4 Rabiee

JRHS 2010; 10(1):31-35

Copyright © Journal of Research in Health Sciences

Frequency of Trichomoniasis in Patients Admitted To Outpatient Clinics in Hamadan (2007) and Relationship between Clinical Diag­nosis and Laboratory Findings

Soghra Rabieea *, Mohammad Fallahb , Fatemeh Zahabic

a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fatemieh Women Hospital, School of Medicine, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

b Department of Parasitology, School of Medicine, Hamadan University of Medical Science, Hamadan, Iran

c General Practitioner

Corresponding author: Rabiee S (MD), E-mail addresses: rabieesogol@yahoo.com

Received: 27 May 2009, Revised: 17 April 2010, Accepted: 26 April 2010, Available online: 20 June 2010        


Background: Trichomoniasis is recognized as a major sexually transmitted dis­ease (STD) in the world and has the highest prevalence and incidence of STD. the prevalence strongly is related to cultural and social norms in different socie­ties, in relation to sexual partnership, monogamy, or polygamy. Our objective was to describe the frequency and natural history of infection and correlation of clini­cal signs with parasite detection.

Methods: From February 2006 to March 2007, in a cross sectional study, clinical and wet mount examination of vaginal smear along with culture were performed on 683 women attending to private outpatient clinics in Hamadan, western Iran. Trichomoniasis was diagnosed based on major clinical symptoms. Diagnosis was con­firmed using wet mount microscopically and culture in Diamond medium.

Results: Only 2.2% of patients with clinically diagnosed trichomonal vaginitis were positive for Trichomonas vaginalis by wet smear and culture. The mean age of patients was 33.6±9.7 yr, and majority of them were married and non-pregnant. Some (5 patients) infected cases were divorced and others (7 patients) hus­band were car driver. There was not statistically significant relationship be­tween clinical diagnosis and laboratory findings (P>0.5), because the most of pa­tients diagnosed trichomoniasis, were infected by Candida or other vaginal infec­tions.

Conclusion: Because of special cultural background, the vaginal trichomoniasis has minor importance problem in this population and clinical diagnosis is not effi­cient for treatment decision.

Keywords: Trichomoniasis, Prevalence, Clinical diagnosis, Iran  


For more than a century following its ini­tial description in 1836, Trichomonas vaginalis was considered either a harm­less vaginal colo­nizer or simply a minor nui­sance [1].  More re­cently, it has been recognized that T. vaginalis in­fection may be associated with a range of ad­verse reproductive health out­comes, including preterm birth [2-4], cervical neo­plasia [5, 6], post-hysterectomy infection [7], atypical pel­vic in­flammatory disease [8, 9], and in­fertility [10]. The parasite also is a major cause of vagini­tis, cervicitis, urethritis and pelvic in­flammatory dis­ease in women and may cause nongonococ­cal urethritis, prostatitis, and per­haps other lower ge­nitourinary tract syndromes in men [11]. In recent years, it has been appreci­ated that Trichomonas may play a critical role in amplify­ing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission [12].

While there is continued debate about the causal linkage between T. vaginalis infection and ob­stet­rical, gynecological, and infectious complica­tions, it is generally recognized that the inci­dence of this sexually transmitted infec­tion (STI) has reached epidemic levels in many regions world­wide. In 1999, the World Health Or­ganization (WHO) estimated the global inci­dence of T. va­ginalis infection to be 173 mil­lion cases annu­ally, making this parasite the most common cause of non-viral STI [12]. The greatest burden of disease was observed in less developed re­gions, but a high incidence was also found in North America (8 million cases an­nually) and Western Europe (11 million cases annually) [13, 14].

Because the increasing changes of the social norms in developing countries, such as Islamic Republic of Iran, epidemiologic studies of STDs is an essential need for evaluating the health im­portance of these infections and notice them in clinical practice. Our objective was to de­scribe the frequency of T. vaginalis infection in a rela­tively traditional society and, its relation­ship with clinical symptoms. Because clinical symptoms as­sociated with vaginitis are various and result in mis­diagnosis, the clinical di­agnosis alone is often deceptive. Therefore, sec­ond objective of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of clinical di­agnosis in compari­son with laboratory findings. 


In this cross sectional descriptive study, a total of 683 women admitted to public and pri­vate gynecology clinics evaluated for T. vagi­nalis infection by clinical examination, di­rect wet mount and culture methods. Chief com­plain, signs and symptoms of patients re­corded, and vaginal swab samples from distal fornix were obtained dur­ing clinic visit and vagi­nal examination. One swab were examined by direct wet mount method pre­pared by saline normal, and other swab sample cultured in Dia­mond medium. Direct wet mount prepared and ex­amined immediately in clinic by an expert tech­nician. Cultured tubes were kept in an incu­bator with 37º C temperatures and examined mi­croscopically after 24 h. For negative cul­tures results, fresh medium were added in the tubes and kept for one 48 h more. Only the pa­tients diagnosed as having trichmoniasis on the basis of clinical signs and symptoms, compared with the results of wet mount examination and cul­tured vaginal specimens (in terms of being  po­sitive for T. vaginalis).


