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Trichomoniasis (cont.)

Trichomoniasis Diagnosis

The diagnosis is made by directly observing the trichomonads on a sample of vaginal or urethral discharge through a microscope (they are too small to be seen by the naked eye).

  • Trichomonads are pear-shaped and have several flagella (whiplike tails) at one end.
  • This lab test is usually ordered only if the doctor suspects trichomoniasis as a possible diagnosis.
  • In some cases, the doctor may have to send the sample to the laboratory, and the result may not come back immediately.
  • The doctor will collect the specimen during a pelvic examination in women.
    • The doctor inserts a speculum into the vagina and then uses a cotton-tipped applicator to collect a sample.
    • The sample is then placed onto a microscope slide for observation.
    • Trichomonads are seen rarely during urine testing.
  • A diagnosis of trichomoniasis usually prompts a search for other sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, or Chlamydia.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2013
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Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the protozoa Trichomonas vaginalis.

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