What is trichomonas?
Trichomonas is an infection of the vagina
. It is also called trich, which is pronounced "trick." You can only get trichomonas if you are sexually active, but it isn't a sexually transmitted disease
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How do you get trichomonas?
Trichomonas is caused by a one-celled parasite
. You usually get it through intimate sexual contact
, which is any kind of contact between your genitals and another person's mouth, genitals, or anus. back to top
How do I know if I have trichomonas?
If you have trichomonas you may notice:
What should I do if I think I have trichomonas?
- itching in your vaginal area, especially on your vulva.
- vaginal discharge that's more than your normal amount, or that's green and frothy.
- redness and swelling of the vagina and surrounding tissues. back to top
If you think you have trichomonas or any other kind of infection, make an appointment to see your health professional. She or he may be able to diagnose trichomonas just from your symptoms and the green, frothy discharge coming from your vagina, and no tests may be needed. But sometimes it's difficult to tell one type of vaginal infection
from another. You might have itching and increased vaginal discharge if you have other kinds of vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis
or a yeast infection
. Your health professional can tell the difference by doing two simple tests. back to top
How will my health professional know that I have trichomonas?
To figure out if you have trichomonas, your health professional will take a sample of your vaginal discharge
and look at it under a microscope. If you have it, tiny trichomonads
, a kind of parasite, will be seen swimming in the discharge. Your vaginal discharge looks different under a microscope if you have bacterial vaginosis
or a yeast infection
Your health professional also might send a sample of your vaginal discharge to the lab for a culture. The lab will test it to find out exactly what kind of infection you have. Getting a culture can be especially helpful if you don't get better after treatment. Maybe the wrong diagnosis was made the first time. If you don't have trichomonas, these tests will help your health professional figure out what kind of infection you do have. back to top
How do I get rid of trichomonas?
If you have trichomonas, you will have to take oral antibiotics. One kind of antibiotic that you might take is metronidazole (Flagyl®). You must take strong oral antibiotics to kill the trichomonas organisms that might be in other parts of your body. Many girls who have trichomonas in the vagina also have it in the bladder.
While there are lots of nonprescription medications in the drugstore that will cure a yeast infection, none of them will cure trichomonas. If you think you have trichomonas or any kind of vaginal infection, you should call your health professional. It is especially important to call your health professional if you tried a nonprescription medication for a yeast infection, but it didn't get better. back to top
How do I know if the medicine is working?
You should feel better within 24 hours of starting the right medication. If you don't feel better within 48 hours, it's possible that the medicine you're using is not right for the type of infection you have. In that case, you should call your health professional. back to top
Should my boyfriend be treated for trichomonas?
Yes, even if he has no symptoms. Trichomonas is present in your bodily fluids—your vaginal discharge and his semen. You can pass trich back and forth even when you're just "fooling around." You should not have any kind of sexual contact until both of you have been treated and have no more symptoms. Otherwise, you'll just get trichomonas again. back to top