Trichomoniasis (Trichomoniasis vaginalis - protozoan).

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) which fortunately has no repercussions if undetected.

So what is it?
In women it can be caused by a flagellate protozoan parasitic infection of either the urethra (where you urinate from) or from the vagina. This kind of infection is different from a virus or bacterial infection. This condition can be asymptomatic, however it is much more common in that you will feel symptoms, therefore you should know that something is up, especially if it's the infection is in your urinary tract. In men this condition will infect the urinary tract of their penis, and often they will experience no symptoms what so ever, although in some cases they will.

What are the symptoms?
Women-vaginal infection
A watery vaginal discharge
Discharge may smell 'fishy'
Discharge may be green or yellow
Itchy vulva
Swollen vulva

Women - urethral infection
Urethral discharge
Burning on urination

Men
It is more common to experience no symptoms as they may only be carriers. If they do develop the infection (which presents itself as urethritis), symptoms can include:
Enlargement of the prostate
Burning after urination
Urethral discharge

Diagnosis
A urine sample for both males and females can diagnose this infection. If a female has a vaginal infection, the doctor may be able to diagnose through a visual examination, but will confirm with a Pap smear test. You must ask your doctor to test for STDs, as a normal Pap smear test will only rule out cervical changes. This STD test will rule out any other infections you may have.

Treatment
Treatment is easy; a course of a simple antibiotic such as metronidazole will clear the infection. If you are in a relationship both partners must be treated, as both are likely to have it (and if the male is showing no symptoms, he is likely to be a carrier). If you have become infected through casual sex, it is important to tell this person that they probably have this infection. If he denies symptoms, explain he might just be a carrier, which means he will pass it on to any other females that he has sex with without the use of condoms. It can be very embarrassing to do this, but if you don't, this infection will be passed on and on. And the only way to stop an epidemic of it is to treat anyone who is carrying it.

Prevention
Condoms!!! The chances of contracting this infecting whilst using condoms is little to none. So please, if you are having casual sex use condoms, they not only protect you from infections such as this (which is easily treatable) but from AIDs, and this infection at this point in time has no cure.

- Louise Ganey (RN)

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