Understanding STD Trichomoniasis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Rishabh Mehta
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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std trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a prevalent medical concern experienced worldwide that spreads through sexual contact.

CDC estimated that 3.7 million people in the USA alone suffer from Trichomoniasis.

It affects both men and women, but the infection remains asymptomatic in most men, while women can experience symptoms.

Even the symptoms experienced when suffering from Trichomoniasis are common for several other medical issues. 

Due to its tricky nature, it can get hard to figure out if someone has Trichomoniasis. 

This article attempts to solve these queries by presenting a detailed analysis of the STD Trichomoniasis, including its symptoms, causes, transmission, and treatment. 

Is Trichomoniasis an STD

Seeing Trichomoniasis, referred to as an STI in some places and an STD in others, often creates confusion. So what is it then? 

The answer to this question is it can be understood as both STI and STD.

Trichomoniasis is a Sexually Transmitted Disease(STD) that occurs when an infection caused by the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis becomes severe. 

The parasite Trichomonas vaginalis spreads primarily via sexual contact leading to an infection in the lower genital tract, and this infection turns into an STD called Trichomoniasis.

Since it is a protozoan infection that transforms into a disease, that is why it is called an STI and STD on different occasions.

Fact:
The protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis can live in a wet environment outside the human body for three hours.

STD Trichomoniasis symptoms

Trichomoniasis can be symptomatic or asymptomatic. 

The likeliness of experiencing symptoms also depends on the gender. 

70-80 percent of the men suffering from Trichomoniasis see no symptoms. 

This reduces to 50 percent when talking about women having the infection. 

After acquiring the infection, symptoms appear in 5 to 28 days. For some, it may take more time or not appear at all. 

STD Trichomoniasis male symptoms

painful erectionSource: DAPA_IMAGES
Pain while urinating

Men infected with Trichomoniasis may see symptoms like:

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Frequent urination
  • Burning sensation or pain while urinating
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • Redness, soreness, and swelling of the foreskin or head of the penis
  • Itching and irritation in the penis

STD Trichomoniasis female symptoms

STD Trichomoniasis symptoms in females may include:

  • Thick or thin vaginal discharge of yellow-green color
  • Pain while urinating
  • Increased discharge more than normal
  • Itching or burning in the genitals
  • Soreness or redness in or around the genital area
  • Unpleasant smell from the vaginal discharge
  • Painful sex

STD Trichomoniasis causes

The main cause of Trichomoniasis is a protozoan called Trichomonas vaginalis. 

This parasite multiplies in the host body by splitting into two daughter cells, spreading the infection. 

It attacks the lower genital tract in females and the urethra in men. 

It is present in the semen and vaginal fluids as it thrives in moist conditions. 

The external environment and dry conditions are not ideal for its growth.

Recommended Article
To understand the connection between UTI and Trichomoniasis, check out
UTI and Trichomoniasis: Exploring the Connection and Treatment Options

How do you get Trichomoniasis STD

couple on bedSource: Syda_productions
Sexual contact

The most common method of STD Trichomoniasis transmission is direct sexual contact. 

Unprotected oral, anal, and vaginal sex offer a direct route of transmission for the infection. 

Vaginal fluids and semen carry the parasite, which can infect another person. 

However, ejaculation is not necessary

Genital contact and precum can also spread Trichomoniasis. 

Another way to get Trichomoniasis is by sharing sex toys with an infected person without cleaning them or using protection. 

Non-sexual transmission is not discussed enough as a means of spread, but it can happen by sharing towels, swimming pool, bath water, etc with an infected person.

A few mother-to-child transmission cases of Trichomoniasis have been reported. 

The infection spreads to the baby through the birth canal. 

Some of the preventive measures to lower transmission rates of Trichomoniasis are using condoms, getting tested, not sharing sex toys or towels, and avoiding having multiple sex partners. 

STD Trichomoniasis treatment

After confirming Trichomoniasis through a swab or urine test, the treatment is carried ahead with medications. 

Antibiotics are used to treat Trichomoniasis. 

The first prescribed medicine is Metronidazole for both men and women. 

Men are given a single dose treatment of 2 grams of Metronidazole, while women are given a 500 mg dose of Metronidazole twice a day for a week. 

The second recommended option is a 2-gram dose of Tinidazole for men and women. 

With this treatment, the infection will clear up in most cases in a week. 

Risks of untreated STD Trichomoniasis

hivSource: ktsimage_from_GettyImages
Increased risk of HIV

Trichomoniasis can lead to serious issues if left untreated. 

In men, untreated Trichomoniasis can cause infertility, Urethritis, Epididymitis, and an increased risk of HIV.

Warning:
Untreated Trichomoniasis has been linked with an increased risk of acquiring HIV and prostate and cervical cancer. Consulting a doctor immediately for Trichomoniasis treatment to avoid such issues is advised.

In women, it can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), in which the uterus and fallopian tubes get infected. 

Other mild effects are foul-smelling or increased discharge. 

Untreated Trichomoniasis has the most adverse effects during pregnancy. 

Low birth weight, premature birth, and prelabour membrane ruptures are some such effects. 

In rare cases, Ectopic pregnancy can happen where the baby grows outside the uterus, causing pain and bleeding. 

Conclusion

Trichomoniasis is an STD caused by infection from the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. 

It remains symptomatic in half of the affected women, whereas most men do not experience any symptoms. 

Some symptoms reported by women are increased or fishy-smelling discharge, painful intercourse, and a burning sensation while urinating. 

On the other hand, men experience frequent urination, discharge from the penis, and soreness, redness, and swelling of the penis. 

If the infection remains untreated, it can cause Urethritis, UTIs in men and PID, and pregnancy complications in women.

It is advised to seek treatment for Trichomoniasis under the guidance of a medical expert. 

Metronidazole and Tinidazole are two prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection. 

For overall safety and prevention, avoid having multiple sex partners and always use protection while having sex. 

Taking these necessary precautions and aiming to treat the infection as a priority make it easier to enjoy a healthy and pleasurable life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Trichomoniasis STD last?

Trichomoniasis can last as long as it is not treated. This can be months or even years. The infection will not go away by itself like other STIs, such as HPV. When treated on time, it is likely to go away in a week with the help of antibiotics.  

Is Trichomonas a serious STD?

Trichomoniasis caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis is not a serious threat when treated on time. However, if left untreated for long, it can cause problems like Urethritis, Urinary Tract Infections, and Epididymitis in males. In females, it can lead to abnormal vaginal discharge, painful sex, and pregnancy complications.

Can you get rid of Trichomoniasis STD?

Yes, it is possible to get rid of Trichomoniasis with treatment. Antibiotics like Metronidazole and Tinidazole are used as single-dose or weekly treatment options. Post-treatment, the infection clears up in seven days. Sometimes, a longer treatment is required in case of reexposure or treatment failure.

Can Amoxicillin treat STD Trichomoniasis?

No, Amoxicillin cannot treat Trichomoniasis as the drug targets bacterial pathogens, while Trichomoniasis is caused by protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis. Antibiotics Metronidazole and Tinidazole are two commonly prescribed medicines to treat this infection.

Citations:
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