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Trichomoniasis is a widespread sexually transmitted infection that is more common in females than males. Testing for trichomoniasis can be challenging as many people have no symptoms.
Trichomoniasis is a type of sexually transmitted infection (STI) with symptoms that include irritation around the genitals. This article discusses trichomoniasis symptoms, when to see a doctor, testing, and treatment.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
The Trichomonas vaginalis parasite causes trichomoniasis. The disease is transmissible through sex, typically through penile-vaginal contact but also through vagina-to-vagina contact and shared sex toys.
There is no clear reason why some people who have the infection show symptoms and others do not. Symptoms usually appear
Symptoms for females typically include:
- irritation, itching, and inflammation of the genitals
- discomfort during urination
- a discharge from the vagina that can appear white, yellow, or greenish and have an unpleasant odor
Symptoms for males typically include:
- irritation or itching inside the penis
- a burning sensation following urination or ejaculation
- abnormal discharge from the penis
Trichomoniasis can spread from asymptomatic individuals who have the infection to others.
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If applicable, people should not consume alcohol when they are taking medication to treat trichomoniasis. They should also
Doctors do not typically prescribe this treatment for trichomoniasis, and people should not use it as an alternative to antibiotics unless a doctor advises it.
Nausea and vomiting are some possible side effects of antibiotic treatment for trichomoniasis. These are more
It can be difficult to diagnose trichomoniasis even where symptoms exist because they typically resemble those of other STIs. A person who believes they have trichomoniasis should speak with a doctor, who will recommend various tests to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Home tests are available, making it possible for people to connect with certified labs from the privacy of their homes. Some options include:
This company offers three sexual health tests, including trichomoniasis.
Individuals take their samples at home, send them off with a prepaid mailing label, and check their results 2–5 days later at a secure online location. Doctors review the test results, and a nursing team will provide a consultation.
The standard package testing for the six most common STIs costs $119.
One of the 30 tests this company conducts is a urine test for trichomoniasis.
Users send their urine samples in a prepaid biohazard bag that comes with the test kits. A board certified doctor contacts people to discuss the next steps if their test results are positive.
The test costs $49.
People should always speak with a doctor if they receive positive or uncertain test results.
Abstinence from vaginal, anal, and oral sex is the only certain way to prevent STIs, including trichomoniasis.
Those who choose to engage in sexual activity can minimize their risk of infection by:
- being in a mutually monogamous relationship with both partners regularly testing negative for STIs
- using latex condoms during sexual interaction
Those who are sexually active should consider regular testing for STIs. Many people might experience no trichomoniasis symptoms, but treatment is necessary because the infection may increase the
- contracting or transmitting HIV
- problems with pregnancy, including premature delivery and low birth weight
- contracting or transmitting herpes
People who notice symptoms should see a doctor for testing. They may have trichomoniasis or another condition that requires treatment.
People should also see a doctor if they test positive for another STI or a sexual partner tests positive for trichomoniasis or another STI.
People getting tested for trichomoniasis do not need to make any special preparations.
Testing for females usually involves a visual examination of the genitals. A healthcare professional will then use a small brush or swab to take a sample of vaginal discharge and tissue cells, which a laboratory technician will examine under a microscope. Females may also provide a urine sample.
When testing males, a healthcare professional conducts a visual examination of the penis and uses a swab to collect a cell sample from the urethra. Males also need to conduct a urine test.
People with trichomoniasis should follow a full course of antibiotic treatment as prescribed by a healthcare professional.
They should keep in mind that they can become reinfected with trichomoniasis. The
The best way for people to avoid reinfection is to notify sexual partners of their infection diagnosis so that they can also seek antibiotic treatment.
Those who have had trichomoniasis should get retested for the infection 3 months after completing treatment or sooner if symptoms emerge.
Trichomoniasis and pregnancy
Trichomoniasis can cause
The following are common questions and answers about trichomoniasis treatment:
Which antibiotics treat trichomoniasis?
Doctors usually prescribe metronidazole, tinidazole, or secnidazole to treat trichomoniasis.
How long does it take for trichomoniasis to go away after treatment?
Trichomoniasis symptoms usually clear in 7–10 days with treatment.
What will happen if trichomoniasis is left untreated?
Trichomoniasis infections are unlikely to clear on their own. Without treatment, trichomoniasis infections can increase a person’s risk of contracting HIV and herpes and cause problems with pregnancies.
The majority of people with trichomoniasis do not have symptoms. However, the disease can lead to significant health problems without proper treatment. These include a greater risk of getting or transmitting HIV and pregnancy issues.
Treatment with antibiotics is the standard approach to trichomoniasis and is generally effective.