Trichomonas vaginitis is a common vaginal infection caused by a protozoan known as trichomonas vaginalis. This infection is, with rare exceptions, sexually transmitted. It is often found with other STDs and can be found in the vagina, urethra, cervix, Bartholin’s and Skene’s glands. Women can acquire this infection from men and other women.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the prevalence of this infection varies from 13% in African American women to a little over 1% in white and Mexican-American women.
Typical signs and symptoms include a foul odor accompanied by a thin greenish to yellowish frothy discharge. This may also be accompanied by vaginal itching, burning on urination, frequent urination, painful intercourse and bleeding after intercourse. Symptoms may occur from 4-30 days after exposure.
The major implications of trichomoniasis are the symptoms of vaginitis (itching and discharge) and urethritis (urinary frequency and burning). Trichomoniasis is also a risk factor for developing infections after hysterectomy and may also play a role in tubal infertility. Another, more recent concern, is that the infection may facilitate transmission of HIV.
The consequences of trichomoniasis are important for pregnant women as it is associated with premature rupture of membranes and preterm delivery.
The diagnosis of trichomonas vaginitis is beyond the scope of this webpage. However, this infection is easily treated with Flagyl (metronidazole).