WHAT IS TRICHOMONIASIS?
Trichomoniasis is a genital infection which is caused by the organism trichomonas vaginalis. While it is common worldwide, it is relatively rare in urban areas in Australia. Trichomoniasis is a vaginal infection, more common in older populations and those living in remote areas. It is a very rare cause of symptoms in the penis.
Trichomoniasis infection during pregnancy can cause premature delivery and low birth weight in the baby.
HOW DO YOU CATCH TRICHOMONIASIS?
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), which is passed on during unprotected intercourse.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
About 50% of the time trichomoniasis does not cause any vulval or vaginal symptoms.
If symptoms do occur they include:
- An unpleasant-smelling yellow, green or grey discharge which is usually frothy and profuse.
- Vulval and vaginal itch, burning, and discomfort.
SYMPTOMS OF THE PENIS/URETHRA
Trichomoniasis very rarely causes any symptoms of the penis/urethra.
If symptoms do occur they include:
- Discomfort with passing urine.
- Abnormal discharge from the penis.
HOW CAN YOU TEST FOR TRICHOMONIASIS?
Trichomoniasis is not routinely tested for, particularly in areas where it is very uncommon. If someone has symptoms of trichomoniasis, or a partner has been diagnosed, then a swab will be taken to diagnose the infection before treatment. If your partner has been diagnosed with trichomoniasis you will need testing and treatment even if you have no symptoms.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Trichomoniasis is treated with the following antibiotics:
Tinidazole 500mg x 4 tablets as a single dose OR Metronidazole 400mg three times a day for one week or 2g as a single dose.
These antibiotics need to be taken with food and can cause nausea, tiredness, and a metallic taste. Alcohol must be avoided while on these medications, they can cause nausea, vomiting, and headache if taken with alcohol.
If trichomoniasis is diagnosed during pregnancy treatment options may need to be discussed with a specialist.
It is important to avoid any unprotected sexual intercourse for seven days after treatment has finished to allow the treatment to work completely and to avoid becoming reinfected, or infecting others. You may also need re-testing four weeks later if your symptoms continue.
SHOULD I TELL ANY SEXUAL PARTNERS?
Yes, it is very important to let your sexual partner/s in the last two months know so that they can be tested and treated. This should include anyone that you have had oral, vaginal, or anal sex with, even if you used a condom, as well anyone you have had any genital-to-genital contact with. There are several ways to let partners know: this is usually best done directly, in person, with a phone call, or with a text message.
There are also websites that you can use to send an anonymous email or text message such as Let Them Know(for anyone) orThe Drama Downunder(for gay men or men who have sex with men). Your doctor or nurse can give you more information and assist you with this.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID CATCHING TRICHOMONIASIS?
Using condoms every time you have sexual intercourse is the best way to prevent trichomoniasis and other STIs
SHOULD I GET TESTED FOR OTHER SEXUALLY TRANSMISSIBLE INFECTIONS?
If you are diagnosed with an STI such as trichomoniasis, it is important to be checked for other STIs such as chlamydia.
WHERE TO GO FOR INFO AND TESTING
Sexual Health & Family Planning ACT
- Level,1 28 University Avenue Canberra ACT
- 02 6247 3077
- Make an appointment from the link below
• Canberra Sexual Health Centre
- Canberra Hospital
- 8 Level 4, Garran ACT 2605
- 02 6244 2184
• Your GP or local Health Centre
If you are diagnosed with an STI such as trichomoniasis, it is important to be checked for other STIs such as chlamydia. Your partners should also be notified, checked and treated if required. Be sure to have another test after treatment to make sure it has been cleared up.
- Last updated on .