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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Trichomoniasis (trick-oh-moe-NYE-ah-sis) is a vaginal inflammation caused from a parasitic infection by the trichomonas (trick-om-OH-nas) organism. It's characterized by a bad-smelling, yellow-green vaginal discharge and an irritating itching condition that has a tendency to worsen after a menstrual period. Painful urination may also be present. However, in nearly half the cases, few or no symptoms are present. The organism favors warm, moist areas, such as genital tissue, but it can also survive in damp towels and washcloths, and around toilet seats. Nevertheless, trichomonas is almost always transmitted by sexual contact. Thus, adolescents and adults are the most susceptible to this infection, and the risk increases with the number of sexual partners. Trichomoniasis is diagnosed by a test similar to a Pap smear, made from a specimen taken from the vagina. Because gonorrhea may also be present with this disease, an additional test for gonorrhea is advised. The standard treatment for trichomoniasis is antibiotics in a pill, cream or injectable form. It's a good idea to treat the male partner, too, and avoid sexual activity until treatment is successful. Medication may need to be continued for several months if the infection resists the drug. Studies show that the organism appears to survive in about ten percent of treated cases. For more information on trichomoniasis, contact a health care professional.

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