Sexually Transmitted Diseases : Trichomoniasis (trik-o-mon-i-a-sis)

What is it ?

Trichomoniasis is a very common infection of the vagina. Some women may notice an increase in vaginal discharge with a foul odor and a change in colour. Many women and men have no symptoms.

How did I get it ?

By direct contact, usually sexual, with an infected person.

What can it do to me ?

Trichomoniasis is rarely dangerous but it can be very uncomfortable. In women, it can cause vaginal discharge, itching and pain when passing urine. Men often have no symptoms, but a few may notice a burning feeling when passing urine or after sex. This should be treated right away.

How is it treated ?

Usually with a drug called metronidazole which comes as a pill, a suppository or vaginal cream. The pills should not be taken in early pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Tell the doctor if you are pregnant, or think you may be pregnant.

Finish your treatment and don't drink alcohol until two days after the pills are finished. Alcohol reacts with metronidazole pills and will make you very sick. Metronidazole can also cause nausea. Take your pills with meals to help protect against this.

Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing. This will keep the area dry and speed up healing. Use cold compresses or soak in a tub to relieve the itching.

Does the treatment work ?

Usually, yes. Your partner(s) must also get treatment or you will be infected again.

Could I give it to other people ?

Yes, but usually only to your sex partner(s). Men usually have no signs but they can pass on the infection. Your partner(s) will give the infection back to you if they are not treated at the same time as you are treated.

When can I have sex again ?

After the symptoms go away and you and your partner have finished treatment.

Is follow-up important ?

Yes. It is important that you return for follow-up to make sure your infection has been cured.

Remember :

  • Take treatment as directed until it is finished;
  • Don't drink alcohol until two days after the pills are finished;
  • Return for check-up visits as your doctor or clinic asks;
  • Tell your male partner(s) that men usually have no signs of this disease.
    Don't have sex until they have been treated;
  • Use condoms to lower the chance of infections in future.

If you are still worried or have more questions, call your local health unit or STD clinic.

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only)
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
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