Pregnant women with untreated trichomoniasis may be at an increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and delivering a baby with respiratory issues.
  4. Prostate Health Issues:

    • Men with trichomoniasis may experience inflammation of the prostate gland, known as prostatitis, which can lead to discomfort, pain during ejaculation, and other urinary symptoms.
  5. Increased Vulnerability to Other Infections:

    • Trichomoniasis can weaken the immune system in the genital tract, making individuals more susceptible to other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

It’s important to note that many cases of trichomoniasis may not cause noticeable symptoms, so individuals may unknowingly carry the infection. Regular STI screenings, especially for those at higher risk, can help detect and treat trichomoniasis and other infections early, reducing the risk of complications.

If you suspect you have trichomoniasis or have been exposed to the infection, it’s crucial to seek medical attention for testing and appropriate treatment. Timely intervention can help prevent complications and protect your overall reproductive and sexual health.

Tindamax (tinidazole tablets) is an FDA-approved, one-day-one-dose treatment for trich. Manufactured by Mission Pharmacal, Tindamax is recommended by the CDC as one of the drugs of choice in the treatment of trichomoniasis.

Source: WebMD

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].