Articles on: STIs

Trichomoniasis 101

What is Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis (or “trich”) is an STI which is often present alongside other STIs and is caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Although symptoms vary, most of those who have the parasite wont know they are infected.

How does a Trichomoniasis infection occur?

Trichomoniasis is spread through bodily fluids. The most common events that cause the spread of Trichomoniasis are:

Unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex;
Mutual use or the sharing of sex toys with an infected person; or
Genital contact (even if there’s no penetration, orgasm, or ejaculation).

What are the symptoms of Trichomoniasis?

Symptoms usually do so within 4 weeks of exposure, although Trichomoniasis symptoms can flare up at any time after infection. Symptoms of Trichomoniasis may include:

Lower abdominal pain;
Unusual discharge from your vagina - e.g. yellow or green with a froth like texture which may be thick or thin sometimes coupled with a foul smell;
Unusual discharge from your penis - e.g. white and thin;
Painful urination;
Pain, itching, and/ or redness around the vagina;
Pain, swelling, and/ or redness around of the tip of your penis;
Pain when you have sex; or
Pain when you ejaculate.

It is estimated that 50% of women, and 50% of men will not have symptoms when they have a Trichomoniasis infection. It is still possible to pass Trichomoniasis on to others through the transmission methods mentioned above.

How is Trichomoniasis treated?

Trichomoniasis is treated with a course of antibiotics. Trichomoniasis can cause genital inflammation that makes it easier to get infected with HIV, or to pass the HIV virus on to a sex partner.

Contro's Partner Doctors are able to assist you with obtaining the correct antibiotic treatment plan for Trichomoniasis. Sign up here, book a private and affordable consultation and get your medication delivered free to your door in discreet packaging.

Do I have to finish my course of antibiotics?

Yes, you must always take and finish your course of antibiotics as prescribed by the attending doctor.

When should I get treatment for Trichomoniasis?

If you or your partner(s) have any of the above symptoms, your partner tells you they have Trichomoniasis or another STI, or you had unprotected sex with someone new, you should either get tested or seek treatment immediately. Unless you have symptoms, it is recommend that you wait 2 weeks from the time of exposure to test for Trichomoniasis as Trichomoniasis can take up 2 weeks to be detected.

Importantly, if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant, and are concerned you may have Trichomoniasis, you should should seek immediate attention and/or advice from a medical professional.
If you believe you have Trichomoniasis you should either get tested or seek treatment immediately from a qualified medial professional.

What if I test positive for Trichomoniasis?

If you test positive for Trichomoniasis, you should seek treatment immediately. You must not engage in sexual activity (e.g. oral, vaginal, or anal sex, genital contact, or use sex toys). It’s important that your recent sexual partner(s) are also tested and treated. This includes anyone you are currently having sex with, anyone you’ve had sex with in the last 6 months, and your last sexual partner. Once you and your partner(s) have completed treatment, you can then safely resume sexual activity.

What if I don't treat a Trichomoniasis infection?

If left untreated and unattended to, Trichomoniasis has the ability to cause long-term health complications such as:

Increased risk of contracting HIV; or
If you are pregnant, you have a higher risk of giving birth prematurely and your baby may have a low birth weight - less than 2.5Kgs.

For any further information related to Trichomoniasis please book a consultation with one of our Partner Doctors who will be able to assist and provide you with the correct medical advice. For all non-medical queries you're welcome to contact us through our chat service or at between the hours of 9:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday. Otherwise leave us a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Updated on: 21/02/2024

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