What is Trichomonas vaginalis ?

Trichomonas vaginalis or Trichomoniasis is an STI that affects both men and women, though women are more likely to experience symptoms. It is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. It also refered to as Trichomonas and is often shortened to Trich or TV . More women than men are affected by Trichomoniasis but diagnosis is often difficult as they are usually no symptoms.

How common is Trichomonas vaginalis ?

Around 6,000 cases of trichomoniasis are diagnosed annually within the United Kingdom.

How is Trichomonas vaginalis passed on?

Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite that attaches itself to the lining of the vagina. The parasite is usually spread by having unprotected sex. Occasionally the infection can be spread by sharing sex toys. Trichomoniasis cannot be passed on through having anal or oral sex.

What are the complications of Trichomonas vaginalis?

Complications related to trichomoniasis are rare. However, the infection can weaken the protective mucus barrier of the cervix, which helps prevent infection of the female reproductive organs. Weakening of this mucus increases the risk of HIV infection. If the infection develops during pregnancy, it can cause premature birth and low birth weight.

Infection in males usually clears itself within a few weeks. However, some men may develop epididymitis or prostatitis. Recent research also suggests an increased risk of prostate cancer in males with trichomoniasis, emphasising the need to diagnose asymptomatic males early.

What are the Symptoms of Trichomonas Vaginalis?

Approximately 70% of people with trichomoniasis will not have any signs or symptoms. Women are more likely than men to have symptoms.

Symptoms of Trichomonas vaginalis in men

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain after ejaculation

Symptoms of Trichomonas vaginalis in women

  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain when urinating
  • Lower abdominal tenderness
  • Soreness, inflammation and itching around the vagina

How long does it take for symptoms of Trichomonas vaginalis to appear?

Symptoms of Trichomonas vaginalis usually appear between 3 days and 3 weeks after infection.

What happens if Trichomonas vaginalis is left untreated?

Whilst complications are rate, trichomoniasis can weaken the protective barrier of the cervix, which helps prevent infection of the female reproductive organs. Developing Trichomonas vaginalis while pregnant can potentially result in the infection being passed onto the baby which can result in premature birth or low birth weight.

Some men may develop epididymitis or prostatitis and recent research has suggested an increased risk of prostate cancer in males with trichomoniasis.

Can I be cured of Trichomonas vaginalis?

Early diagnosis can result in effective treatment with antibiotics. You can still catch trichomoniasis again after you have been treated for it.

How often do you need to test for Trichomonas vaginalis?

Trichomonas vaginalis can be passed onto you at any time if you are having unprotected sex. It is therefore important to be aware of your sexual health and if you have concerns to seek diagnosis as soon as possible. A comprehensive STI screen is recommended once a year or with every change of partner.

Who is at risk of Trichomonas vaginalis?

Anyone who is sexually active is at risk if you are having unprotected vaginal sex. It is also possible for the infection to be spread via sex toys – using a condom over your sex toy and washing it can reduce the risk.

Where can I get a test for Trichomonas vaginalis?

At Yourhealthfirst Clinic tests for 10 STIs at the same time, including Trichomonas vaginalis

How reliable is the Trichomonas vaginalis test?

Trichomonas vaginalis is included as one of the ten STIs that YHF Clinic tests for simultaneously. Our tests is a cutting-edge testing procedure that uses molecular diagnostics that far exceed other STI tests currently available. The test screens for multiple STI pathogens to identify specific viral, protozoan or bacterial pathogens.

How is Trichomonas vaginalis treated?

Trichomonas vaginalis can be treated effectively with antibiotics. To ensure the infection is cleared, it is vital to complete the course of antibiotics and abstain from sex until treatment is complete. If your results are positive, contact your GP for treatment.