Trichomoniasis is caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomonas Vaginalis, it is sometimes known as “TV” or “Trichs”.
It affects both men and women and infects the genitals which may lead to an infection of the urethra (the tube carrying urine from the bladder) and the prostate gland in men.
Trichomoniasis often has no symptoms.
Trichomoniasis is spread through having unprotected sex as well as the sharing of sex toys. It is not thought to be spread through oral or anal sex.
You can also not spread it through kissing, hugging, sharing kitchen-ware and/or toilet seats.
Around half of people who become infected never show symptoms so it can easily be passed on from person to person without knowing.
If symptoms do develop, they usually happen within a month of infection, although in some people this can take much longer. The symptoms are very similar to those of other sexually transmitted infections, these include:
- genital burning and itching
- genital soreness
- frequent urge to pee
- pain when peeing
- vaginal discharge, which smells like fish and is the colour, white, grey, yellow or green
Testing for Trichomoniasis involves either providing a urine sample or the doctor or nurse may take a sample from the affected area using a cotton bud, this is painless.
The majority of sexual health clinics can determine if you are infected right away by looking at the sample you provided under a microscope. In some cases the sample will need to be sent away for testing.
To get tested you should visit your doctor or sexual health clinic.
Trichomoniasis does not normally go away on its own so it will require treatment. It can be effectively treated with a course of antibiotics.
It’s important to always finish your course of antibiotics, you should also avoid having sex during this period.
You may be asked to return to the doctors or sexual health clinic after treatment to ensure it has cleared up.
As with all sexually transmitted infections the best way to avoid getting them is to pratice safer sex. This means using a condom for vaginal, anal and oral sex, as well as not sharing sex toys. With new sexual partners you should avoid unprotected sex until you have both been tested, the risk is higher if you are having sex with someone who has multiple partners.
If you have become infected with Trichomoniasis then you should avoid having sex until you and your partner have both finished treatment.