What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is one of the most common STDs and can be called “trich”. Symptoms include itching, irritation, and discharge in women and painful urination in men. It is caused by parasites, can be diagnosed by physical examination and microscopic analysis, and can be treated with the antibacterial drug Flagyl (metronidazole).

Trichomoniasis symptoms

Symptoms of trichomoniasis may begin to appear within a few days to a month after you become infected, and symptoms may even delay for several months. In fact, the vast majority of people have no symptoms at all but can still pass the infection on to others.

Women are more likely than men to develop symptoms if they are infected with trichomoniasis.

female symptoms

Symptoms are usually more pronounced in women than in men. Women usually develop symptoms of trichomoniasis within 1 to 4 weeks of the initial infection.

Symptoms of trichomoniasis in women include:

  • irritation and itching in the vagina and surrounding area
  • Foamy, colored vaginal discharge
  • strong vaginal odor
  • Pain during intercourse
  • pain when urinating

female complications

  • Trichomoniasis can negatively affect pregnancy outcomes. Pregnant women infected with the parasite are more likely to give birth prematurely and to have low-birth-weight babies.

male symptoms

Most men with trichomoniasis have no symptoms. When they do, their symptoms are usually mild and include:

  • pain when urinating
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • freed
  • Uncomfortable penis

Trichomoniasis and HIV

If you have trichomoniasis, you are more likely to get HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Trichomoniasis also makes you more likely to pass HIV to your sexual partners if you are HIV positive.The association between trichomoniasis and HIV was stronger in women than in men.

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Trichomoniasis affects both men and women and is caused by a single-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalisThis infection is sexually transmitted and can be spread through sexual intercourse as well as skin-to-skin contact involving the vagina or penis. Parasites are able to live in and around the vagina or in the penis, usually unrelated to effects elsewhere in the body. It is not spread by shaking hands, touching or kissing.

how it spread

The CDC estimates that more than 2 million people in the United States are infected with trichomoniasis. The more common and common it is, the higher the chance of infection. If you have unprotected sex with someone who may be infected, this makes you more likely to get it yourself.

Effects on the body

In women, trichomoniasis can cause a vaginal infection called vaginitis. In men, it can infect the urethra, the tube inside the penis that carries sperm and urine. The parasite invades the lower layers of the skin and produces an inflammatory response. The presence of parasites and the resulting inflammation produces the characteristic itching, pain, discharge, and odor associated with trichomoniasis.


The symptoms of trichomoniasis are somewhat vague and resemble those of a skin disease or other STD. A medical appointment is necessary to confirm the diagnosis, especially since there are prescription antiparasitic treatments that can cure the infection.

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How to Identify Organisms

For both men and women, samples can be tested for the parasite itself and viewed under a microscope. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which can detect the genetic components of the parasite, can also be used to diagnose infection.

female diagnosis

If you have trichomoniasis, your physical exam may reveal vaginal irritation and discharge, and may also have a characteristic odor. Trichomoniasis can also cause irritation of the cervix, which is located in the body and can only be seen by medical examination.

A vaginal or cervical swab can provide a small sample of vaginal discharge. Your healthcare provider can then view the sample under a microscope. This diagnostic method is called using wet installation. It can be used to visualize the parasite itself.

However, the parasites that cause trichomoniasis are not always visible on wet clothes. Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) look for the parasite’s genetic material to aid in diagnosis.

male diagnosis

Men with trichomoniasis are rarely abnormal on the physical exam. If you have symptoms of an infection, your healthcare provider may test for infection using a urine sample or urethral swab.

How to Diagnose Trichomoniasis


Treatment for trichomoniasis is usually effective if you are healthy. For women, Flagyl (metronidazole) 500 mg twice a day for 7 days is recommended, while for men a single 2-gram dose of metronidazole is recommended. Another regimen for men and women is a single 2-gram dose of Tindamax (tinidazole).

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Additional doses are prescribed for men and women who are treated and whose infection recurs. Repeating the above protocol is recommended for those with recurrent infections due to re-contact with untreated sexual partners.

If treatment of the initial infection fails and the infection persists, women are advised to take 2 grams of metronidazole or tinidazole daily for 7 days. For men, metronidazole 500 mg twice daily for 7 days is recommended.

Metronidazole is available in cream and gel forms, but they are usually not effective in treating trichomoniasis.

You should not drink alcohol for several days while using these drugs, as the combination can cause a severe physical reaction characterized by high blood pressure, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.

After using the drug, it is recommended that you avoid unprotected sexual activity for a week until symptoms resolve. This is because it takes about a week for the drug to clear the infection. It is also important that you and your sexual partner are treated for trichomoniasis at the same time to reduce the risk of reinfection.

How to Treat Trichomoniasis


While avoiding vaginal, oral, and anal sex is the only sure way to prevent trichomoniasis infection, using condoms consistently and correctly has been shown to reduce the risk of infection.

Signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis