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Trichomonal Vaginitis

WHAT IS TRICHOMONAL VAGINITIS?

A suffix of 'itis' means inflammation of the part to which 'itis' is added. Here it means inflammation of the vagina, caused by a parasite that lives in the lower genitourinary tract of males and females. This is contagious and spreads through sexual contact.

MAY INVOLVE

Urethra and bladder in women; prostate gland and urethra in men.

AFFECTS

Both adolescents and adults.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

  • Foul-smelling, frothy vaginal discharge that is most noticeable several days after a menstrual period.
  • Vaginal itching and pain.
  • Redness of the vaginal lips (labia) and vagina.
  • Painful urination, if urine touches inflamed tissue.

The severity of discomfort varies greatly in individual women and from time to time in the same woman. Infected men may have no symptoms, but still have to be treated.

CAUSES

Infection from a tiny parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis. The parasite passes from person to person during sexual intercourse. It may live in its host for years without producing symptoms. Then, perhaps from altered resistance, it will suddenly multiply rapidly and cause distressing symptoms. Since it thrives in both the male and female, both sexual partners must be treated simultaneously.

RISK INCREASES WITH

Unprotected intercourse with a partner of unknown status.

HOW TO PREVENT

Use condoms during such sexual intercourse.

DIAGNOSTIC MEASURES

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • History and clinical exam (including pelvic exam) by a doctor.
  • Microscopic exam of the vaginal discharge or prostate secretions (in men).

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS

Secondary bacterial infections.

PROBABLE OUTCOME

Usually curable with treatment.

TREATMENT

GENERAL MEASURES

  • Wear cotton panties. Avoid panties made from nylon, silk or other non-ventilating materials.
  • If urinating causes burning:
    • Urinate through a tubular device, such as a toilet-paper roll or plastic cup with the end cut out.
    • Urinate while bathing.
  • Don't sit around in wet clothing.
  • Don't wear tight garments, such as jeans.

MEDICATION

  • You may be prescribed an oral antibiotic specific for this infection for you and your sexual partner, simultaneously. It has to be taken for a minimum of 7 - 10 days. Follow directions carefully. DON'T DRINK ALCOHOL OR USE VINEGAR WHEN YOU TAKE THE ANTIBIOTIC. They interact to cause a violent reaction with nausea, vomiting, sweating, weakness and other symptoms. This course may be repeated after 6 weeks for a complete cure.
  • If you have side effects with oral drugs, you may be prescribed some vaginal tablets that have to be inserted into the vagina at bedtime for 6 consecutive nights.
  • If you have itching, you may also be prescribed a cream for the same.

ACTIVITY

Avoid overexertion, heat and excessive sweating. Delay sexual relations until you are well. Allow about 10 days for recovery.

DIET

No special diet.

CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR, IF

  • You notice specific symptoms of trichomonal vaginitis.
  • Symptoms persist longer than 1 week or worsen, despite treatment.
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or swelling develops.
  • After treatment, symptoms recur.
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