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Trichomoniasis

What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is spread between people during sex or genital contact. Trichomoniasis is caused by tiny parasites that are too small to be seen.

What are the signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis?

You may not have any symptoms. If you have symptoms, they usually appear 5 to 28 days after you were exposed. If young children and teenagers get trichomoniasis, it may be a sign of sexual abuse. Tell a caregiver immediately if you suspect sexual abuse.

  • In women: You may notice a discharge from your vagina that is bad smelling, bubbly, or yellow or green. Your vagina may itch or hurt. You may have pain when you urinate and feel like you need to urinate often. You may also have lower stomach pain or pain during sex.

  • In men: You may feel irritation, burning, or pain in your penis during or after urinating or ejaculating. You may have an unusual discharge from your penis. Many men do not have signs or symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you are still able to spread the infection to your partner.

How is trichomoniasis diagnosed?

Your caregiver will ask questions about your sexual history. Tell him if you have a history of STIs. This will help determine the cause of your symptoms. You may need the following:

  • Pelvic exam: This is also called an internal or vaginal exam. Your caregiver will gently put a warmed speculum into your vagina. A speculum is a tool that opens your vagina. Your caregiver will look to see if you have red patches on your cervix or vagina. This may mean you have trichomoniasis.

  • Discharge sample and culture: If you have discharge from your penis or vagina, your caregiver may take a sample of it to test for the parasite that causes trichomoniasis.

How is trichomoniasis treated?

You will need to take antibiotic medicine to kill the parasite, even if you have no symptoms. Tell your sex partners that you have trichomoniasis. Anyone you have had sex with recently must also be treated. If your partner is not treated, they may give the infection back to you or infect someone else. Take your medicine as ordered until it is gone, even if you feel better. Do not have sex until both you and your partner have taken all of your medicine, and your symptoms are gone. Ask your caregiver when it is safe to have sex again.

How can I prevent another trichomoniasis infection?

You can get trichomoniasis more than once. Limit the number of sexual partners you have to decrease your risk for another infection. Do not have unprotected sex (including oral sex). Always wear a latex condom during sex to prevent trichomoniasis and other STIs. Use a new condom after each ejaculation.

What are the risks of trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis increases the risk that other STIs, including HIV, will be spread from person to person. Tell your caregiver if you know or think you are pregnant. A trichomoniasis infection can be dangerous for a pregnant woman. It may cause your water to break too soon, or your baby to be born too early or too small.

Where can I find support and more information?

  • Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd.
    Atlanta , GA 30333
    Phone: 1- 800 - 232-4636
    Web Address: http://www.cdc.gov/std
  • American Social Health Association (ASHA)
    P.O. Box 13827
    Research Triangle Park , NC 27709
    Web Address: http://www.ashastd.org

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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