Trichomonas vaginalis is a parasite that affects the genitals, resulting in ulceration of the urethra and vagina. The infection is known as trichomoniasis and is classed as an STI because it is most likely to spread during unprotected sexual intercourse. It’s more common in women than men, but it can affect both sexes. It’s usually easy to treat, but the longer it’s left untreated the more likely it could be the cause of serious complications.
How common is it?
Infections caused by the trichomonas parasite are quite common because it can spread so easily, although it is less widespread in the UK than in some other parts of the world. Trichomoniasis can affect both men and women, but is most commonly diagnosed in sexually active women.
How do you contract trichomonas vaginalis?
You can get the trichomoniasis infection by having unprotected sex with an infected partner. This could be via vaginal, anal or oral sex or even just by sharing sex toys.
It is also possible for the trichomonas vaginalis parasite to be passed from a pregnant woman to her child.
Is trichomonas vaginalis dangerous?
Trichomoniasis is unlikely to cause serious complications, but there is a risk of the parasite causing damage to the reproductive system. In men, trichomonas could cause prostatitis, and, in women, it could enhance the risk of premature labour. The ulceration of the surface of the urinary tract can make a person more susceptible to serious STIs such as HIV and genital herpes.
How is trichomonas vaginalis diagnosed?
It’s not always possible to diagnose a trichomoniasis infection purely based on a person’s symptoms, because the infection doesn’t cause symptoms in everybody that has it. This is why an STI test from your doctor, GUM clinic or online STI clinic is a good idea if you suspect you may have the infection. These tests are usually non-invasive and very accurate.
If you do experience symptoms they are likely to be the following if you are male; inflammation of the foreskin, pain when urinating or an unusual urethral discharge. Women with trichomoniasis could develop an unusual vaginal discharge, itching or inflammation of the vagina, burning sensation when passing urine, pain during sex and abdominal tenderness. The most likely time for symptoms to develop would be around five to 25 days after being infected.
Trichomonas vaginalis test
You can go to your doctor or GUM clinic for a trichomonas vaginalis test or simply order an STI test from an online clinic such as TheGUMClinic.com. At your GP or local GUM clinic, a doctor or nurse will ask you to provide a urine sample for testing or collect a swab of the affected area, which will be sent off to a laboratory for a diagnoses. This is similar to how a home test will work; however, you can collect a sample at home and send it off to the laboratory in your own time and your diagnosis will be provided directly to you from the clinic.
Can trichomonas vaginalis be cured?
Trichomoniasis won’t go away on its own, but luckily it is easily treatable with the help of antibiotics. Metronidazole is a widely available medication that is extremely effective in treating infections caused by bacterial or parasitic pathogens. You can choose to take it in a single high dose treatment or over the course of seven to ten days. After completing treatment it is important that you complete another STI test to make sure that the infection is completely gone.