Diagnostic Tests for Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a venereal disease of a protozoal nature. It is transmitted through sexual intercourse and its symptoms include a host of very uncomfortable irritations and mild burning sensations in the genitalia of those who are infected.

The men who have Trichomoniasis usually do not exhibit any type of symptoms but when they do, they are in the form of temporary irritation inside the penis, slight burning after urination or ejaculation or a mild discharge from their genitals.

Women, on the other hand have signs such as a frothy yellow-green vaginal discharge which exudes a strong odor. The same discomfort is felt and there is itching of the female genital area. There have been cases where lower abdominal pain has occurred alongside these symptoms. These commonly appear within 5 to 28 days of exposure.

Because of this, the medical tests for determining whether one is infected with Trichomoniasis should be thorough and precise. It should be remembered that because of the nature of Trichomoniasis as a disease that is quite difficult to diagnose the sets of laboratory tests that should be taken are essentially important.

A big part of the clinics and hospitals do not have these tests available and of the 100 public health laboratories surveyed, only 6 reported to have performed testing for Trichomoniasis. What’s worse is that none of these responding laboratories have used any of the newer techniques for detection of the disease. Here are just some of the medical workups and tests for the protozoal venereal disease, Trichomoniasis.

Whiff test

This amine odor test is done by combining several drops of 10% potassium hydroxide (KOH) to a sample of vaginal discharge. A strong fishy odor is indicative of a positive result.  This type of workup is not as accurate in determining whether it is really trichomoniasis because it could also be positive for the disease or bacterial vaginosis.

Therefore, this type of test should not be regarded as an accurate means of diagnosis for trichomoniasis. It is simply one of the four parts of Amsel’s Criteria used to diagnose bacterial vaginosis. There have been other tests such as pH testing which have been combined with the QuickVue Advance pH and Amines test. This particular test uses technology which has been dubbed as “layered thin film” and you are able to determine the results within literally a couple of minutes.

Wet mount

This type of procedure is performed by observing a small amount of vaginal discharge under a microscope slide and adding in a few drops of saline solution. The slide is then examined under a microscope at either low or medium power. If there are any indications of flagellated, pyriform protozoa, that means that it is a positive result of the test. Some things to remember though is that the sensitivity is quite poor, having only 40-60% sensitivity.

This may be increased using a cervical vaginal lavage though. In this modified setup, 5ml of sterile saline is injected towards the cervix. Using a pipette, the cervix is bathed 2-3 times preceding the time that it takes to draw up the fluid from the posterior vaginal fornix. Sensitivity was increased to 74.4% versus 54.7% for vaginal swab alone.



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