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Campus Health

Health Education

Sexual Health

STDs: Trichomoniasis
What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis ("trich") is a common STD caused by single-celled protozoan parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis. The infection occurs in both men and women, with the male urethra and the female vagina being the most common sites of infection.

How is trichomoniasis transmitted?

Trichomoniasis is transmitted through vaginal intercourse or vulva-to-vulva contact. Women can acquire the infection from infected men or women, but men usually contract it only from infected women. Transmission can occur regardless of the presence of symptoms.

Is trichomoniasis common?

Trichomoniasis is not a nationally reportable STD, so statistics on its occurrence are not available. It is believed, however, that trichomoniasis is the most common, curable STD in young, sexually active women. The CDC estimates that there 7.4 million new cases in men and women in the United States each year.

What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis?

Women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of trichomoniasis, and symptoms usually appear between 5 and 28 days following exposure.

Symptoms in women include:

  • Frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge
  • Strong, unpleasant odor
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain during urination
  • Itching and irritation of the genital area
  • Lower abdominal pain (rare)

When symptoms occur in men, they include:

  • Temporary irritation inside the penis
  • Mild discharge
  • Slight burning sensation after urination or ejaculation
How is trichomoniasis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will take a sample of discharge from the vagina or the urethra to determine if the trichomoniasis protozoan is present. A urine sample can detect trichomoniais.

How is trichomoniasis treated?

Trichomoniasis is treated with oral antibiotics. Even if your symptoms go away, take all of the medication prescribed to you to avoid recurrence.

Does my partner need to be treated?

Yes. Even if your partner has no symptoms, s/he can continue to infect or re-infect his partner. Both partners should be treated at the same time and avoid sexual contact until the parasite is eliminated.