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Trichomoniasis - Women’s Health Guide


Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a tiny parasite. It affects both men and women. It is also known as "trich".

How is it spread?

Women get trichomoniasis from sexual contact with someone who has it. Anyone who has it can spread it to others. It can be spread between:

  • Men and women
  • Women and women
  • Men and men

Most infected men have no signs of trichomoniasis. Anyone who has "trich" can spread it even if they have no signs of it.

What are signs of trichomoniasis in women?

Some women can have "trich" without having signs. Others have signs that include:

  • Increased vaginal discharge that can be foamy, yellow, or yellow-green
  • Strong vaginal odor
  • Vaginal itching and irritation
  • Discomfort during sex or urination

See your health care provider to be tested if you have signs of "trich".

How do you know if you have trichomoniasis?

The only way to know if you have trichomoniasis is by a medical exam. Your health care provider can use a simple vaginal swab to test for it. Your provider may also ask to test you for other infections at the same time. See your health care provider to be tested for trichomoniasis each year if you:

  • Are age 25 or younger and are sexually active
  • Are older than 25 with new or multiple sex partners
  • Do not practice safe sex
  • Are having sex with someone who might be having sex with others
  • Are pregnant

How is it treated?

Trichomoniasis can be treated and cured with prescription pills. Always finish treatment. Do not have sex until after treatment and all signs are gone. See your health care provider if your signs do not go away after finishing treatment.

If you have trichomoniasis:

  • Always finish all treatment.
  • Do not have sex with someone who has trichomoniasis or has not finished treatment (to prevent re-infection).
  • Tell current and recent sex partners of the infection so they can get checked.
  • Know that it can raise the risk of getting and spreading HIV.

How can you avoid trichomoniasis?

  • Avoid sexual contact.
  • Have safer sex:
    • Reduce the number of sexual partners.
    • Condoms, when used correctly, can reduce the risk of getting trichomoniasis. Each time you have sex use a condom (male or female type):
      • Before vaginal sex
      • Before anal sex
      • Before oral sex
    • Have sex with only one partner who does not have sex with others and does not have trichomoniasis.
  • Know that other forms of birth control do not protect against trichomoniasis.

For more information, see Safer Sex.

What about pregnancy?

Trichomoniasis, if not treated, can increase the risk of low birth weight babies or early birth. Tell your health care provider if you have any signs of "trich" so you can be tested. Discuss treatment options with your health care provider.

For more on trichomoniasis

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