Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Key points

  1. Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is easy to treat with antibiotics.
  2. Some people with trichomoniasis don’t notice symptoms.
  3. You get trichomoniasis by having sexual contact with another person who has trichomoniasis.
  4. Testing: Females will need a swab from the vagina. Trichomoniasis is difficult to test for in men, so men are usually just treated if they have had sex with someone with trichomoniasis.
  5. You need to tell anyone you have had sex with with in the last 2 months to get tested and treated for trichomoniasis.
  6. You should use condoms or avoid sex for 7 days after you and your partner(s) have been treated so you don’t pass the infection on to someone else.

Causes

Trichomoniasis is transmitted through contact with genital fluids from the penis or vagina. Ιt can also be passed on by sharing sex toys, e.g. vibrators.

Symptoms

About 70% of infected people do not have any signs or symptoms. When trichomoniasis does cause symptoms, they can range from mild irritation to severe inflammation. Some people with symptoms get them within 5 to 28 days after being infected, but others do not develop symptoms until much later. Symptoms can come and go.

Women

  • undefinedYour may feel pain, burn or itch in the genital area.
  • Sometimes you may notice a discharge or fluid leaking from the vagina.
  • There is sometimes a bad smell or odour in the genital area.
  • Many women have no symptoms. 

Men

  • Μost men do not have symptoms, however they can still pass trichomoniasis on.
  • Some men may have discharge or fluid leaking from the penis and/or pain when passing urine.

Treatment

In most cases a single dose of the correct antibiotic reliably and rapidly cures trichomoniasis. The tablets sometimes make you feel a bit sick, but it helps if you take them with
food. Don’t drink alcohol for 24 hours after taking the tablets as it will make you feel really sick. Without treatment, the infection can last for months or even years.

People who have been treated for trichomoniasis can get it again. About 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months after treatment. To avoid getting reinfected, make sure that all of your sex partners get treated too, and wait to have sex again until all of your symptoms go away (about a week). Get checked again if your symptoms come back.

Complications

  • Trichomoniasis can increase the risk of getting or spreading other sexually transmitted infections. For example, trichomoniasis can cause genital inflammation that makes it easier to get infected with the HIV virus, or to pass the HIV virus on to a sex partner.
  • Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are more likely to have their babies too early (preterm delivery). Also, babies born to infected mothers are more likely to have a low birth weight.

Learn more

Trichomoniasis patient information New Zealand Sexual Health Society
Trichomoniasis  CDC Fact Sheet