Trichomonas vaginalis – Symptoms and causes
Trichomonas vaginalis is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. It affects millions of people around the world, and in some cases, it can lead to serious health problems. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Trichomonas vaginalis, including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Trichomonas vaginalis is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. It affects millions of people worldwide and can lead to serious health problems. Symptoms include itching, burning, and discharge, and it can be treated with oral antibiotics. Regular STI testing and practicing safe sex can help prevent infection.
What is Trichomonas vaginalis?
Trichomonas vaginalis is a single-celled, flagellated protozoan parasite responsible for causing the sexually transmitted infection known as trichomoniasis. It is the most common curable STI worldwide, affecting approximately 275 million people annually. Both men and women can be infected with Trichomonas vaginalis, but the symptoms are more common and severe in women.
Causes of Trichomonas vaginalis
Trichomonas vaginalis is transmitted primarily through sexual contact. The parasite can be passed between partners during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, although it is most commonly associated with vaginal intercourse. It can also be transmitted through the sharing of sex toys or other intimate objects.
The risk of contracting Trichomonas vaginalis increases with the number of sexual partners, unprotected sex, and a history of previous STIs. Other factors that may increase the risk of infection include poor genital hygiene, use of intrauterine devices (IUDs), and douching.
Symptoms of Trichomonas vaginalis
Many people infected with Trichomonas vaginalis do not experience any symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they typically appear within 5 to 28 days of exposure to the parasite. The most common symptoms include:
- Itching, burning, or irritation in the genital area
- Vaginal discharge that is yellow-green, frothy, and has a strong odor
- Pain during urination or sexual intercourse
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Itching, burning, or irritation inside the penis
- Discharge from the penis
- Pain or discomfort during urination or ejaculation
Complications associated with Trichomonas vaginalis
If left untreated, Trichomonas vaginalis can lead to a variety of health problems. In women, the infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may result in chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are at an increased risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight babies.
In men, untreated trichomoniasis can lead to urethritis, prostatitis, and epididymitis. Both men and women are at an increased risk of acquiring and transmitting other STIs, including HIV, when infected with Trichomonas vaginalis.