What is Trichomonas?
Trichomonas Vaginalis is a small organism called a protozoan. This type of organism is very similar to a bacterium. The Trichomonas protozoan can infect the vagina and urethra in a woman and the urethra and occasionally the prostate gland in men. Trichomonas is normally passed by sexual contact.
What are the symptoms of Trichomonas?
- An unusual discharge, which can be a greenish-yellow colour. The discharge can sometimes be rather frothy with a fishy odour.
- Pain when passing urine.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Sometimes there will be a pain in the groin area, although this is less common.
- The vulva and vagina may itch and there may be a general feeling of discomfort.
- A discharge from the urethra is common.
- It may be painful when passing urine.
- A rise in the frequency of urinations caused by the irritation of the infection.
It is important to remember that 50% of both men and women experience absolutely no symptoms at all of a Trichomonas infection. Even if you do not have symptoms, this will not prevent you from transmitting the infection to someone else.
Should I be worried about Trichomonas?
Trichomonas is less of a problem than other sexually transmitted infections, as it tends not to penetrate deep inside the body beyond the urethra. It can occasionally cause prostatitis in men and can lead to increased risk of early labour and a low birth weight baby in the case of pregnant women. As with most STDs, a Trichomonas infection will make you more susceptible to HIV infection if you have unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive.
Trichomonas is relatively uncommon in the UK, with around 6,000 positive results each year.
Can I get tested for Trichomonas?
The STI Clinic can test for Trichomonas on its own or in combination with other tests. If you have any symptoms at all that you think that may be caused by a sexually transmitted infection then we recommend that you have a Full STI Screen. If you have already been tested for everything else then we are happy to test for Trichomonas on its own. Our lab uses PCR technology to test for Trichomonas so the results are extremely accurate using a urine sample or a vaginal swab.
Can Trichomonas be treated?
Trichomonas is very easily treated with Metronidazole, which is normally taken as a 7 days course. If you test positive for Trichomonas then we will prescribe Metronidazole free of charge but you must have any sexual partners treated at the same time for their safety and to prevent you from being re-infected. We can also prescribe Tinidazole in certain cases of Trichomonas infection. You should not have unprotected sex until the treatment has finished and any symptoms have cleared up.