Infection with the flagellum "Trichomonas vaginalis" is a common sexually transmitted disease called trichomoniasis. At the end of the last century, an estimated 174 million new cases of trichomoniasis were reported worldwide, including 11 million in Western Europe. Although trichomoniasis is one of the more harmless sexually transmitted diseases and only causes symptoms in about half of infected women and fewer men, it is quite serious. In pregnant women affected by trichomoniasis, the risk of premature birth and a low birth weight of the child is increased. In addition, the transmission of the AIDS virus seems to be encouraged in both directions.

Of microbes and humans

The transmission of trichomoniasis takes place by direct mucosal contact, ie sexual intercourse. In some reports, there is a 70% risk of having sex with an infected person. Although there are various sources that speak of other transmission routes, such as water in public swimming pools, whirlpools, damp toilet seats or bath linens, these have probably not yet been proven beyond doubt. The probability is at least very low, because the flagellates are very sensitive and survive outside the human, their only host, only very briefly.

The germ is found in about one in ten women of childbearing age and 20-30% of women with inflammation in the genital area. This proves the wide spread of the pathogen as well as the fact that the infection often goes unnoticed and untreated and thus runs chronic. And so there is a danger that the parasite or the flagellates will unknowingly continue to be transmitted.

Symptoms and course

The complaints are caused by trichomoniasis in women predominantly by vaginal inflammation. This leads to redness of the genitals, white-greenish, unpleasant-smelling discharge, pronounced itching and possibly lower abdominal pain. Sexual intercourse and urination can be uncomfortable.

Symptoms in men are much rarer and less pronounced. It is an inflammation of the glans, urethra, prostate or bladder in the foreground, which usually manifests itself as a slight burning after urination or sexual intercourse. The discharge from the urethra is rather glassy.

Proof and therapy

The parasite is detected by means of a smear from the vagina, urethra or urine under the microscope, which is less successful in men than in women. In case of doubt, a culture can be created. The therapy is carried out with metronidazole, a well-effective antibiotic. As a rule, a single tablet intake is sufficient.

The sexual partner should be co-treated with existing trichomoniasis. During therapy, sexual abstinence is indicated. Once infection has passed, it will not protect you from reoccurring, since the antibodies you initially formed will only exist for a few weeks.

In a nutshell

  • Trichomoniasis is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the world.
  • The infection occurs mainly through sexual intercourse.
  • It is often asymptomatic.
  • Complete cure by antibiotics is possible.
  • The sexual partners should be treated.
  • You can always get infected again.
  • Condoms provide protection against infection.
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