Trichomoniasis, an infection that affects both men and women, is caused by a microscopic parasite. Bacterial vaginosis (BV), which is not a “classic” STI, is caused by an imbalance in the bacteria normally found in the vagina, and only affects women. This infection is most commonly found in women.
- Men usually, do not experience any symptoms, but those who do experience an irritation inside the penis, mild discharge, or slight burning after urination or ejaculation.
- Women, trichomoniasis causes a frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong odor. The infection may also cause discomfort during intercourse and urination. Irritation and itching of the female genital area and, in rare cases, lower abdominal pain can also occur.
Women with BV often have an abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor. Some women report a strong fish-like odor, especially after intercourse or when washing the vulva with soap. The discharge is usually white or gray and can be thin. Women with BV may also have burning during urination or itching around the outside of the vagina, or both. Some women with BV report no signs or symptoms at all.
Can be cured with an antibiotic given by mouth in a single dose. Partners should be treated at the same time to eliminate the parasite and to prevent recurrence. Persons being treated for trichomoniasis should avoid sex until they and their sex partners complete treatment and have no symptoms.
BV is treatable with antimicrobial medicines (orally or vaginally) prescribed by a health care provider. Two different medicines are recommended as treatment for BV: metronidazole or clindamycin. Metronidazole cannot be taken with alcohol or it will cause extreme sickness, so read the directions on your medication carefully.
There are several ways to prevent trichomoniasis, the most effective being using condoms correctly every time you have sex. Other preventative measures are limiting the number of sex partners, practicing sexual abstinence and avoiding sexual contact if you think you are infected.
Since BV can occur in the absence of sexual intercourse and is not completely understood by scientists, the best ways to prevent it are unknown. However, enough is known to suggest that BV is associated with having a new sex partner or having multiple sex partners. Help reduce the risk of upsetting the natural chemical balance of the vagina and developing BV by using condoms, limiting the number of sex partners, refraining from douching and using all of the medicine prescribed for treatment of BV, even if the symptoms go away.