What is trichomoniasis?
Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is an STD caused by a tiny parasite called trichomonas vaginalis. It can be easily passed on through sex and most people are unaware they are infected.
How do I get trichomoniasis?
You can get trichomoniasis mainly through vaginal sex with someone who has it.
Do I have trichomoniasis?
The symptoms of trichomoniasis in women are:
- A frothy, green vaginal discharge.
- An unpleasant odour.
- Intense vaginal itching.
- Redness and pain in vaginal area.
- Frequent passing of urine.
Note that some women show no symptoms at all.
Men don’t usually present any symptoms. Those that do might have:
- Discharge from the penis.
- Burning when passing urine.
- Irritation around tip of the penis.
TV can sometimes be difficult to diagnose and your GP may suggest you go to a specialist clinic for a urine or swab test. The trichomoniasis test for women involves a swab of the vaginal discharge. The infection will often show up on a routine Pap test. For men, the doctor will take a swab from the tip of the penis.
How do you treat trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is unlikely to go away without treatment. The infection may cure itself in rare cases, but you risk passing the infection on to someone else if you are not treated. If left untreated, trichomoniasis can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which can cause infertility. You should not have sex until both you and your partner have finished the treatment.
Trichomoniasis is usually treated quickly and easily with antibiotics. Most people are prescribed an antibiotic called metronidazole which, if taken correctly, is very effective. You will usually have to take metronidazole twice a day, for five to seven days.
Metronidazole can cause nausea, vomiting and a slight metallic taste in your mouth. It is best to take it after eating food. Contact your doctor for advice if you start vomiting because the treatment will not be effective if you are unable to swallow the tablets. Do not drink alcohol while taking metronidazole and for at least 48 hours after finishing the course of antibiotics. Drinking alcohol while taking this medicine can cause more severe side effects.
How do you prevent trichomoniasis?
You should avoid having sex while you are being treated for trichomoniasis, as you may become re-infected. If you were prescribed a single dose of antibiotics, you need to avoid having sex for seven days after you have taken the medication. It is very important that your current sexual partner and any other recent partners are also tested and treated. If your sexual partner is not treated, this increases the risk of re-infection.