Genital infection by Trichomonas Vaginalis in women referring to Babol health centers: prevalence and risk factors

This Article


Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Article Information:

Group: 2008
Subgroup: Volume 10, Issue 1
Date: January 2008
Type: Original Article
Start Page: 16
End Page: 21


  • A Bakhtiari
  • Midwifery Lecturer, Department of Midwifery, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Mazandaran, Iran
  • K Hajian-Tilaki
  • Department of Midwifery, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Mazandaran, Iran
  • H Pasha
  • Department of Community Medicine, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Mazandaran, Iran


      Affiliation: Midwifery Lecturer, Department of Midwifery, Babol University of Medical Sciences
      City, Province: Babol, Mazandaran
      Country: Iran
      Tel: 98-09113116889
      Fax: 98-111-2229936


Background: There is little information about the prevalence and risk markers of Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV) in Islamic Republic of Iran. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of TV and to examine the factors associated with this infection.


Methods: A sample of 550 sexually active women aged less than 45 years living in Babol were enrolled using systematic sampling technique. They were interviewed using a questionnaire, and all the subjects underwent pelvic examination and a discharge ectocervix sample was collected for the diagnosis of TV using wet smear.


Results: The prevalence of TV was 4%, there being a significant association between TV and the sociodemographic variables such as the husband’s education, and woman’s age (20-30 years). The behavioral markers significantly associated with the infection were, not using condom, having ever heard of lack of information about STD/HIV (Sexual Transmitted Disease), and protected last sexual contact in that month and cigarette smoking by husbands. The signs significantly associated with the infection were vaginal discharge, mucopurulent cervicitis, and redness of vulvovaginal. Syndromic diagnosis revealed a moderate sensitivity of 55% and poor positive predictive value for infection.


Conclusion: The prevalence of positive TV is low in the studied women. Therefore, a net diagnosis using laboratory tests is necessary before the initiation of treatment.

Keywords: Trichomonas Vaginalis; Risk factors; High-Risk behaviors

Manuscript Body:



Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV) is a sexual disease. Symptoms in acute vaginitis TV are usually vaginal discharge, vulvae itching/burning, dysuria and dysparunia.1 Transmission is often by coitus specifically through infectious and asymptomatic men.2,3 This disease is common worldwide but its prevalence is varied. The prevalence of infection has been reported up to 20%. In the female prisoners and in women communities with low health the prevalence is reported up to 50-75%.3 In Iran, the rate of TV has been reported to be 26%).4-7 In other countries, it varies from 3% to 7%.8-12 TV is associated with infertility, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, preterm labor, Low Birth Weight (LBW) and cervix cancer. In men, it may cause, uretheritis and prostatit.13,14 In our community, diagnosis is frequently made without laboratory tests, only on the basis of clinical grounds. However, due to drug side effects/resistance, it should be treated after laboratory diagnosis. With regards to the importance of this disease, the necessity of detection and treatment of infectious individuals this study was designed to assess the prevalence of TV and its causal factors in Babol, northern Iran.



Materials and Methods


This Study was carried out among women referring to the health centers of Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran. 550 women (P=0.10 and D= 0.025) who attended six health therapeutic centers of Babol were prospectively enrolled by an expert midwife in each health center. The Medical Ethical committee of the university approved the study and informed consent was provided from all participants.

Our inclusion criteria were: women aged 15-45 years who were sexually active and had referred to gynecology units in these centers. They could be either symptomatic (vaginal discharge, genital ulcer and lower abdominal pain) or asymptomatic (routine examination). The exclusion criteria were: antibiotic intake within the past 4 weeks, pregnancy, or uterine bleeding.

A standardized questionnaire was administered and all the subjects were followed by pelvic examination. The data were collected using a questionnaire including the following information: 1) Socio-demographic data including age, educational and professional status, marital status, and income, 2) Behavioral variables including age of the onset of sexual activity, extramarital sex, marriage, marital status of the women, perception of the husband having extramarital sex in the previous 3 months, history of sexual abuse, addiction, cigarette smoking, alcohol, current type of contraception, use of condom, lack of information on STD and HIV, history of STD and PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) and their frequency, 3) Clinical variables studied were reasons of presentation to the clinic, chief complaint, data recorded by physical examination, number of pregnancies, abortions, and infertility. The questionnaires were delivered to one of the authors in order to ensure confidentiality.

