Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite called trichomonas vaginalis (TV).
Symptoms of trichomoniasis usually develop within a month of infection, although up to half of all infected men and women have no symptoms.
The symptoms of trichomoniasis are similar to those of many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) so it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose.
In women, this parasite mainly infects the vagina and urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body). In men, the infection most commonly affects the urethra, but the head of the penis or prostate gland (a gland near the bladder that helps produce semen) can become infected in some cases.
The parasite is usually spread by having unprotected sex (sex without a condom). It could also be spread by sharing sex toys if you don't wash them or cover them with a new condom before use.
You don't have to have many sexual partners to catch trichomoniasis. Anyone who is sexually active can catch it and pass it on.
Symptoms in women
Trichomoniasis in women can cause any of the following symptoms:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge that may be thick, thin or frothy and yellow-green in colour
- Producing more discharge than normal, which may also have an unpleasant fishy smell
- Soreness, inflammation (swelling) and itching around the vagina - sometimes the inner thighs also become itchy
- Pain or discomfort when passing urine or having sex
Symptoms in men
Trichomoniasis in men can cause any of the following symptoms:
- Pain during urination or ejaculation
- Needing to urinate more frequently than usual
- Thin white discharge from the penis
- Soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis (balanitis) or foreskin (balano-posthitis)
How to get tested?
You can make an appointment for any of our clinics or come along to one of our Walk-in and wait clinics.* At the appointment you will examined by a nurse or doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above. .
Trichomoniasis can often be diagnosed after an examination of the genitals and a laboratory test carried out on a swab taken from the vagina or penis or a urine test. If the test shows you have trichomoniasis it's important that your current partner and any other recent partners are also tested and treated.
*Please note our Walk-in and wait slots are limited and can on occasion incur a 2 hour wait.
Trichomoniasis is unlikely to go away without treatment, but it can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Most men and women are treated with an antibiotic called metronidazole, which is usually taken twice a day for five to seven days.
It's important to complete the whole course of antibiotics and avoid having sex until the infection clears up, to prevent reinfection.
Your current sexual partner and any other recent partners should also be treated.