WHAT IS TRICHOMONIASIS?
Trichomoniasis is a genital infection which is caused by the organism trichomonas vaginalis. While trichomoniasis is common worldwide, it is relatively rare in urban areas in Australia. It occurs most often in rural and remote areas and also in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. It is a very rare cause of symptoms in men.
Trichomonas infection during pregnancy can cause low birth weight in the baby.
HOW DO YOU CATCH TRICHOMONIASIS?
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection, which is passed on during unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
SYMPTOMS IN WOMEN
About 50% of the time trichomoniasis has no symptoms in women. If they do occur symptoms include:
- An unpleasant smelling yellow or green discharge which is usually frothy and profuse.
- Vulval and vaginal itch and discomfort.
SYMPTOMS IN MEN
Trichomoniasis very rarely causes any symptoms in men, if symptoms do occur they are:
- 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, then a swab may be taken for a test to diagnose the infection before treatment.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Trichomoniasis is treated with the following antibiotics:
Tinidazole (Fasigyn) 500mg x 4 tablets as a single dose OR Metronidazole, (Flagyl) 400mg three times a day for one week or 2g (5 tablets) 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 because 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.
Clotrimazole vaginal cream is a cream which can reduce the symptoms of itch, and can cure about 30% of trichomonas infections.
It is important to avoid any unprotected intercourse for seven days after treatment to allow the treatment to work completely and to avoid reinfection or infecting others.
SHOULD SEXUAL PARTNERS BE INFORMED?
Yes, all recent sexual partners will need to be advised and tested. Your doctor or nurse can assist with this.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID CATCHING TRICHOMONIASIS?
Using condoms every time you have vaginal or anal sex is the best way to prevent any STI infection.
If you are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is important to be tested 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.
TRICHOMONIASIS BROCHURE PDF
Last updated July 2017
References: Melbourne Sexual Health Centre. Australia STI Management Guidelines