Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a one-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.
The infection is transmitted through sexual contact mainly from vaginal sex which include penis to vagina contact or vagina to vagina contact. The infection cannot be transmitted from oral sex or anal sex. Infected women may carry the parasite in the vagina, vulva, or urethra. Infected men who are not circumcised may carry the parasite under the foreskin and in the urethra. Infected people with no symptoms can transmit the parasite and infect others during sexual contact. People with the infection have increase risk of getting infected with HIV virus.
Trichomoniasis can infect both men and women, but women are more likely to get infected than men. Women are also more likely than men to experience variety of symptoms and some people may not experience any symptoms.
Infected women most commonly experience vaginal discharge (white, yellow, or green in color) with unpleasant smell. Other symptoms may also include inflammation of the vagina and vulva, itchy and soreness on the vagina and vulva, painful intercourse, and painful urination.
The infection from the vagina may spread up and infect the urethra and the cervix. If left untreated, long term infection of the cervix may develop into cervical cancer. Pregnant women who are not treated for the infection have increase risk of going into premature labor.
Infected men may experience mild discharge from the urethra,
itching urethra, painful urination, painful ejaculation, and some may
experience swelling in the scrotum or swelling of the
Proper diagnosis is required to detect the presence of the infection by visiting your health care physician. The physician may perform a pap smear to diagnose women but the infection can be difficult to diagnose in men. If the woman is diagnosed with trichomoniasis infection, her sexual partners should also be treated at the same time to prevent re-infection.
The infection can be treated with a single 2 grams dose of metronidazole or a single dose of tinidazole taken orally. Pregnant women can also be treated with oral medication but for those who are allergic to metronidazole or tinidazole they can be treated with topical creams that are less effective as oral medication. Topical creams can reduce the symptoms and may not cure the infection.
Alcohol should be avoided while taking oral medication as this
can cause side effects such as abdominal pain and vomiting. You should
be treated completely before engaging in sexual activity and all your
sexual partners should also be treated completely to avoid re-infection.
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