The age range of study population was 15 through 68 yr. Majority (32%) of them was educated in high school and 88.7% were home­makers. The chief compliant of patients was va­gi­nal discharge, itching, burning, and chaf­ing. About 8.7% of patients mentioned the his­tory of tri­cho­moniasis (diagnosed clinically) and were already treated for this infection.

Trichomonas vaginalis infection was identi­fied in 2.2% (15/683) of the patients in both wet mount and cultured samples; however, 4.4% (30/ 683) patients had symptoms related to tricho­monal infection. The most of patients (31%) had discharge and itching that diagnosed Candida sp in the stained vaginal smears. A strik­ing finding was the infected individuals were divorced and were supporting by charity in­stitutions or, here husband were truck driver (Table 1). There was not significant relation­ship between clinical diagno­sis and laboratory findings, because most of pa­tients diagnosed trichomoniasis, were infected to Candida or other vaginal infections.

Table 1: Laboratory findings of 683 patients ini­tially diagnosed as trichomoniasis

Laboratory findings


Percent (%)

Trichomonas vaginalis



Trichomonal symptoms



Candida sp



Abnormal discharge



Normal discharge







This study indicated that trichomoniasis is not a major problem, at least in some parts of Iran, especially in the traditional societies. How­ever, some reports from other parts of Iran have shown higher prevalence of trichomoni­asis in the at risk groups, such as women taken in prison [15]. Totally, trichomoniasis reported from as low as 0.46% to as high as 33.7% in dif­ferent parts of Iran [15, 16]. The differences in the prevalence of trichomoniasis between so­cieties and sub-populations almost cleared by various epidemi­ologic studies, but some minor differences in so­cial norms can influences on trichomoniasis [11]. Bacterial vaginosis and Can­dida vul­vovagini­tis are responsible for 90% of cases of vaginitis. Many cases of bacterial vaginosis are asympto­matic or present with only malodor­ous vaginal discharge and no in­flamma­tory com­plaints. There­fore, many vagi­nal infections diag­nosed tricho­moniasis clini­cally, can be bacterial vaginosis [17].

This result of this study is comparable with re­ports from some other Islamic countries for ex­ample Libya that reported a 1.2% prevalence of trichmoniasis (29/2450) from Benghazi City [18-22]. Another study conducted in Saudi Arabia Kingdom reported a prevalence of 28% (10967/ 39049 patients) trichomoniasis among to­tal SDTs recorded during 6 yr in a tradi­tional soci­ety [23]. Prevalence of trichomoniasis in­fection is different in the various parts of Iran. For ex­ample, prevalence of trichomoniasis infec­tion is 17% (12/141) in Zahedan [24]; 9.9% (100/1010) in Kashan [25]; 10.75% (43/400) in Bandar Abbas [26]; 1.37% (275/19530) in Chahar­mahal and Bakhtiari Province [15], 9% in Kerman [27] and, 5.6% in Mashad [28]. Majority of studies conducted in the gynecology clinics or mother and child health centers that could be consid­ered as representative of general popula­tion of women.

Most of epidemiologic studies of tricho­moni­asis conducted on females and in the gyne­col­ogy clinics, because of known risk fac­tors and easy access to target population [29-33]. Re­cently, in some developed countries the inci­dence of tri­chomoniasis infection is decrease by hard in­tervention and control measures such as health education, mass screening, and treat­ment of confirmed cases in high-risk groups [34].

In considering how a public health response to T. vaginalis might be implemented, a num­ber of important questions must be addressed. For example, who would be screened and at what intervals? What type of testing should be used? What approaches would be most effec­tive for case reporting and ensuring partner treat­ment? While the answers to these ques­tions are beyond the scope of this article, it is worth noting that the essential tools for T. vaginalis control are already available. A range of diagnostic tests, including vaginal saline wet mount microscopy, culture, rapid antigen test­ing, and nucleic acid amplification and detec­tion, provide alternatives that could be used in a variety of settings [35]. Oral metronidazole and ti­nidazole offer inexpensive, effective, and gener­ally well-tolerated treatment options that are widely available [1]. This study was limited to those patients who were admitted to some se­lective gy­necology clinics. Therefore, these pa­tients might not be the representative of gen­eral population of the women in Hamadan Prov­ince.


This study indicated that tri­chomoniasis infection is not noticeable, as mush as other organisms such as Candida sp., thus, other bacterial vaginosis must come to atten­tion.    


This work was partially supported by Re­search Department of Hamadan University of Me­dical Science grant, hereby gratefully ac­knowl­edged. We gratefully acknowledge Miss Karim­khani and Mrs. Habibi for assistance in speci­men's collection and parasite culture. We also thank all patients for kindly cooperation. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. 


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