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Trichomoniasis +tri-ku-mu-!nI-u-sus

by J. Allen McCutchan, MD, MSc

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease of the vagina or urethra that is caused by the protozoa Trichomonas vaginalis and that causes vaginal irritation and discharge.

  • Women may have a greenish yellow, frothy, fishy-smelling vaginal discharge with irritation and soreness in the genital area.

  • Men usually have no symptoms, but a few have a frothy discharge from the penis and mild pain or discomfort during urination.

  • Examination of a sample of the discharge under a microscope usually enables doctors to identify the infection.

  • A single dose of an antibiotic cures most women, but most men need to take an antibiotic for 5 to 7 days.

Trichomonas vaginalis commonly causes a sexually transmitted disease (STD) of the vagina in women and an STD of the urinary tract in men and women. Women are much more likely to develop symptoms. About 20% of women develop trichomoniasis of the vagina (trichomonas vaginitis) during their reproductive years (see Trichomonas Vaginitis).

Many people with trichomoniasis also have gonorrhea or other STDs.

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