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Definition

Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease. It often affects the lower genital tract in women and inside of the penis in men. Trichomoniasis is treated with antibiotics.

Causes

Trichomoniasis is caused by a specific parasite. The parasite is passed through sexual contact. It mainly affects genital tissue.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of trichomoniasis include:

  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sex without a condom
  • History of sexually transmitted diseases
Symptoms

Trichomoniasis does not always cause symptoms. Men are less likely to have symptoms than women.

Symptoms in women may include:

  • A foul-smelling, greenish-yellow or gray discharge from the vagina (often in large amounts)
  • Irritation, itching, and/or soreness in the genitals
  • Pain or discomfort when urinating
  • Pain or discomfort with sex

Vagina

Vagina

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Symptoms in men may include:

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Itching and/or irritation in the urethra
  • Pain or discomfort when urinating
  • Burning sensation after ejaculation

Urethra

Male Urethtra

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Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Vaginal fluid or discharge will be examined from women. Urine, semen, or penis discharge will be examined from men. The samples can be sent to a lab to confirm trichomoniasis.

Treatment

Trichomoniasis is can be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic may be given in a single dose or a weeklong course.

Trichomoniasis is easily passed back and forth between sexual partners. Your partner(s) should also be treated, even if symptoms are not present. An infected person can infect their sexual partners even if they do not have symptoms.

For best results:

  • Avoid sex until your treatment is done and your symptoms are gone.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking antibiotics.
Prevention

To help prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like trichomoniasis:

  • Use condoms during sexual intercourse
  • Be monogamous or limit the number of sexual partners

RESOURCES:

American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology
http://www.acog.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Sex Information and Education Council of Canada
http://www.sieccan.org

Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
http://www.sexualityandu.ca

References:

Trichomoniasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/STDFact-Trichomoniasis.htm. Updated August 3, 2012. Accessed May 16, 2013.

Trichomoniasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated September 4, 2012. Accessed May 16, 2013.

Trichomoniasis. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/trichomoniasis/Pages/default.aspx. Updated March 28, 2013. Accessed May 16, 2013.

Workowski KA, Berman S, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.



Last reviewed June 2013 by Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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