What is trichomoniasis?
Trich is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a germ (called trichomonas) spread during unprotected sex with an infected partner.
Who can get trichomoniasis?
- Anyone can become infected but your risk is increased by having multiple sex partners or by having another STD.
- It is the most common treatable STD.
How do I know if I have trichomoniasis infection?
- Symptoms for females can include vaginal discharge or vaginal itching, but some women can have no symptoms at all.
- Infected males usually have no symptoms and do not know they have it. Some may feel burning when they urinate.
- Douching may worsen discharge from the vagina.
How can I be tested for trichomoniasis?
- For females, a cotton swab is briefly placed inside your vagina by you or your healthcare provider. This does not require a pelvic exam. Your healthcare provider will then take that cotton swab and look under a microscope to see if any trichomonads are visible.
- It is more difficult to test for trich in males. Usually they find out they are infected once a female partner becomes infected.
How do you treat trichomoniasis?
- A medication called metronidazole, or Flagyl, will kill the trich and rid your body of the infection. This is usually given as a single dose.
- You should make sure your partner gets treated too, regardless of whether or not he or she has symptoms. Even if he or she is not the one who gave the infection to you, you may have passed it along to him or her without knowing it.
- Using condoms or other barrier contraceptives can help prevent the spread of trich.
- You should avoid sex until you and your partner are both treated.
What if I don't get treated for my trichomoniasis infection?
- You will continue to be infectious to other partners.
- You may continue to have symptoms such as irregular bleeding and vaginal discharge.
- Having trich increases your chances of getting other STDs, including HIV infection.
To learn about appointment times and locations with CHOP's Division of Adolescent Medicine, see appointments or call 215-590-3537.