Medical Fun Facts Podcast

MFF0071: Trichomonas vaginalis

It’s Monday 19 June 2017.

In episode 69 I mentioned some delightful things you could swallow when licking and sucking your sexual partner’s (partners’) genitalia.

If your name is Taylor would you name your daughter Jennifer?

I referred to a sexually transmitted parasite which on the way down would wiggle and jiggle and tickle inside you.

Tonight, I want to talk about Trichomonas vaginalis.

I was reading a French review in a journal this week. Here is the citation.

The focus of the review was on prevention and treatment of trichomoniasis. It took me back to my time in the Northern Territory of Australia. My friend and colleague, Professor Frank Bowden had already enabled me to introduce PCR for the detection of gonococci and chlamydia trachomatis in clinical specimens like first void urine and swabs from genitalia. At the time, there were no commercially manufactured PCR-based in vitro diagnostic devices for Trichomonas vaginalis. However, Frank was good friends with Professor Suzanne Garland who was working on a multiplex PCR IVD which would detect gonococci, Chlamydia trachomatis and Trichomonas vaginalis. The problem was that a swab specimen wasn’t big enough, so tampons were used. This approach was not welcomed by the medical laboratory scientists I worked with because they had to spend a lot of time squeezing vaginal juices containing pathogenic microorganisms from used tampons.

Here’s a video of what the parasite looks like

So here are a few fun facts:

Classical symptoms include

There can also be serious consequences such as:

Treatment is usually with oral metronidazole or tinidazole.

Some strains of Trichomonas vaginalis carry the Trichomonasvirus which are released with treatment begins. The virus itself can cause inflammation.

Sometimes if treatment doesn’t appear to be working intravaginal metronidazole can have a better result.

The best way to prevent infection is to use condoms. Condoms will help prevent this cute little parasites wiggling and jiggling and tickling inside you.

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