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Trichomonas

What is it?
One-celled protozoa called Trichomonas vaginalis causes this common vaginal infection. Trichomonas lives in the fluids of the vagina and inside the male urethra. It can survive for short times in a moist environment outside the body; women who have sex with men or with other women can get this infection.
It is usually sexually transmitted.

What are the symptoms?
Women may not have symptoms of this infection and men rarely do. Some of the common symptoms if you have them are:

  • strong fishy odour
  • itchiness
  • redness and soreness
  • vaginal discharge that is grey, yellowish or greenish-yellow

How is it diagnosed?
A swab of the vagina will show the protozoa when examined in the laboratory.

Are there any complications?
Complications are very uncommon. Very rarely it may be associated with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

How is it treated?
The Antibacterial/Antiprotozoal metronidazole is usually used to treat this infection. Take the medication as directed and be sure to complete your treatment. Metronidazole should never be combined with alcohol because it can cause serious side effects. Don't drink for 48 hours after taking the drug.

Should my partner be checked or treated?
Regular sexual partners should be treated at the same time to prevent re-infection.

How can I protect myself from Trichomonas?
Use a latex condom during intercourse to reduce your risk of this and other infections. Change the condoms covering sex toys between every act of penetration. Avoid using other people's towels or washcloths. Avoid sitting in an unwashed tub for bathing.

 

 

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  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital