In this Article
- Trichomoniasis facts*
- What is trichomoniasis and how do you get it?
- What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis?
- Is there a test for trichomoniasis?
- How is trichomoniasis treated?
- What happens if I don't get treated?
- Should I tell my partner if I have trichomoniasis?
- Does trichomoniasis cause problems during pregnancy?
- How is trichomoniasis prevented?
What Happens If I Don't Get Treated?
If you don't get treated, the infection stays in your body. Even without symptoms, it can be passed to others. Having trichomoniasis also can increase a woman's risk of getting HIV if she is exposed to the virus.
Should I Tell My Partner If I Have Trichomoniasis?
Yes, your partner could have the infection too. You and your partner should be treated at the same time to keep from infecting each other again. Be sure to tell all of your recent sex partners also, so they can get tested and treated.
Does Trichomoniasis Cause Problems During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women with trichomoniasis may have babies who are born early or at a low birth weight. Babies born early or too small can have health problems.
Metronidazole can be used during pregnancy. But some doctors feel that it's best to not use metronidazole during the first 3 months, when the baby's organs are forming. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of treatment during pregnancy. Keep in mind that without treatment, you can give the infection to others.
How Is Trichomoniasis Prevented?
You can take steps to lower your risk of getting trichomoniasis and other STIs. The following steps work best when used together:
- Don't have sex. The surest way to lower risk of trichomoniasis or any STI is to practice abstinence, which means not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Keep in mind that trichomoniasis can be spread through vulva -- to -- vulva contact.
- Be faithful. Having sex with one uninfected partner who only has sex with you will keep you safe from trichomoniasis and other STIs. Both you and your partner must be faithful all the time to avoid exposure. This means that you only have sex with each other and no one else. The fewer sex partners you have, the lower your risk of being exposed to an STI.
- Use condoms correctly and every time you have sex. Use condoms for all types of sexual contact, even if penetration does not occur. Use a condom from the very beginning to the very end of each sex act, and with every partner. For vaginal sex, use a latex male condom or a female polyurethane condom. For anal sex, use a latex male condom. For oral sex, use a dental dam.
- Know that some birth control methods — and other methods — don't protect against STIs. Birth control methods including the pill, shots, implants, IUD, diaphragm, and spermicides, don't protect against STIs. If you use one of these methods, make sure to also use a condom with every sex act. Washing genitals, passing urine, and douching after sex will not keep you from getting an STI.
- Talk with your sex partner(s) about using condoms before having sex. Set the ground rules so you can avoid misunderstandings in a moment of passion. Be clear that you will not have any type of sex, any time, without using a condom. Remember, it's your body!
- Get tested for STIs. If either you or your partner has had other sexual partners in the past, get tested for STIs before becoming sexually active.
- Have regular checkups and pelvic exams even if you're healthy. During the checkup, your doctor will ask you a lot of questions about your lifestyle, including your sex life. Answering honestly is the only way your doctor is sure to give you the care you need.
For more information on trichomoniasis, contact womenshealth.gov at 1-800-994-9662 or the following organizations.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Government Source for Women's Health Information
Additional resources from WebMD Boots UK on Vaginal Infections
Last Editorial Review: 3/20/2009
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