What exactly are the symptoms of Trichomoniasis, and what are the best steps to take during Trichomoniasis treatment?
Keeping on top of your sexual health is one of the best ways you can enjoy safe sex. However, there are a few common infections that can be passed on by sexual partners that can cause serious complications if left untreated. One of these STIs is trichomoniasis.
At iPlaySafe App, we're passionate about educating people about sexually transmitted infections and breaking down the stigmas of discussing them. Take a look below to find out everything you need to know about trichomoniasis and how you can prevent it from impacting your sexual health.
Trichomoniasis and its symptoms explained
Trichomoniasis is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. The infection itself is caused by a small parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis, and it can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
It can be hard to fully diagnose trichomoniasis symptoms, as over 30% of all cases in the UK are completely symptomless or share symptoms with a range of other infections. On top of this, symptoms will generally take up to a month to develop, leaving infected people to believe they are safe.
As with almost all STIs, one of the best ways to ensure you don't currently have a trichomoniasis infection is to get regular testing at your GP or sexual health clinic. You should also try to prevent infections by wearing protection and taking precautions where necessary.
Trichomoniasis itself is fairly hard to diagnose as it shares almost all its symptoms with other common STIs. However, it is still a great idea to know exactly what symptoms you should look out for.
Below you can find a brief breakdown of some of the most common symptoms found in trichomoniasis infections for both men and women.
Common Trichomoniasis symptoms in infected men
Some of the most common symptoms related to trichomoniasis infections in men are:
- A need to urinate more often than usual
- Pain or discomfort when urinating
- Pain or discomfort during ejaculation
- Swelling, redness and/or soreness towards the tip of the penis, including the foreskin
- A thin and white discharge coming from the penis
Although a lot of these symptoms could be caused by other infections, they may also suggest that you have a trichomoniasis infection. If any of these symptoms occur, then be sure to make an appointment at your local general practitioner or sexual health clinic to receive a test or diagnosis, or a home test kit.
Common Trichomoniasis symptoms in infected women
Some of the most common symptoms related to trichomoniasis infections in women are:
- A need to urinate more often than usual
- Pain or discomfort when urinating
- Pain or discomfort during sex
- Itching, soreness, and sometimes swelling around the vagina - in some cases, the itchiness may also develop around the inner thighs
- An uncommon yellow-green discharge from the vagina that may have an unpleasant fishy smell
Although a lot of these symptoms could be caused by other infections, they may also suggest that you have a trichomoniasis infection. If any of these symptoms occur, then be sure to make an appointment at your GP or sexual health clinic to receive a test or diagnosis.
Can Trichomoniasis go away on its own?
Unlike some other STIs, trichomoniasis will unfortunately not go away without some form of treatment. There is a minimal chance your body may be able to fight away the infection, but this is extremely rare and shouldn't be relied on.
Whilst you have a trichomoniasis infection, you have a high chance of passing it on to other sexual partners if protection is not used. This means that if you have a trichomoniasis infection, you should avoid having unprotected sex until treatment is received.
In terms of treatment, the main method of getting rid of a trichomoniasis infection is through a short course of antibiotics. If taken correctly, your antibiotics can kill the infection within 7 days!
If left untreated, trichomoniasis can cause some fairly serious complications. Pregnant women are especially prone to complications with trichomoniasis infections, potentially leading to low birth weight or even premature birth.
As it is so easy to treat, there is truly no reason not to seek treatment for a trichomoniasis infection. With most courses of antibiotics killing the infection in less than 7 days, you can get back to enjoying your sex life in no time.
When to see a doctor
The best time to see a doctor is as soon as you notice any trichomoniasis symptoms. This can be hard - as mentioned, over 30% of all trichomoniasis cases are completely symptomless. Regular testing is highly recommended if you are sexually active and want to maintain your sexual health.
In terms of testing, trichomoniasis is one of the easiest sexually transmitted infections you can test for. There are two main ways a trichomoniasis infection can be diagnosed. A doctor will either test through a swab test or by checking your genitals for tell-tale symptoms.
Men may also opt into a urine sample to test for a trichomoniasis infection, which is similar to tests for other common STIs such as chlamydia. Simply urinate into the provided sample kit and hand over your sample to the doctor to be tested.
