Trichomonas vaginalis

A trichomonas vaginal infection is sexually transmitted, and this type of sexually transmitted disease (STD) can produce some unpleasant symptoms, but it is not usually a serious condition, with the infection often clearing following a course of antibiotics.

Your IPSA Medical trichomonas consultation

At your IPSA Medical clinic, you can either see your IPSA Medical clinician alone or you can come along with your current partner. During your IPSA Medical trichomonas consultation, your IPSA Medical specialist will talk through your previous sexual history and might then suggest a range of appropriate, additional sexual-health screening tests.

Your consultation will be in IPSA Medical’s highly confidential and private clinic. Your IPSA Medical doctor will see you straight away at a time that is suitable for you. At IPSA Medical, your physician will take your trichomonas symptoms seriously, and will treat both you (and your partner) with our holistic, person-centred approach, offering you (and your partner) a full examination in order to rule out/exclude any of the more serious conditions that could be responsible for your presenting symptoms.

What is trichomonas? How common is a trichomonas infection?

Trichomonas, a protozoan, is a single-celled microorganism similar to bacteria. Trichomonas can cause an infection in your genital region. In women, trichomonas can infect both your urethra and vagina, and in men, trichomonas can infect your urethra and, occasionally, your prostate gland. A trichomonas infection doesn’t usually spread further into your body and this is why it is often considered as not being as serious as other types of sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Trichomonas is an uncommon STI; only 6,000 trichomonas cases are diagnosed in the United Kingdom each year.

The symptoms of a trichomonas infection

In women

  • A typically green-yellow vaginal discharge is fairly common with trichomonas infections and the discharge might also be slightly frothy and smell fishy or unpleasant
  • It can be sore when you pass urine
  • Both your vulva and vagina can be uncomfortable/itchy with the irritation perhaps extending to the area of your groin
  • Sex might be painful

There are no presenting symptoms in around 50% of women with trichomonas, but, even without any symptoms, trichomonas can still be passed on to any sexual partners.

In men

  • Usually there is a discharge from your penis
  • It can be sore to urinate
  • You might need to urinate more often because trichomonas causes irritation inside your penis

There are no trichomonas symptoms in about 50% of all men with the infection; even when you have no symptoms, trichomonas can still be transmitted to any of your sexual partners.

How does you get a trichomonas infection?

The trichomonas STD is mostly passed on through sexual intercourse and, as the infection can be asymptomatic (where you have no symptoms) in both men/women carrying the disease, you can therefore be unaware that you have passed on trichomonas to your partner.

Are there complications from trichomonas infections?

If you are currently pregnant and the trichomonas infection is untreated, then your risk increases of going into premature labour and also of having a newborn with a low birthweight. For men, a trichomonas infection can sometimes develop into a much more unpleasant infection in your prostate gland (prostatitis). If your trichomonas infection is left untreated and you have sexual intercourse with an HIV-infected partner, then your chance increases for contracting HIV.

How is a trichomonas infection diagnosed?

It is important that you have trichomonas correctly diagnosed, because, if you do have trichomonas symptoms, these same symptoms can actually be symptomatic of other kinds of infections. The trichomonas diagnosis at your IPSA Medical clinic will be made by taking a sample with a swab of any of the discharge (from your vagina or penis), which is then taken to our laboratory for testing. With men, your IPSA Medical physician may take a urine sample, as this can sometimes be used to diagnose trichomonas. For women who have a smear test, the trichomonas infection can sometimes be detected by chance when examining your smear sample.

Your IPSA Medical clinic’s treatment for trichomonas

Your IPSA Medical clinician will usually prescribe a specific antibiotic in tablet form for you called metronidazole, because 90% of all trichomonas infections clear with this treatment protocol. Your treatment is fairly straightforward; however, there may be metronidazole side effects:

  • The usual dosage for metronidazole is 400 mg taken twice daily for 5–7 days. A single 2-gram dose is possible, but this can lead to more side effects and can also prove less effective.
  • Feeling sick and actually being sick (vomiting) during metronidazole treatment. This can be countered by taking the metronidazole tablets just after a meal.
  • A metallic taste in your mouth.
  • Alcohol needs to be avoided until 48 hours after finishing your metronidazole treatment as it can make you feel sick.
  • Metronidazole can enter your breast milk, so for breastfeeding mothers, the usual treatment involves a lower dose over 7 days, and if using the single 2-gram dose, your IPSA Medical clinician will explain how to take this after you have given the final breastfeed to your baby in the evening to reduce your baby’s exposure.

Sometimes, your IPSA Medical practitioner may prescribe the alternative antibiotic treatment for your trichomonas infection called tinidazole.

The trichomonas STD can clear up with no treatment; however, it can take many weeks and does not always clear up without antibiotic treatment. IPSA Medical advises treatment for all our clients who present with a trichomonas infection.

Will my sexual partner require trichomonas treatment?

Even if your sexual partner is asymptomatic (with no trichomonas symptoms), you must be treated at the same time, and you need to refrain from sex until your treatments are completed and any trichomonas symptoms have gone.

Some other points on trichomonas infections

After you have been treated, your trichomonas infection can return if:

  • You have sexual intercourse with a different partner (who might be carrying the trichomonas STD)
  • Your sexual partner was not also treated

Your IPSA Medical specialist might advise you/your partner to be tested for some other STIs, because they are more likely if you have the trichomonas infection.

If you suspect you have trichomonas (or any other STI), then book your IPSA Medical same-day trichomonas consultation or IPSA Medical STI consultation by phoning your IPSA Medical clinic or making your booking online.

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