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Innermost Secrets / Innermost Living / Body Clock
Skip Navigation LinksTrichomonas Vaginalis
Page modified at: 21/02/2010

Trichomonas VaginalisTrichomonas Vaginalis is sexually transmitted parasitic infection and both men and women can become infected.

It is very common but in 50% of cases in women the infection is silent and there are no symptoms.
 
 

 
How is Trichomonas spread?
Trichomonas is usually passed from one person to another during vaginal, oral or anal sex, or by sharing sex toys.
 
How do I reduce the risk of catching Trichomonas?

  • Male and female condoms, when used correctly, can help protect against STIs
  • Before you have sex, talk to your partner about using condoms
  • Use condoms every time you have vaginal or anal sex
  • If you have oral sex, use a dam

 
How do I reduce the risk of passing Trichomonas on to others?
Testing and treating (if appropriate) all sexual contacts helps to prevent the infection being passed on to others. The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual contact or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.  
Avoiding alcohol and drug use may also help prevent transmission of Trichomonas  because these activities may lead to risky sexual behavior. It is important that sex partners talk to each other about their HIV status and history of other STDs so that preventive action can be taken.
Transmission of an STD, including Trichomonas cannot be prevented by washing the genitals, urinating, and/or douching after sex. Any unusual discharge, sore, or rash, particularly in the groin area, should be a signal to refrain from having sex and to see a doctor immediately.
 
What are the symptoms of Trichomonas?
In women, it lives only in the vagina and the urethra, causing urethritis and vaginitis. It is pathogenic to the genitourinary tract. In men it can also cause urethritis and progress to prostatitis.
 
Women might notice:

    * Nothing – 50% are silent
    * Unusual vaginal discharge  - usually a pale frothy yellow-green colour
    * Vulvar itching (often severe) with burning, redness and swelling
    * Bleeding between periods or during or after sex
    * Pain with sex or when passing urine

Men might notice:

    * Men with Trichomonas  often have urethritis and it can lead to prostatitis
    * Urethritis characterized by pain passing urine,and urethral discharge
    * Pain when passing urine
    * Pain when ejaculating
 
What happens if Trichomonasisn't treated?
Without treatment, the infection can spread to other parts of the body causing damage and long-term health problems, including infertility. Vaginal trichomoniasis has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, particularly premature rupture of membranes, preterm delivery, and low birthweight. However, data do not suggest that metronidazole treatment results in a reduction in perinatal morbidity.
 
In women, Trichomonas can cause urethritis, cervicitis . In pregnancy, the infection can be passed from a mother to a newborn daughter.
 
In men, Trichomonas can lead to painful infection in the testicles, persistent urethritis, and prostatitis.
 
How can I reduce the risk of catching Trichomonas?
Practising safer sex reduces the risk of infection with Trichomonas
 
How do I reduce the risk of passing Trichomonas on to others?
Testing and treating (if appropriate) all sexual contacts helps to prevent the infection being passed on to others. Sex partners of patients with T. vaginalis should be treated. Patients should be instructed to avoid sex until they and their sex partners are cured (i.e., when therapy has been completed and patient and partner(s) are asymptomatic).
 
How do I get testing or treatment for Trichomonas?
If you think you might have Trichomonas it's important to be tested quickly. Testing for Trichomonas by PCR is specific and will outperform culture (swabs etc)
 
NHS:Testing is free on the NHS from genitourinary medicine clinics, sexual health clinics, many contraception clinics, your GP and pharmacies. You can find an clinic to help with Trichomonas by phoning directory enquiries and asking for genitourinary medicine, sexually transmitted disease or venereal disease or locate one using our NHS Genitourinary Medicine Clinic page in the Sexual Health Section of our website.
 
PRIVATE:Alternatively you can have confidential private testing through us based on a urine sample.   Telephone 0845 2303386 or use the Confidential Text Service 07786202070
 
How is Trichomonas treated?
Trichomonas is easy to treat with antibiotics.
Recommended Regimens: Metronidazole 2 g orally in a single dose   OR  Tinidazole 2 g orally in a single dose OR as an alternative regimen: Metronidazole 500 mg orally twice a day for 7 days
 
Patients should be advised to avoid consuming alcohol during treatment with metronidazole or tinidazole.  Abstinence from alcohol use should continue for 24 hours after completion of metronidazole or 72 hours after completion of tinidazole.
 
The effectiveness of Metronidazole is approximately 90%–95%, and Tinidazole approximately 86%–100%. The appropriate treatment of sex partners might increase these reported rates. Randomized controlled trials comparing single 2 g doses of metronidazole and tinidazole suggest that tinidazole is equivalent to, or superior to, metronidazole in achieving parasitologic cure and resolution of symptoms .
 
Treatment of patients and sex partners results in relief of symptoms, microbiologic cure, and reduction of transmission.  
Tell your doctor or nurse if you're pregnant, or think you might be, or you're breastfeeding - this might affect the type of antibiotic you're given. To avoid reinfection, any sexual partners should be treated too. If complications occur, another treatment might be needed.
Follow-up is unnecessary for men and women who become asymptomatic after treatment or who are initially asymptomatic

 

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