What causes trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by infection with the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis. It is spread through sexual contact, but the parasite does not survive in the mouth or rectum, nor does it survive for long on objects or surfaces. Women can get it from either men or women who are infected, but men usually get it from infected women. Also, in rare cases, a newborn can contract the disease from his or her mother.

If sexual partners are not treated at the same time, they can also end up passing the disease back and forth.

What are the risk factors for trichomoniasis?

Several factors increase the risk of developing trichomoniasis. Not all people with risk factors will get trichomoniasis. Risk factors for trichomoniasis include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Heritage of African descent
  • High vaginal pH levels
  • History of other sexually transmitted diseases
  • Lower socioeconomic status
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Presence of another sexually transmitted disease
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse

Reducing your risk of trichomoniasis

You may be able to lower your risk of trichomoniasis by:

  • Abstaining from sex
  • Having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner
  • Seeking regular medical care to be evaluated for trichomoniasis
  • Treating any current sexually transmitted diseases promptly
  • Using latex condoms (in most cases)

INTRODUCTION

What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by infection with the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis. In women this parasite infects the vagina; in men the epididymis, prostate or bladder can be involved. In the United States, the highest number of cases occur in women between ages 16 and 35. The disease is quickly and easily treated if diagnosed early, but left untreated it can lead t... Read more about trichomoniasisintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis?

The symptoms of trichomoniasis are largely confined to the genital areas and urinary tract in both men and women. In both men and women, it is possible to be infected with Trichomonas vaginalis and have no symptoms. Asymptomatic (symptom-free) trichomoniasis is particularly common in men.

Common symptoms of trichomoniasis in women

In women, trichomoniasis symptoms almos... Read more about trichomoniasissymptoms

TREATMENTS

How is trichomoniasis treated?

Trichomoniasis is usually successfully treated with metronidazole (Flagyl), an antibiotic. Treatment may take several forms: the most effective are either a single-dose oral treatment or a series of smaller doses over one week. A newer drug called tinidazole (Tindamax) is also sometimes used in a single oral dose.

It is important that all sexual partners are treated at the same ti... Read more about trichomoniasistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Sexual Health


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