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Trichomoniasis – Causes, Diagnosis and its Treatment


Trichomoniasis is caused by the protozoan Trichomonasvaginalis. It is the most common non-viral sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the world. Women are affected more than men. Trichomoniasis is one of the leading causes of vaginal complaints among reproductive aged women.

Trichomonas is virtually always sexually transmitted. The incubation period is unknown

Clinical Features


In women, trichomoniasis presents in a range of ways. Nearly 50% percent of women are asymptomatic though many of these women eventually do become symptomatic.  Common symptoms in women include pus-filled, fowl-smelling, thin vaginal discharged that is accompanied with vaginal burning and itching. Women may also exhibit lower abdominal pain and/or dyspareunia (pain on intercourse)

In chronic infection, signs and symptoms may be milder and can be limited to vaginal itching and discharge.

If untreated in women, trichomonal vaginitis can lead to bladder/urinary infections. Pregnant women who are infected are at risk for preterm birth. Additionally, infants born to infected mothers may contract infection during delivery.


Trichomonas typically presents as urinary burning or urinary discharge. Men may also present with other conditions such as prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) or epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis)


The diagnosis of Trichomonas is based on laboratory testing. In women often vaginal secretions viewed as part of wet mount viewed under a microscope is usually sufficient to make a diagnosis. Additionally blood testing, urinary/vaginal cultures can also be used if diagnosis is in doubt.  In men, the most reliable methods for diagnosis are made by blood testing or via urinary cultures obtain via a urethral swab.

Treatment for Trichomoniasis

Treatment is indicated for both asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. Metronidazole and Tinidazole are the only class of drugs that provide curative therapy. Patients should avoid intercourse until they and their partners have completed therapy and are asymptomatic, which generally take a week. Couple should abstain from intercourse until both partners have waited at least seven days since receiving the last treatment dose.