The most accurate readings for a trichomoniasis diagnosis is anywhere between 1 to 3 weeks after contracting the parasite. This doesn't mean you should wait; however, the sooner you are diagnosed, the faster you can be treated!
If a doctor confirms that you currently have a trichomoniasis infection, you will need to alert any sexual partners. Not only so they can be tested, but also so that they can take care of their sexual health with the knowledge that they may have contracted an STI.
In terms of how long it may take for your results, you can expect to hear back from your doctor within around 24 to 72 hours. However, some tests may take slightly longer depending on your local service, so be sure to wait at least 7 days to hear about your test results.
Trichomoniasis Treatment Options
The most popular method of treating trichomoniasis is through a short course of antibiotics. Typically, you will be prescribed a treatment of metronidazole, which is a powerful antibiotic that can clear your trichomoniasis infection in less than a week.
To get the most effective treatment, be sure to take your antibiotics as prescribed and on time. Even missing one pill could seriously set you back and cause your infection to last longer than it usually would.
You may need to take two main types of metronidazole treatments to quell your trichomoniasis infection—either a single large dose or multiple smaller doses. A larger dose is not recommended for breastfeeding or pregnant women.
Once you have completed your course of metronidazole antibiotics, you may then need a follow-up examination a few months down the road. This is incredibly uncommon, but if you are at high risk of catching trichomoniasis, then it can be an effective way to ensure the infection has passed.
During your metronidazole treatment, you should not drink alcohol for up to 3 days after the treatment is complete. Drinking alcohol during or soon after treatment can cause serious complications and should be avoided whilst taking any antibiotics.
What to do while having treatment for trichomoniasis
If you receive a diagnosis for trichomoniasis and you are currently going through treatment, try to avoid unprotected sexual contact. Trichomoniasis is incredibly contagious and is most commonly passed on during unprotected vaginal sex.
Once you have been prescribed metronidazole antibiotics, you will need to avoid having sex with any sexual partner for at least 7 days. This limits the chances of transmission and ensures both you and your partner are safe from a new infection.
As with most antibiotics, when taking metronidazole, it is highly recommended to avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol can cause some fairly severe side effects when ingested alongside antibiotics, which can lead to some nasty complications.
If you are unsure what to do during your trichomoniasis treatment, then be sure to talk to your local GP or sexual health doctor. They will happily guide you through what is and isn't advised so you can limit transmission and recover quickly!
Is trichomoniasis a common sexually transmitted infection?
Trichomoniasis is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. But thankfully, it is curable, which means getting tested regularly can truly help you get rid of it fast and cleanly.
In fact, trichomoniasis is known as the most common non-viral STI in the world. However, it isn't as common in the UK as it is in some other countries around the world, but this could be because a large number of cases are symptomless.
Can trichomoniasis be transmitted via oral or anal sex?
There is not currently enough evidence to know whether or not trichomoniasis transmission is possible through oral or anal sex. However, this doesn't mean precautions shouldn't be taken if you have a trichomoniasis infection and you plan on having anal or oral sex.
As with all STIs not only should you alert any sexual partners to your infection, but you should also wear protection where possible. Safe sex is far more enjoyable than risking infection and is the best way to maintain your sexual health.
Do I need to tell any sexual partners that I have trichomoniasis?
When it comes to sexually transmitted infections, it is essential to tell any sexual partners that you have contracted an infection. Not only is it dangerous to risk unprotected sex, but it is also immoral to not alert your partners.
This is also true if you are sharing sex toys or your infection can be spread to housemates through utensils or other means. If you notice any trichomoniasis symptoms be sure to get a test at your local GP or sexual health clinic!
How long does trichomoniasis treatment take?
As long as you are taking your metronidazole antibiotics as prescribed, your infection can clear up anywhere between 5 and 7 days. If you forget a pill or miss a single dose, your treatment may take slightly longer.
Once you have completed the metronidazole antibiotic treatment, you may need a follow-up examination - Especially if you are at risk of re-infection. Treatment for trichomoniasis is incredibly straightforward and is almost always worth it if you are showing symptoms.