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Trichomonas Vaginalis


What is trichomonas vaginalis?

Several different organisms can cause vaginal discharge and irritation (vaginitis). The most common organisms being:-

  • The parasite, trichomonas vaginalis.
  • The bacteria gardnerella vaginalis (bacterial vaginosis).
  • The yeast candida (that causes thrush).

Trichomonas Vaginalis (T.V.), ‘trich’ or trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite. T.V. mostly infects the vagina in women, and the urethra in men.

What causes trichomonas vaginalis?

T.V. is usually sexually transmitted, caused by unprotected penetrative vaginal sex where the penis enters the vagina. The parasite doesn’t grow well in the anus, mouth or penis. T.V. can also be spread by sharing sex toys. T.V. is not spread by kissing, anal or oral sex, towels, toilet seats or from sharing plates, cups etc.

What are the symptoms of trichomonas vaginalis?

Like many other sexually transmitted diseases, there may be no symptoms with T.V, especially in men, but if there are they may include:-

In women: –

  • A vaginal discharge, yellow/green in colour, which may smell unpleasant and look frothy.
  • Soreness, itching and inflammation in and around the vagina.
  • Frequent need to urinate and/or pain on urinating.
  • Pain when having sex.

In men: –

  • Penile discharge.
  • Pain when passing urine or when ejaculating.
  • Needing to urinate more
  • Soreness around the head of the penis.

If you are worried that you have a sexually transmitted disease you should always visit your local G.U.M. clinic (though it doesn’t have to be a local clinic) or doctor.

How is trichomonas vaginalis diagnosed?

If you go to your doctor, he/she may examine your genital area, and a sample may be taken from the vagina or urethra using a cotton wool swab (similar to a cotton bud). Sometimes it might be possible to get the result straight away or the specimen might have to be sent away. You may also be asked to give a urine sample.

We have a simple test on this website which can be used to indicate the ph levels of the vagina. For more information on this test or to buy click here.

How do I prevent getting trichomonas vaginalis?

Using condoms correctly and consistently will lower the risk of you catching T.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases. Cover any sex toys with a condom and wash the toys after use. If you’re a woman and you rub your vulva against another woman’s vulva, then one of you should use a dam to cover your genitals. If you have had T.V. once that doesn’t mean you can’t contract it again.

Is trichomonas vaginalis easily treated?

Yes, T.V. is treated with a course of antibiotics. The antibiotic usually prescribed is called metronidazole, it is advised not to drink alcohol during treatment. All regular and recent partners should also be checked and treated if necessary. You should avoid sex until the doctor or clinic has given you the all-clear.

What are the effects of trichomonas vaginalis if left untreated?

Complications with T.V. are rare, if a woman is infected when she gives birth, she may pass it on to the baby causing the baby to be born early or with a low birth weight.