Trichomoniasis: Insights From a Midwife
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Trichomoniasis, or Trich, is a common sexually transmitted disease that is caused by a parasite. In fact, if you look at Trich under the microscope, you will see it moving, which makes it easy to diagnose once a culture is taken. Even though this is the most common curable STD, I myself did not know about it until I attended Midwifery school. Likewise, many people have never heard of this disease, and are often bewildered and terrified when I give them the diagnosis. In my work, Trich is the STD that I see most often, followed by Chlamydia, then Gonorrhea. However, what's disturbing is that some places still do not test for this disease and only run a panel for the other two. Sometimes, I will diagnose a woman with Trich, and then her partner will say his test results are negative. Turns out, his panel didn't include Trich at all, so it continues to go back and forth. It's important to know about this disease so that you can ensure you are being tested for it if any symptoms arise.
Well, it's actually very common to have no symptoms at all, which is why its critical to use condoms if you're not in a monogamous relationship. However for those who do develop symptoms, they may experience:
Pain with urination
Change in vaginal discharge (yellow, green, white, clear)
Discharge from penis or pain after ejaculation (for men)
Whenever you have one STD, it increases your risk for getting another one. Many times I will see Trich and Chlamydia together. If you have the disease in pregnancy and its left untreated, you are at risk for preterm labor and delivery. If you go years without treating Trich or any STD, it can affect your reproductive organs and even lead to infertility.
The good news is that Trich is treated easily with antibiotics. However, it's very important that your partner is treated as well, as I often see women coming back with recurrent infections due to their partner either not knowing or not taking the medicine. Then, you want to wait until both of you have been treated and relieved of symptoms (usually 2 weeks) before having intercourse again. It's also a good idea to go in for another culture at least 6 weeks after treatment to ensure the disease is gone.
Have you heard of this disease before? If not, I hope you learned something new and share with others. Advocate that this test is added to your STD panel to ensure you receive treatment if necessary.
xoxo, Global Midwife
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, only education. Always check with your healthcare provider.