What is trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite. It causes smelly vaginal secretions, itchy genitals, and pain when urinating in women.
Affected men usually show no symptoms. Pregnant women with trichomoniasis may have an increased risk of having their babies born prematurely.
What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis?
Many women and most men with trichomoniasis do not feel any symptoms, at least at first. Trichomoniasis signs and symptoms for women:
- Foul-smelling vaginal secretions – they may be white, grey, yellow, or green
- Genital redness, burning, and itching
- Pain during urination or sexual intercourse
Trichomoniasis rarely causes symptoms in men. When men have signs and symptoms, these may include:
- Irritation inside the penis
- Burning sensation during urination or after ejaculation
- Discharge from the penis
What causes trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is caused by a one-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, which is a type of parasitic microorganism that spreads between people during sexual intercourse. The incubation time between exposure and infection is unknown, but it is believed to range from five to twenty-eight days.
How to diagnose trichomoniasis?
A diagnosis of trichomoniasis can be confirmed by examining a sample of vaginal fluid in women or urine in men under a microscope. If the sample is not conclusive, newer, and faster tests can be used, such as rapid antigen and DNA tests.
How to treat trichomoniasis?
The most common treatment for trichomoniasis is to swallow a single large dose of metronidazole (Flagyl), or tinidazole (Tindamax). In some cases, your doctor may recommend a lower dose of metronidazole twice a day for seven days.
If trichomoniasis is left untreated, it may persist for months or years.
Both you and your partner need treatment, and you need to avoid sexual intercourse until the infection is cured.
Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours after taking metronidazole, or 72 hours after taking tinidazole as it can cause severe nausea and vomiting.
Your doctor will retest you for trichomoniasis two weeks to three months after treatment to make sure that the infection has not returned.