What is Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis (also known as “trich”) is a very common sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite (a single-celled protozoan organism) called Trichomonas vaginalis. The US Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) estimates that about 3.7million people in the US have this infection.
Both men and women can be infected with trichomoniasis, although it is more common amongst women.
Only 1/3 of infected individuals actually develop symptoms and asymptomatic individuals can still transmit the infection to their sexual partners.
How is Trichomoniasis Transmitted?
Trichomoniasis is transmitted through sexual intercourse. The parasite commonly resides in the urethra in men (the urine tract), and the lower genital tract (including the urethra, vaginal canal and cervix) in women. Transmission occurs with genital to genital sexual contact. Sex toys may potentially be a mode of transmission if shared. The transmission does not occur through oral intercourse.
Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Trichomoniasis are all common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can cause infections in the genitals, rectum and throat. These diseases are easily spread by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is infected with the disease. See: Gonorrhea Symptoms
What are the Symptoms of Trichomoniasis?
In men, the symptoms of trichomoniasis may include:
- Discomfort, itching or an irritation along the urine tract
- Dysuria (pain) or discomfort when passing urine
- Penile discharge
- Discomfort or pain during or after ejaculation
In women, the symptoms of trichomoniasis may include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge, classically described as “frothy green discharge” with a possible “fishy odour”, but which may, in reality, vary from individual to individual
- Vaginal discomfort or itching
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting in between menstrual cycles (known as “intermenstrual bleeding”)
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse (known as “post-coital bleeding”)
- Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
Again, it is crucial to remember that less than half of infected individuals develop symptoms. As with many other STDs, feeling well does not rule out the possibility of trichomoniasis.
Learn More about Other STDs & Other STD Symptoms
- Penile Infection – What are the Causes & Treatment
- Vaginal infection – What are the Causes & Treatment
- Do I Have HIV Rash? Or Are They Other STD-Related Rashes?
- HIV Signs & Symptoms
- An Overview Of STD’s From An STD Doctor
- STD Signs & Symptoms
- STD Symptoms in Women
- Genital Blisters, Genital Warts & Genital Ulcers
- Syphilis Symptoms & Treatment (Painless STD Sores And Rashes)
- Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG) – STD Screening, Testing & Treatment
What are the Possible Complications of Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis infection in women has been shown to increase the risk of acquiring as well as transmitting HIV to partners.
In pregnancy, trichomoniasis increases the risk of preterm labour in pregnancy (going into early labour before the baby is due) and of the infant being of low birth weight.
Sexually Transmitted Infections – Video
How is Trichomoniasis Diagnosed?
In women, trichomoniasis can be diagnosed with a vaginal swab test or a urine test. In men, testing can be done with a urine sample, semen sample or urethral swab. Trichomoniasis is more easily diagnosed in women than in men. See: STD Screening
Test methods that involve nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) are highly accurate, while other methods like a culture (waiting for the parasite to grow on a culture medium) may potentially yield false negatives.
How is Trichomoniasis Treated?
Trichomoniasis is treated with oral antibiotics – either metronidazole or tinidazole. Both sexual partners should be treated so as to minimise the risk of the infection recurring.
How Can I Reduce My Risk of Getting Trichomoniasis?
Observing safe sexual practices can help reduce your risk of trichomoniasis – this includes the proper and regular use of condoms, reducing your number of sexual partners as well as ensuring both you and your partner get tested regularly for STDs, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not.
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