Trichomoniasis - Everything you need to know

What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite called trichomonas vaginalis (TV), which passes from an infected person to another during sex. The most common parts of the body to get infected are present in the lower genital tract (vulva, vagina, cervix, or urethra). [1]


How is trichomoniasis transmitted?

Trichomoniasis is passed through the exchange of fluids from the vagina and the penis from one infected person to the other. Other sources of transmission commonly mentioned such as hugging, sharing cups, plates, or using public toilet seats have not been confirmed and thus are just popular assumptions.[2]

trichomoniasis
 

What are the signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis?

In many cases trichomoniasis shows no symptoms, for this reason, testing becomes an important source of detection of the disease. In case symptoms do appear, they will be normally visible within a month from the day of infection. Symptoms may differ from men and women and are:

Trichomoniasis symptoms in women:

  • Yellow-green vaginal discharge with unpleasant fishy smell.
  • Soreness, swelling and itching around and inside the vagina.
  • Pain when urinating (peeing).
  • Pain when having sex.
  • Pain in the lower stomach.

 

Trichomoniasis symptoms in men:

  • The penis will produce a think white discharge from the tip.
  • Pain when urinating.
  • Burning sensation when urinating.
  • Soreness, swelling and redness in the head of penis and foreskin.[3]

How do you get diagnosed for trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis can be diagnosed by looking at a sample of vaginal fluid for women or urine in the case of men, when looked under the microscope. For screening, the disease is tested using a swab to collect a sample from the vagina or the urethra of the infected person. Normally in the case of men, an urine test is used for trichomoniasis screening. These types of tests are available from the comfort of your home and are widely available in the US as well as other countries.


At-home trichomoniasis test (LetsGetChecked, MyLAB Box, NURX, Health Testing Center, Everlywell)

LetsGetChecked: Offers 3 types of test which include trichomoniasis among a list of other diseases, the Basic 3 plan offers Trichomoniasis testing along with Chlamydia and gonorrhea for just $89.25 ($119 before our coupon “Get25”). In case you want more extensive options there are other tests available including trichomoniasis as the Standard 5 for just $111.75 ($149) and the Complete 10  to detect the 10 most common infections for just $261.75 ($349).

MyLaB Box: Offers the Safe Box which include Trichomoniasis along with HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea for just $151.2 ($189 before our coupon “WATCH20”). The most popular option is the Uebr Box for just $215.2 ($269), In case you want more comprehensive option there is other test available including trichomoniasis (and other 13 infections) the Total Box for just $276.75 ($369). Results are received within 5-11 days.

Health Testing Center: Offers a simple and affordable test kit at just $99 for both men and women which detects trichomoniasis, chlamydia and gonorrhea using a urine sample.

Everlywell:  This trichomoniasis test offered for just $49 by Everlywell, detects the presence of trichomonas vaginalis protozoan in the urine sample collected from your home.

Nurx: The Healthy women Kit offered by Nurx tests for Trichomoniasis as well as HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

Walk-in trichomoniasis test (STDCheck.com, Health Testing Center)

In the case you still want to perform trichomoniasis test on a center or location near your home, both STDCheck.com and Health Testing Center are great options for you.

In the case of STDCheck, it offers 100% confidential testing which can be done on just 5 minutes and provide you results in just 1-2 days. With over 4,500 testing centers nationwide, you have an option no matter in which state you are located.

Health Testing Center is also another great option with affordable prices. Either if you decide to test at home or choose a location, they offer both options. Most results are available within 1-2 business days and all test are HIPPA compliant.


Important things to remember about sample collection

No test preparation is needed before collecting the sample. Please read instructions carefully before starting with the sample collection and the process will be easy.

  • Vaginal swab: If you are using a vaginal swab to collect the sample, please make sure not to pour out the preservative solution that is inside the collection tube. After collecting the sample of fluid from the vagina, please place the swab gently inside the tube, seal it with the yellow cap and put it inside the bag.[4] Urethral swabs are also available for men but not as common as vaginal swabs.
  • Urine sample: If the test you are using requires a urine sample, please read instructions carefully before starting with the test, or watch this video. Instructions are very easy to understand, with 4 easy steps in summary: 1) wash your hands in warm soapy water before you start to get rid of dirt and bacteria, 2) pass the first part of urine into the collection box until is full and finish the remaining fluids in the toilet, 3) carefully pass the urine sample from the box to the tube until you reach the marked lines on the tube 4) secure the lead cap and put inside the bag.

