Trichomonas is a one-celled animal that is found in the vagina, urinary tract, and intestines of women and trans* men, and in the urinary tract and intestines of men and trans*women. It may or may not cause symptoms and usually does not pose a health threat. Vaginal infections caused by trichomonas are primarily passed through sexual contact. It is curable with antibiotics and home remedies. It spreads through sexual fluids via oral, vaginal or anal sex.
It may or may not cause symptoms. A woman or trans*man can learn to recognize trichomonas through vaginal and self-cervical examination. If symptoms are present:
- Vaginal discharge or discharge from the penis may be yellowish, greenish or grayish, and may have a foul, fishy smell. In addition, it may be frothy or have bubbles.
- Soreness, irritation, swelling and burning of the genitalia may also occur.
What Are The Health Problems Associated With Trichomonas?
- If no treatment is given, changes in the vaginal cells may occur. This may or may not have any connection with cervical cancer if left untreated for extended periods. Trichomonas can also cause urinary tract infections.
How Is Trichomonas Spread?
Vaginal infections caused by trichomonas are primarily passed through sexual contact.
For many women a trichomonas infection may be the only one they have for their lifetime. However, if a woman is experiencing a recurrent infection, she may want to try these preventative measures:
- Do not use anyone else's towel.
- Clean the tub before bathing.
- When using the toilet, make sure not to let any of the genitals touch any part of the seat.
- Acidify the body by drinking cranberry juice. Oranges and citrus foods should be avoided as they can produce alkalinity in the body.
- Suggest that partners with a penis use a condom. Partners with a penis should be examined and treated by a women's health care practitioner. (Urologists may miss the infection as they are not experienced in gynecological concerns.)
Test Your Knowledge
1. True or False: Condoms are a HIGHLY effective way to prevent the transmission of Trichomonas
2. True or False: Trichomoniasis is caused by a single celled animal called Trichomonas.
3. True or False: If you're have anal, vaginal or oral sex, the only way to know if you've been exposed is to get tested.
4. True or False: Most people will have a sexually transmitted infection during the course of their lifetime.
Get tested for Trichomonas at any WHS clinic. We test people of all genders.
Partners with a vagina can transmit the infection between them. Both partners should be examined and possibly treated.
Partners of any gender can reinfect you; therefore, sexual contact should be avoided during outbreaks and treatments. Partners with a penis may use a condom, but intercourse itself can prolong the infection or make it more uncomfortable.
If you are diagnosed as having Trichomonas your sexual partners(s) should be treated as well. You are at risk to be re-infected without treating sexual partners.
Most medical practitioners prescribe a drug called Metronidazole, or Flagyl. While it seems to be very effective, it does carry certain side effects. These include nausea and vomiting, obscured tastes, "furry tongue", headaches, diarrhea, and darkened urine. Some, none, or rarely all of these may occur with you. You should not use alcohol during treatment, as nausea and vomiting are caused by the combination.
Flagyl is not recommended for people with a history of blood disease, central nervous system disorder, or if other illnesses are present. Flagyl can also lower your body's ability to ward off infection. The main concern with Flagyl is that it has been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals and that it can be harmful during the fetal development stage of pregnancy or to a nursing infant. Flagyl should not be taken in the first trimester of pregnancy. Women who are in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy, or breast feeding, should seriously consider an alternative treatment.
These are recipes that many people have tried for their own symptoms. They are often as successful, or more successful, than medical treatments, and have fewer side effects.
- Garlic suppositories (for the vagina): Peel one clove without nicking it (or it may burn), wrap in gauze to make a tampon and dip into vegetable oil. Insert into the vagina and change it every 12 hours for 3-5 days. Eating garlic can also be very beneficial for both men and women.
- Golden seal and myrrh douche vaginally, done two times a day for two weeks. Wash and dry douche equipment to prevent reinfection.
- Washing the penis thoroughly twice a day with the herbal preparation of golden seal and myrrh
- Chickweed bath: Steep fresh chickweed for 15 minutes and add to bath, for all genders.
- Combinations of the above.