Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis (TV). Symptoms of trichomoniasis will often present themselves within around one month of infection. Men and women can get TV, and if you do have a positive test result and require treatment, your recent sexual partner(s) will also need to be treated.

It is estimated that up to half of all people with the infection will not show any symptoms of TV at all, although it is important to note that these people may still pass the infection on to others.

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What is Trichomoniasis and how is it caused?

Trichomoniasis (or ‘trich’ is a fairly common STI caused by infection with a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Anyone who’s sexually active can get it, and indeed millions of people around the world get trichomoniasis each year.

If you don’t receieve treatment, trich can result in other health problems. For example, it can increase your risk of getting or spreading other STIs. Moreover, for those with HIV, trich may make you more likely to spread the HIV infection.

The parasite that causes trichomoniasis is usually spread through sex without the use of a condom. In addition, it can be spread by the sharing of sex toys if they haven’t been washed or covered with a new condom before use.

Symptoms of Trichomoniasis

Not everyone develops symptoms of trichomoniasis, in fact many do not whatsoever. However, the most common include:

Trichomoniasis symptoms in women

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge that may be thick, thin or frothy and yellow-green in colour.
  • Pain or discomfort when passing urine or during sex.
  • Producing more discharge than normal, which could have a fishy odour.
  • Itching, soreness and swelling and itching around the vagina – sometimes the inner thighs may also become itchy.

Trichomoniasis symptoms in men

  • Thin, white discharge from the penis.
  • Pain when passing urine or during ejaculation.
  • Needing to urinate more frequently than usual.
  • Soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis or foreskin.
Treatment for Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis can be treated quickly effective and quickly with certain antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic for trichomoniasis is Metronidazole, which if taken correctly, can clear up the infection.

Metronidazole is usually taken twice daily for 7 days (14 tablets in total). It is also important to avoid engaging in sex during your treatment for trichomoniasis due to risk of re-infection.

Without appropriate treatment, the infection can last for months or even years. It's also vital that any current or recent sexual partners are also tested and treated. If your sexual partner isn't treated, this greatly increases the risk of re-infection.

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