Understanding and identifying vaginal infections

As seen on Canadian Health & Family with Dr. Marla Shapiro. Learn more

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Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis, also known as “trich”, is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite. Although it is more common in women, both men and women can get a trich infection. In women, the infection can present itself in the vagina, urethra, cervix, bladder and genital area glands.

Contributing factors

The following factor may contribute to parasitic infections:

  • unprotected sex with an infected partner

Symptoms

Trichomoniasis is not always accompanied by symptoms, but if you do have symptoms, they will usually appear within one week of being infected. Asymptomatic women and men may pass on trich to their sexual partners without even realizing it.

When present, symptoms in women include:

  • vaginal itching
  • abnormal vaginal secretions
  • pain during urination
  • pain during sexual intercourse

Treatment

If you test positive for trich, your healthcare provider will prescribe an antibiotic (metronidazole). This medicine, usually taken by mouth as pills, tablets or capsules, kills the parasite causing the infection.

Prevention

Trich is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner. As an infected person may not have any symptoms, it is important to always practice safe sex to prevent getting trich.