Trichomoniasis (often called “trich”) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Trich affects both men and women, though diagnosis rates tend to be higher in women. This infection is particularly notable for its high prevalence worldwide, making it one of the most common non-viral STIs. 

In many cases, trichomoniasis may be asymptomatic, especially in men, which means many individuals may be unaware they are infected and can unknowingly transmit the infection to their sex partners. Asymptomatic cases of trichomoniasis are not necessarily more dangerous than symptomatic ones in terms of the immediate health effects on the individual. However, they can be more concerning from a public health perspective due to the increased likelihood of accidental spread.

The primary mode of transmission for trichomoniasis is through sexual contact, with the parasite spreading most frequently during vaginal sex. The good news is that a trich cure is available with appropriate antibiotic treatment, typically involving a single dose of an oral antibiotic. It is essential for sexually active individuals to engage in safe sexual practices, including the use of condoms, and to undergo regular STI screenings to identify and treat trichomoniasis effectively.

Trichomoniasis in women often presents with more noticeable symptoms than in men, although most cases can still be asymptomatic. Additionally, trichomoniasis symptoms are shared with those of other conditions like it, making testing an important part of the treatment process. When it comes to those that can be felt, possible trichomoniasis symptoms include: 

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Yellow-green, frothy vaginal discharge

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Fishy vaginal odor

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Vulvar irritation, redness, and soreness

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Pain during sexual intercourse

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Genital itching

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Burning sensation when urinating

If untreated, trichomoniasis sometimes leads to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, a potentially serious infection of the female reproductive organs.

Trichomoniasis in men may not always result in any signs or symptoms felt due to most cases of the STD being asymptomatic. Additionally, the condition can be confused with other STDs as what is felt is commonly associated with a variety of different conditions. When they are felt, trichomoniasis symptoms in men may include:

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Frothy or pus-containing discharge

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Burning and frequent urination, especially in the early morning

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Urethral irritation or itching

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Moisture at the penile tip and under the foreskin

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Redness or soreness at the tip of the penis

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Uncomfortable or painful ejaculation

Trichomoniasis is caused by the single-celled parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. The infection is typically spread through sexual contact with an infected partner. The main cause is vaginal sex; cases of oral or anal transmission are rare, but possible. The parasite can infect the lower genital tract, leading to the development of the disease. 

Trichomoniasis is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and can affect both men and women. It's important to note that the parasite is usually transmitted through sexual activity, but the infection can also occur without intercourse if genital contact is made with an infected individual.

Alongside a clinical analysis of the symptoms and the patient’s history, a trichomoniasis diagnosis can be tested through a number of options. Offering both more insight into the condition itself and to remove any possibility of a misdiagnosis, these tests can include: 

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Wet Mount Microscopy

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Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests

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Laboratory Culture

A single dose or a short course of treatment is usually sufficient to clear the infection. These medications are usually effective at clearing the infection quickly, often within a few days to a week. They are usually taken orally and can be prescribed in different dosages depending on the specific circumstances of the infection. The entire course of treatment should be completed, even if symptoms disappear. Stopping treatment early can lead to incomplete eradication of the infection.

It's important for sexual partners to be treated simultaneously to prevent reinfection, as the body cannot become immune to the parasite, even after trichomoniasis treatment. During treatment, it's advisable to avoid alcohol, as it can cause adverse reactions with some antibiotics. Follow-up testing after treatment is essential to confirm that the infection has been successfully cleared.

NOTE: Lab testing is NOT required prior to treatment if you have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms.

CallonDoc offers both at-home test kits and in-person lab testing. After treatment we recommend a test of cure 2-3 weeks after completing treatment to confirm clearing the infection.

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Ongoing management for trichomoniasis involves several key steps. First, individuals should complete their prescribed antibiotic treatment to ensure the infection is entirely cleared. During this phase, they should avoid sexual intercourse. It's crucial for sexual partners to be treated simultaneously to prevent reinfection. Follow-up testing after treatment is heavily recommended to confirm the eradication of the parasite. 

Ongoing management also emphasizes responsible sexual behavior and education about sexually transmitted infections to prevent further transmission and complications associated with trichomoniasis. If symptoms reoccur or you suspect re-exposure to the infection, consult your healthcare provider promptly for evaluation and possible retreatment. 

Trichomoniasis prevention is primarily through safe sexual practices. This includes consistent and correct use of latex or polyurethane condoms during sexual intercourse to reduce the risk of transmission. Remember that while condoms greatly reduce the risk, no method is 100% effective in preventing STDs. Additionally, limiting sexual partners and maintaining a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner can help lower the chances of contracting or spreading trichomoniasis. Regular STI testing and early treatment for both partners are crucial for effective prevention and management of trichomoniasis.

Please note that if you are testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomoniasis, each has similar and overlapping symptoms. It is not unusual for trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea to co-occur and be detected at the same time. Those who are co-infected by all three often do not notice and run the risk of misdiagnosis or not clearing the infection entirely when only getting one type of infection tested or treated. 

Testing and treatment for all three, when displaying symptoms, can help clear the infection when they are present. Additionally, addressing multiple STIs simultaneously is essential to prevent complications, reduce the risk of transmission to sexual partners, reduce long-term health complications due to untreated STDs, and ensure better overall sexual well-being.

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