Trichomoniasis, (also called “trich”) is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects both men and women.
Trichomoniasis is caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis and is a cause of vaginal infections in women and urethral infections in men. It is characterised by a yellow or greenish discharge, painful sex & urination and red or soreness of genitalia. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STI.
How does it spread
The parasite is passed from an infected person to an uninfected person during sex. In women, the most commonly infected part of the body is the lower genital tract (vulva, vagina, or urethra), and in men, the most commonly infected body part is the inside of the penis (urethra). During sex, the parasite is usually transmitted from a penis to a vagina, or from a vagina to a penis, but it can also be passed from a vagina to another vagina.
It is not common for the parasite to infect other body parts, like the hands, mouth, or anus. It is unclear why some people with the infection get symptoms while others do not, but it probably depends on factors like the person’s age and overall health. Infected people without symptoms can still pass the infection on to others.
70% of infected people do not have any signs or symptoms. When trichomoniasis does cause symptoms, it can range from mild irritation to severe inflammation. Some people with symptoms get them within 5 to 28 days after being infected, but others do not develop symptoms until much later. Symptoms can come and go.
Men with trichomoniasis may feel itching or irritation inside the penis, lesions on the penis, burning after urination or ejaculation, or some discharge from the penis. Most men with trichomoniasis will have no symptoms.
Women with trichomoniasis may notice itching, burning, redness or soreness of the genitals, discomfort with urination, or a thin discharge with an unusual smell that can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish. Some women may have an excessive, frothy, yellowish or greenish vaginal discharge. There may also be swelling of the vulva and labia.
Having trichomoniasis can make it feel unpleasant to have sex. Without treatment, the infection can last for months or even years.
- Redness/ soreness of mucus membranes
- Discharge yellow/greenish
- Painful sex & urination
Main image: Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash