STD - Trichomonas
- Seeking information about trichomonas, a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Trichomonas is caused by the Trichomonas vaginalis protozoa.
- Trichomonas is a common STD. It has been estimated that there are eight million new cases each year in North America.
- Trichomonas is treatable with antibiotics.
Typical Symptoms of Trichomonas
- In women, trichomonas may cause a foul-odored, yellow, sometimes bubbly vaginal discharge. It may also cause vaginal itching and redness, or burning with urination.
- Some women have no symptoms.
- Most men with a trichomonas infection have no symptoms. Sometimes there may be a mild burning with urination or a discharge from the penis.
What is a Normal versus Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?
- Normal: May be clear or white, thin or thick. It is not odorous and there is no itching.
- Yellow or green vaginal discharge is usually from an infection.
- A foul-smelling discharge is usually from an infection.
- A thick, white, itchy, cottage cheese-like non-odorous discharge is often caused by a yeast infection.
- American Social Health Association
- “Answers to your questions about teen sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases”.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines 2002. MMWR. 2002; 51(RR-6):1-80.
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), Sexual Health Facts and Information
When to call your doctor
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You were forced to have sex (sexual assault or rape)
- Yellow or green vaginal discharge occurring with a fever
- Constant abdominal pain for more than 2 hours
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think you need to be seen
- Abnormal color of vaginal discharge (i.e., yellow, green, gray)
- Bad smelling vaginal discharge
- Blood in vaginal discharge (Exception: normal, regular menstrual period)
- Burning or pain with urination
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
- You are worried you might have a sexually transmitted disease
Self Care at Home If
- No symptoms and you don't think you need to be seen
- Questions about trichomonas
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR TRICHOMONAS
- How is trichomonas transmitted?
- Trichomonas is spread by sexual intercourse (vaginal).
- Some women and many men do not have symptoms when they are infected. As a result, trichomonas can be passed along with neither sexual partners knowing that it is occurring.
- How long does it usually take for symptoms to appear once one is exposed?
- The incubation period is 4 days to 4 weeks.
- How can I get tested for trichomonas?
- Inspection of a sample of the vaginal discharge under the microscope.
- May also be found on a Pap smear.
- Is there treatment for trichomonas?
- Antibiotic therapy is needed. A person with trichomonas is contagious until he or she has been treated.
- Sexual partners should also be evaluated and treated.
- STD National Hotline
- The CDC National STD Hotline provides information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV/genital warts, herpes, and HIV/AIDS. Specialists can provide general information, referrals to local clinics, and written materials about STDs and disease prevention.
- Toll-free number (English): (800) 227-8922
- Toll-free number (Spanish): (800) 344-7432
- Their website is at: http://www.ashastd.org
- Pregnancy test, when in doubt:
- If there is any possibility of pregnancy, obtain and use a urine pregnancy test from the local drug store.
- Follow the instructions included in the package.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pregnancy test is positive or if you have difficulties with the home pregnancy test
- Discharge from penis or unusual vaginal discharge
- You become worse
Author: David A. Thompson, M.D.
Last reviewed: 9/15/2011
Last revised: 1/9/2010 9:55:40 AM