What Is Trichomoniasis?

Trichomonas vaginalis

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  • Trichomoniasis is a common and curable sexually transmitted infection (STI) that affects around 1 million Americans yearly
  • If left untreated, trichomoniasis may spiral into devastating complications

Trichomoniasis, also named “trich,” is a common and curable sexually transmitted infection (STI) that affects around 1 million Americans yearly. This STI occurs because of a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.

In some cases, particularly in women, trichomoniasis may also be called vaginitis, since it’s a condition wherein germs cause swelling, itching, burning or infection in the vagina.1,2

Where Does Trichomoniasis Strike?

This STI affects both men and women. Men have the infection inside the penis or urethra, while women notice the trichomoniasis infection in the vagina, vulva, cervix or urethra — body parts that comprise the lower genital tract.3

However, do not be confused with the urethra of the male and female reproductive systems, since these are different. In males, the urethra is longer, enables the urine to move out of the body and carries semen. Meanwhile, the urethra in females is shorter and is found above the vagina.4

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that trichomoniasis symptoms won’t show up in the mouth, hands or anus, unlike other STIs that could spread to these other body parts.5

Typical Signs of Trichomoniasis

There are common symptoms that appear in men and women with trichomoniasis. Men might notice discharge from the urethra, endure a burning sensation during urination or after ejaculation, feel the urge to urinate more frequently or sense irritation or itching inside the urethra.6,7

Women may also feel the urge to urinate frequently and experience genital burning or itching. They may also have genital redness or swelling, suffer from pain during urination or sexual intercourse or see vaginal discharge that’s frothy, smells foul or fishy and is either white, gray, yellow or green.8,9

Complications of Trichomoniasis

If left untreated, trichomoniasis may spiral into devastating complications, such as having a higher risk of being diagnosed with or spreading other STIs, increased chances of passing the HIV virus to another person and/or genital inflammation that could make a person more susceptible to the HIV virus or other STIs.10

A patient may also have other STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia and bacterial vaginosis alongside trichomoniasis. Lastly, untreated trichomoniasis can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), that’s indicated by fallopian tube blockage, infertility and/or chronic abdominal or pelvic pain.11

Risk Factors for Trichomoniasis

There are various factors that could increase your risk for trichomoniasis. According to the Mayo Clinic, these are:12

Having multiple sexual partners

Having a history of other STIs

Being previously diagnosed with trichomoniasis

Not using a condom during sexual contact

MORE ABOUT TRICHOMONIASIS

Trichomoniasis: Introduction

What Is Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis In Men and Women

Trichomoniasis Symptoms

Trichomoniasis Causes

Trichomoniasis Treatment

Trichomoniasis Prevention

Trichomoniasis FAQ

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