A sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Trichomoniasis is one of the most common curable STIs in the world.
Trichomoniasis can cause various symptoms in men and women, but some people may have no symptoms at all. Common symptoms in women include:
- A frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong odor
- Vaginal itching or irritation
- Pain during sex or urination
- Redness or swelling of the genitals
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
Trichomoniasis is caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, which spreads through sexual contact. It can be passed from a woman to a man, from a man to a woman, and from a woman to another woman. The parasite can survive for a short time on surfaces like towels, underwear, and toilet seats, but it is not transmitted through casual contact like hugging or shaking hands.
Trichomoniasis can be diagnosed by a healthcare provider with a physical exam and laboratory tests. The healthcare provider may take a sample of vaginal fluid or discharge in women or a urine sample in men to test for the presence of the parasite. Tests can be done in a lab or using a rapid diagnostic test kit. It is important to get tested regularly for STIs if you are sexually active.
Trichomoniasis can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic is metronidazole, which can be taken orally or as a gel that is inserted into the vagina. It is important to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed and to abstain from sexual activity during treatment and for at least one week after treatment is completed.
The best way to prevent trichomoniasis and other STIs is to practice safe sex. This includes using condoms or dental dams during vaginal, anal, and oral sex, and getting regular STI testing if you are sexually active. It is also important to limit the number of sexual partners you have and to talk openly with your partners about STIs and safe sex.
When to call a doctor:
If you experience any symptoms of trichomoniasis, it is important to see a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment. It is also important to get tested for STIs regularly if you are sexually active, even if you have no symptoms.
Myths and facts:
Myth: Trichomoniasis only affects women.
Fact: Trichomoniasis can affect both men and women.
Myth: You can get trichomoniasis from toilet seats.
Fact: Trichomoniasis is not transmitted through casual contact like toilet seats.
Myth: Trichomoniasis is not a serious infection.
Fact: While trichomoniasis can usually be cured with antibiotics, it can lead to other health problems if left untreated, including an increased risk of acquiring or transmitting other STIs, and complications during pregnancy.