The discharged ectocervix samples were delivered to a single laboratory where all the tests were performed. A vaginal discharge sample was taken for Trichomonas Vaginalis diagnosis using wet smear as follows: briefly, the samples were placed into a tube containing 0/5 ml of normal saline and delivered to bacteriology department of laboratory immediately. Direct wet mount was formed from this specimen and examined for the presence of TV under low and high power field (440X and 200 X) of light microscope. The statistical analysis was performed using SPSS package version 11. Comparison of the results was performed by Chi-square test analysis and Fisher’s exact two-tailed test where appropriate. All the tests were two-sided and the level of significance was 0.05. The simple logistic regression model was used to estimate the odd ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI). The diagnostic performance was evaluated using the following indices: sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values.





The mean age of women with positive TV was 29.8 years; about half of these women (54.5%) and 36.4% of their husbands had primary education. 18.2% of the women and their husbands had diploma degrees, and only 7.5% of them and 12.4% of their husbands had a university degree. The majority were housewives, and 54.5% of their husbands were selfemployed. Regarding the economic status, only 21.3% of the study subjects could save money.

The mean age for the first sexual intercourse was 18 years. There was no history of having sex with more than one partner, extramarital sex, or history of  sexual abuse. Most of the women (95%) were not aware of their husbands’ extramarital sex relationships. 9.1% and 50% of their husbands were addicts and smokers, respectively. The most common contraceptive methods used were OCP and then withdrawal (22.7% and 18.2%, respectively), and only 18.2% of the participants had always used condom.

The mean gravidity and abortion were 2.45 and 0.55, respectively; 22.7% of the women had a history of pelvic inflammatory disease and 4.5% history of infertility. All the women denied having a past history of sexually transmitted infections and they did not know their symptoms, or they thought they were not important, or were ashamed to visit the health centers. In fact, 93.5% of them had not heard about STD, while 95.5% heard of HIV. STI services are not free of charge and 86.2% mentioned stigma/social barriers against seeking STD services, and the mean (±SD) time taken to reach the STI services was 12.3 ± 8.2 minutes.

The prevalence of Trichomonas Vaginalis was 4%. The main reasons for presentation at the gynecology clinics in positive TV were urogenital complaints (59.1%), the most frequent ones being vaginal discharge (6.8%), dysparoeunia (6.6%) and genital itching (5.9%) in positive TV. The most frequent signs were redness of vulvevaginal (11.3 %%), MPC (13.8%) and leucorrhea (9.5%). Dysparoeunia, MPC and lekureahe were risk factors for TV. Totally 59.1% of the women with positive TV had symptoms and 50% had signs; 18.2% of the individuals with TV in examination were positive by laboratory test. Association of urogenital manifestations with T vaginalis infection is shown in Table 1. Analysis of demographic markers showed that a significant association was present between the women's age (20-30years) with TV infection. In fact the age group 20-30 years was associated with a significantly higher risk of TV infection. Also the husbands’ low education was significantly associated with TV positive (P

References: (28)

