What is Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis, commonly called “trich”, is recognised as being one of the most common forms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which is actually able to lie dormant for a number of years and does not always result in any symptoms, unfortunately making it easily spreadable. This parasitic infection is identified as being caused by the trichomonas vaginalis parasite, invading the vagina (women) or urethra (men).

Transmission

Trichomoniasis is normally transmitted sexually through contact between the penis and vagina or between two women through vulva on vulva contact. Unlike many STI's, trichomoniasis can also be transmitted through contact with damp items such as towels.

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Trichomoniasis in Men and Women?

Symptoms appear 1-3 weeks after infection.

Most men do not have symptoms, if they do, the symptoms can include:

  • Thin, white discharge
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Painful urination
  • Pain during intercourse

Women are much more likely to have symptoms, though some do not. Female symptoms include:

  • Itching and irritation of the genital area
  • Painful urination
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Sexual discomfort
  • Vaginal discharge that is thick and either gray or yellowish-green

Upon recognizing one is suffering from any of the above symptoms, seek medical advice as soon as possible from a specialist STD clinic or from a family doctor. This is necessary to rule out any other forms of STDs and due to the fact that Trichomoniasis has been indicated as facilitating the spread of HIV. A diagnosis is made by the doctor or nurse taking a swab, which is then sent off to a laboratory for testing. As symptoms often go unnoticed or are not present, there is a very high risk of passing the infection on, making it even more crucial to always have protected sex, in order to reduce the risk of picking up an STD.

What Are the Complications and Risks of Trichomoniasis?

There are a couple serious complications linked with Trichomoniasis:

Partners and Re-infection

It is imperative that if one partner has trichomoniasis that all sexual partners are treated since men often exhibit no symptoms they can easily pass the parasite unknowingly.

How is Trichomoniasis Treated?

Trichomoniasis is usually treated with:

  • Metronidazole, otherwise known as Flagyl and Metrozol.
  • Topical Cream. For those patients allergic to Metronidazole.

A common side effect of this medication includes having an upset stomach, with the treatment usually requiring the patient to take 400mg twice a day for a period of one week.

Recovery Time

Treatment is done in a single day, but it may take several more days to successfully rid your body of the parasite.

Sexual Activity

It is recommended that you cease sexual activity until you and your partner are successfully treated.

How is Trichomoniasis Prevented?

While correct and consistent condom use may help prevent the spread of the illness, abstinence or a long-term, monogamous relationship with an illness-free partner is the only sure preventative measure. Additionally, avoid sharing items such as towels to avoid transmission in that manner.

Mark Riegel, MD
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Quick Snapshot

Can it be cured?

Yes. Trichomoniasis is easily treated with antibiotics.

Type of Infection

Parasitic. Trichomoniasis is caused by the parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis.

How is it treated?

Antibiotics. A single dose of Metronidazole.

Recovery Time

Less than 1 week. May require several days after treatment.

Can I have sex?

No. It is recommended that you cease sexual activity until you and your partner are successfully treated.

Can I get re-infected?

Yes. If you have unprotected sex with an infected partner, you will likely be re-infected.

Do I Have Trichomoniasis?

Find out whether or not you have Trichomoniasis (Trich) and what STD test is recommended using our anonymous symptom checker. Get your personalized recommendations now!

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