Pediatric Trichomoniasis

Pediatric Trichomoniasis

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Summary

Pediatric trichomoniasis, also known as trich (pronounced "trick"), is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that impacts both males and females. 

Expanded overview

If your teenager is sexually active, they may be at risk of contracting trichomoniasis, a common sexually transmitted disease (STD). Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite called trichomonas vaginalis. The parasite is carried in sexual fluids and can be passed to and from both males and females.

Females are more likely to have a trichomoniasis infection, which affects their lower genital tract, including the vagina. In males, the infection affects their urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body). Trichomoniasis does not typically spread to other parts of the body, and stays in the genital tract.

If you are pregnant and have trichomoniasis, your baby is more likely to be born preterm (early) and have a low birth weight. 

Causes

Trichomoniasis is caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis that is found in or near a woman’s vagina and in a male’s penis. It is spread through sexual contact from penis to vagina, vagina to penis, or vagina to vagina. It doesn’t normally infect areas like the anus, hands or mouth.

Risk factors

There are several risk factors that increase the chance of getting trichomoniasis:

  • Having a cut – The disease enters the blood stream through an opening in the skin (like a cut).
  • Being sexually active – Those that are sexually active have a greater risk of contracting trichomoniasis. Further, the more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to get trichomoniasis. Being with a partner that has had multiple partners also increases your risk.
  • Weakened immune system – Immune systems can be weakened by HIV/AIDS, immune-suppressing medications (organ transplants) or other reasons.

Symptoms

Many times, a person with trichomoniasis does not have any symptoms. Even if a person does not have any symptoms, they can still pass the infection to others. When trichomoniasis does cause symptoms, they may range from mild to severe.

Female symptoms

  • Bleeding after sex
  • Burning after urination
  • Discharge from vagina (can be clear to greenish and have thin or thick consistency)
  • Discomfort or pain during sex
  • Frequent urination
  • Inflammation of the genital region
  • Itching or burning around the genitals
  • Soreness or itching of the labia (folds outside of the vagina) and inner thighs
  • Strong vaginal smell
  • Swollen labia
  • Tenderness of genital area

Male symptoms

  • Burning after urination or ejaculation
  • Discomfort or pain during sex
  • Discharge from penis
  • Inflammation of the genital region
  • Itching or irritation of genitals
  • Swollen prostate gland or testicles
  • Tenderness of the penis and testicles

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