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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
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 healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider will gently put a warmed speculum into your vagina. A speculum is a tool that opens your vagina. Your healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider 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
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