Sexually Transmitted Infections: Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) caused by a parasite known as Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV).

The parasite typically infects the vagina and the urethra of the female. In men, the parasite can infect the urethra, the tip of the penis or the prostate gland.

What are the Symptoms of Trichomoniasis?

Most people with Trichomoniasis do not present with any symptoms. Yet, they can still pass the infection to others.

Symptoms can surface within 1 month of infection.

In women, one can experience

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge- the color of the discharge can vary from thin colorless to thick yellow-green in color
  • Vaginal odor- such as fishy like smell
  • Itch, swelling, and pain over vagina
  • Pain or discomfort on urinating
  • Pain on having sex
  • Abnormal bleeding: between menses, after sex

In men, one can experience

  • Pain on urinating
  • Pain on ejaculating
  • Increase in terms of frequency of urinating
  • Abnormal discharge from penis- thin to thick white-yellow discharge
  • Pain and redness over the tip of penis or foreskin

What do I expect when I see my doctor?

Trichomoniasis can be confused with other STIs as they share similar presenting symptoms.

Your doctor will enquire about relevant medical and sexual histories followed closely by physical examinations including a genital examination. A swab test and urine test may be offered to collect samples from abnormal discharges and urine samples to screen for the responsible parasites. Your doctor may offer you other STIs screening if you are at risk.

What are the Treatment Options available for Trichomoniasis?

Your doctor may advise you to start treatment even before the test results are out.

Trichomoniasis is treated with antibiotics:

  • Metronidazole – twice a day for 5-7 days.
    You should inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as metronidazole may not be suitable for you. Other treatment options will be discussed.

Your recent partners are advised for the screening and treatment of Trichomoniasis. If your partner is not treated, you may have a chance of reinfection.

You are advised to abstain from sex until you have completed your antibiotics treatment and your symptoms resolved.

Why should I treat Trichomoniasis?

Although complication from Trichomoniasis is uncommon, it can be associated with premature delivery and low birth weight if left untreated in a pregnant woman.

How can I prevent getting Trichomoniasis?

  • Practise barrier contraception with the use of condoms every time during sexual intercourse
  • Avoid sharing sex toys
  • Ensure sex toys are washed before use and cover them with a condom before use

Safe sex is the key.

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