Understanding trichomoniasis STD testing results

If your test shows a positive result is highly probable that you have trichomonas. In such case, if the test was performed at home, you will be contacted by a physician to follow you during the process and proceed with the next steps.

Trichomoniasis results are very accurate for women. In the case of men, as they can carry the virus and be asymptomatic the tests are more prone to present more false negative results than women. On the other hand, it is very rare that you receive a positive result when you do not have trichomonas. [5]

For comprehensive results, it is suggested that trichomoniasis is included in the regular testing options.[6]

When to get tested for trichomoniasis?

It is important to understand that trichomoniasis can be present even without you presenting symptoms. Recent studies have mentioned that 8 in 10 people with Trichomoniasis show no symptoms at all.[7]

What are the complications of trichomoniasis?

Can cause genital inflammation, making easier for sexual transmitted diseases as HIV to be passed to others[8] In women, this inflammation normally causes an inflammation of the vagina or vaginitis, other inflammations may include cervicitis and pelvic inflammatory disease.

In the case of men, T vaginalis infection can manifest as urethritis, which is an inflammation of the urethra which becomes irritated causing pain when urinating, an urgent need to urinate and difficulty to start urination. [9] In fact, studies suggest that up to 11% of cases or urethritis are caused by trichomoniasis[10]. Other complications for men also include prostatitis, epididymitis, urethral stricture or scarring which narrows or blocks the passageway of urine to the bladder [11], and infertility. [12]

How does trichomoniasis affect a pregnant woman and her baby?

In pregnant women, Trichomoniasis has been associated with a higher risk of low birth weight, preterm delivery, and intrauterine infection.[13] Although rare, it is also possible for trichomoniasis to the passed to the baby during birth. [14]

What is the treatment for trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis can be cured with a single dose of prescribed antibiotic medication including 2g of metronidazole or tinidazole. These are the only class of antimicrobial medications known to be effective against T. vaginalis, both are cleared by the FDA, with Tinidazole being generally more expensive.

Because of the high rate of reinfection among women treated for trichomoniasis, retesting is suggested for all sexually active women 3 months after the treatment regardless of their partner status.[15]

Can trichomoniasis be cured?

Trichomoniasis can be cured with the use of antibiotics of the metronidazole and tinidazole class.


Written by Tommy Gonzales on January 9, 2021

References

[1] STD Facts - Trichomoniasis. (2020, February 27). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm

 

[2] (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/trichomoniasis/

 

[3] Trichomoniasis symptoms & treatment. (2020, April 17). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.avert.org/sex-stis/sexually-transmitted-infections/trichomoniasis

 

[4] Naumes, C. (2020, June 08). At Home STI Healthy Woman Kit - Nurx™. Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.nurx.com/sti-healthy-woman-kit

 

[5] Trichomoniasis Vaginalis - Looking after your sexual health. (2018, March). Retrieved December 21, 2020, from https://www.fpa.org.uk/sites/default/files/trichomonas-vaginalis-information-and-advice.pdf

 

[6] 5 Panel Home STD Test: Discreet & Easy STD Home Testing: MyLAB Box™. (2020, December 11). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.mylabbox.com/product/safe-box-5-panel-std-home-test/

 

[7]Menezes, C., Frasson, A., & Tasca, T. (2016, June 27). Trichomoniasis - are we giving the deserved attention to the most common non-viral sexually transmitted disease worldwide? Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5354568/

 

[8] STD Facts - Trichomoniasis. (2020, February 27). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm

 

[9] Urethritis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. (2020, January 26). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/urethritis-symptoms-causes-treatments

 

[10] JN;, K. (n.d.). Trichomoniasis in men: Old issues and new data. Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7624817/

 

[1]Conditions Treated. (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.uclahealth.org/urology/body.cfm?id=478

 

[12] Darvin Scott Smith, M. (2020, January 02). Trichomoniasis Clinical Presentation: History, Physical Examination, Complications. Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/230617-clinical

 

[13]*From the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (n.d.). Trichomonas vaginalis Associated With Low Birth Weight and… : Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://journals.lww.com/stdjournal/Fulltext/1997/07000/Trichomonas_vaginalisAssociated_With_Low_Birth.8.aspx

 

[14] RH;, S. (n.d.). Perinatal transmission of Trichomonas vaginalis: A case report. Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18251366/

 

[15]CDC - Trichomoniasis Treatment. (2017, January 04). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/treatment.htm