  1. Rasti S, Taghriri A, Behrashi M.Trichomoniasis in parturients referring to Shabihkhani Hospital in Kashan, 2001-02. J Feyz, Kashan Univ Med Sci Health Services 2003;26(7):25-1.
  2. Rasti S, Khamechian T. Frequency and cytological trichomoniasis alterations in symptomatic females referring to a gynecology clinic in Kashan. J Feyz, Kashan Univ Med Sci Health Services 2004;29(8):78-3.
  3. Faty AB. Ahmadzadeh S. Study the factors affecting trichomoniasis among the women referred to women’s clinics and the prisoner women in Mashhad, Iran. M J Mashhad Univ Med Sci 1999;63(42):75-0.
  4. Aghajanzadeh B. Assessment of the prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis in women referring to Cytology Department of Kashani Hospital in Kerman. Thesis of Master Science in Islamic Azad University of Kerman, 1996.
  5. Shahabi Gh. Assessment of the prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis in health and therapeutic centers of Mashhad. Theses of Master Science in Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 1998.
  6. Farahmand M. Assessment of the prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis in women referring to Mirza Kochakkhan Hospital, Tehran. Theses of Master Science in Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 1998.
  7. Farid H. Assessment of the contamination with Trichomonas vaginalis in women referring to Ob Gy clinics, Esfahan. Iranian Health J 1999;7(4):175-80.
  8. Dambia AE. Prevalence of gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis in prostitutes in Burkina. East African Med J 1999;67(7):473-77.
  9. Imandel K. Clinical manifestation of female trichomoniasis and comparison of direct microscopy and culture media in its diagnosis. Bull Soc Pathol 2004;78(3):360-70.
  10. Lossick JG. Treatment of sexually infectious disease. Reviews 2005;12(supp 6):665-76.
  11. Rosenberg MJ. Barrier contraception and sexual transmitted disease in women. AM J Public Health 2005;82(5):669-74.
  12. Yavuzdemir S. Prevalence of G. vaginalis, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Trichomonas vaginalis and other bacteria in women with vaginal discharge. Microbiol Bull 2006;26(2):139-48.
  13. Ryu JS, Min DY. Trichomonas vaginalis and trichomoniasis in the Republic of Korea. Korean J Parasitol 2006;44(2):101-16.
  14. Klinger EV, Kapiga SH, Sam NE, Aboud S, Chen CY, Ballard RC, Larsen U. A Community-Based Study of Risk Factors for Trichomonas vaginalis Infection Among Women and Their Male Partners in Moshi Urban District, Northern Tanzania. Sex Transm Dis 2006;31(3):54-7.
  15. Infection rate of Trichomonas Vaginalis in females referring to Tabriz and Basmeng health care centers, 1998-99. J Shahid Beheshti Med Sci Health Services 2001;4(25):234-1
  16. Naseri far R. Assessmenr of the prevalence of Trichomoniasis in women referring to health and therapeutic centers of Ilam. Sec Fungal disease congress-Tehran, Abstract book. 1998:63-4.
  17. ghafar S. Sensitivity and Specifity of wet smear in diagnosis of Trichomonas Vaginalis. Second Fungal disease congress-Tehran, Abstract book. 1998:51-2.
  18. Dameercheli M, Jahani MR, Motevalian SA.The study of Trichomonas Vaginalis infection in pregnant and non-pregnant out-patients of two gynecologic clinics in Quazvin Kowsar Med J 1378;4(4):251-47.
  19. Rasti S, Arbabi M, Khakbazan Sh, Khamechian T, Hooshyar H, Yadegari Far Q. Epidemiology of Trichomoniasis in women referring to health and therapeutic centers of Kashan in 1372-73. J Feyz, Kashan Univ Med Sci Health Services 1999;12(3):104-10.
  20. Ziaee H, Rezaeian M. Study of Trichomoniasis in women referring to gynecology centers of Sari and comparison of laboratory diagnostic methods. J Mazandaran Univ Med Sci 1998;19(8):34-40.
  21. Sharifi I, Khatami M, Tahmores Kermani E. Prevalence of Trichomonas Vaginalis in women referred to Vali-Asr polyclinic and the health center number 3 in Sirjan city. J Kerman Univ Med Sci 1994;3(1):125-32.
  22. WHO. Translated by Selehpoor SH, Kamali K, Motamadi M, Ministry of Health Treatment and Medical Education. Management of Sexuality Transmitted Infections. Geneva, World Health Organization, Department of HIV/Aids, 2001 (document WHO/RHR/01.10).
  23. Baghaei M, Memarzadeh Z. Prevalence of Trichomoniasis in women: Isfahan, 1995. J Res Medical Sci 2001;3(6):108-12.
  24. Mali BN, Hazari KT, Meherji PK. Interaction between Trichomonas vaginalis and human spermatozoa in the female genital tract: Papanicolaou-stained cervical smear findings. Acta Cytol 2006;50(3):357-9.
  25. Memar Pour H, Maraghi Sh, Shahabi S, Khazan H. Evaluation of the sensitivity of wet smear, Diamond medium and Giemsa stain in diagnosis of Trichomonas vaginalis. Hakim Res J 1998;2(1):135-40.
  26. Sharbat Daran M, Shefaei Sh, Samiei H, Haji Ahmadi M, Ramezan Pour R, Mersadi N, Behrad A. Comparison of clinical presentations, wet smear, Papanicolaou smear with Dorset’s culture for diagnosis of Trichomonas Vaginalis in doubtful women to Trichomoniasis. J Babol Univ Med Sci 2005;27(7):46-9.
  27. Hazrati Tappeh Kh, Mohammad Zadeh H, Mostaghim M, Fereidoni J, Mehri E. A comparative study on the sensitivity of two different diagnostic ways of Diamond culture and wet mount in Trichomonas Vaginalis diagnosis and correlation between infection and clinical findings. J Uromieh Univ Med Sci 2004;1(15):7-13.
  28. Landers DV, Wiesenfeld HC, Heine RP, Krohn MA, Hillier SL. Predictive value of the clinical diagnosis of lower genital tract infection in women. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2004;190(4):4-10.