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Trich, or trichomonas, is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoan organism characterized as a parasite. This condition causes inflammation of the urethra in men and women, and the vagina, and is most commonly seen in teenagers and young adults, up to the age of 30. The average incubation period of trich is seven days, and the diagnosis is made after a sample of the suspected discharge has been placed on a slide and viewed through a microscope.
Symptoms of trich in women include severe vaginal itching, accompanied by a foul-smelling, vaginal discharge that is often yellow. In men, trichomonas can be asymptomatic, but it can also cause discharge and burning upon urination. Treating trich involves taking medication such as metronidazole, which is a drug used to alleviate parasites. Both partners need to be treated simultaneously to avoid the risk of reinfection.
Metronidazole can cause severe side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sometimes, the side effects can be so intrusive that treatment is often abandoned by the patient. It is important, however, to finish the entire prescription, because failure to do so may cause the infection to worsen, risking damage to the reproductive organs. This medication is generally given orally and should be taken with plenty of fluids to decrease the risk of gastrointestinal upset.
Complications of trich may include preterm delivery and low birth weight babies. It is possible that a mother can pass the infection to the baby during delivery when he makes his passage through the birth canal. If trichomonas is present during labor, the doctor may perform a Cesarean section. In addition, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and non-gonococcal urethritis can be caused by trich.
Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD in sexually active, young women. Since trich can go undiagnosed, it is important to get regular gynecological examinations so treatment can be implemented if the organism is found to be present in the vaginal mucus membranes. It typically, however, causes such pronounced symptoms, that medical care is often sought out early by many people.
Stillbirth is also a danger of an untreated trichomonas infection, so even if symptoms are not present, it may be prudent to ask for a trich test, although these tests are not routinely administered during pregnancy unless symptoms are present. Some studies have suggested that the medication to treat the infection can increase the risk of early labor, however, the risk and benefits should be discussed with the physician.