A common sexually transmitted disease, trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite. In women this parasite often affects the vagina, and in men the parasite affects the urethra. Often referred to as trich, treatment for trich includes prescription drugs to help eliminate the parasite.
Transmission of the parasite responsible for trich, Trichomonas vaginalis, occurs through sexual contact. Typically, men only contract trich from women, while women can contact it from both males and females. The disease is curable with appropriate treatment and attention.
Symptoms of trich differ for each sex. Women may notice a discolored vaginal discharge with an offensive odor. Other signs can include those typical of an infection of the vaginal area, including painful urination, discomfort during intercourse, and itching. These symptoms typically appear within 5 to 28 days of being exposed to the disease.
Men may not notice any symptoms or signs if infected with trichomoniasis. If they do notice symptoms, they may be mild enough to dismiss. Some possible signs include irritation of the penis and a slight discomfort during urination.
Physicians and health providers can make the diagnosis of trich. This is done through the use of laboratory testing to verify the existence of the parasite responsible for trich. For women, a pelvic exam will be done to verify the presence of sores on the vaginal wall.
Treatment for trich involves medication. A single dose of a prescription drug can cure trich. Medications prescribed for trich include metronidazole and tinidazole. Follow-up with a physician will be necessary to verify that the treatment for trich was successful and the disease has been eradicated before engaging in any sexual activity.
Specifically, pregnant women will need to use metronidazole for treatment for trich. Pregnant women with trich can give birth to low birth weight babies, and need treatment as soon as possible. The possibility of delivering early also exists for pregnant women with trich.
Receiving treatment for trich does not prevent one from getting the infection again. After treatment, measures should be taken to prevent future occurrences. This can include taking steps to ensure any sexual partner has been tested, and received a clean bill of health, for trich and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Other options include abstinence and the use of condoms.
Failure to receive treatment can lead to additional consequences. The symptoms associated with trich can lead to an inflammation of the genitals. This inflammation can leave a person vulnerable to another STD, particularly HIV, if exposed.