Trichomoniasis is caused by the organism Trichomonas vaginalis. It is transmitted through sexual contact with a person who has this infection.
Trichomoniasis during pregnancy may lead to low birth weight babies and premature birth.
Symptoms of trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is detected more often in women and rarely in men. Some women don’t have any symptoms of infection. When symptoms are present, they may include:
- a yellowy green, ‘frothy’ discharge
- an unpleasant odour
- vaginal or vulval itching.
Men usually don’t develop symptoms, but they may be carriers of the infection. Symptoms in men may include a discharge from the penis and burning during urination.
Diagnosis of trichomoniasis
For women, a vaginal examination and swab is required.
For men, a swab is taken from the penis if discharge is present. Otherwise, a urine sample can be collected.
Treatment for trichomoniasis
Antibiotics are used to treat trichomoniasis. This will involve one of either:
- metronidazole (Flagyl) – a single dose, taken with food
- tinidazole (Fasigyn) – a single dose, taken with food.
Avoid drinking alcohol during treatment and for 48 hours after taking metronidazole, or for 72 hours after taking tinidazole.
Side effects of treatment for trichomoniasis
These medications may cause:
- nausea or an upset stomach
- a metallic taste in your mouth, which will disappear soon after the treatment is completed.
Preventing re-infection of trichomoniasis
If you have trichomoniasis, all sexual partners should be treated – regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. It is recommended that you either have no sex or have completely protected sex (use a condom before any physical contact occurs) until treatment is completed for both you and your partner.
Recurrences of trichomoniasis can occur
Occasionally, trichomoniasis may recur after the initial infection has been treated. If this occurs, consult your GP, who may prescribe a longer course of treatment.
Where to get help
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
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