Trichomoniasis is an infection of the vagina or penis. It is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can be treated and does not cause any serious permanent damage. However, it can increase your likelihood of getting HIV from an HIV-infected partner. Also, if a pregnant woman has trichomoniasis, the disease can cause the baby to be born early or have a low birth weight (less than 5 pounds).
A tiny organism called Trichomonas vaginalis causes the infection. Sexual partners not using condoms can spread the infection to each other during sex.
Many women who have trichomoniasis do not have any symptoms. When they do have symptoms, the most common ones are:
Less common symptoms are:
Men usually do not have symptoms. Some men may have an irritation inside the penis, mild discharge, or slight burning after urination or ejaculation.
Your healthcare provider will examine you. Your provider will use a microscope to look for trichomonas in a sample of fluid from the vagina or penis.
Trichomoniasis is treated with a medicine called metronidazole, or Flagyl. Do not drink any alcohol while you are taking Flagyl and for 2 days after you finish the medicine. Drinking alcohol while you are taking Flagyl may cause severe nausea and vomiting.
Your sexual partner will also need to be treated.
For most people, the symptoms go away less than 1 week after treatment.
Men who are infected may stop having symptoms in a few weeks even without treatment. However, without treatment they can keep infecting their partners.
The genital inflammation caused by trichomoniasis can make it easier for a woman to become infected with HIV if she is exposed to the virus. It may also make it easier for her to pass HIV to her sex partners.