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Difference Between Gonorrhea and Trichomoniasis

Gonorrhea is an STD caused by bacteria that affects the reproductive organs. Trichomoniasis is an STD that is caused by a parasitic protozoan.

What is Gonorrhea?


Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a specific type of Neisseria bacteria.

Causes and prevalence:

The cause of gonorrhea is the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoea. The infection is common with over 1 million cases a year in the United States. Millions of people get infected with the gonorrhea bacteria every year.


Both men and women have burning on urination if they have the infection. Women also have green or yellow discharge and men have a discharge that looks like pus. Females and males both experience inflammation in their genital organs due to the bacterial infection


Complications include tendosynovitis and arthritis. It also makes the person at a higher risk of catching other STDs, including HIV. This is because the trich actually increases inflammation in the mucous membranes so it is then easier for other pathogens to pass into the body.


Diagnosis of a gonorrhea infection is by a special test known as a nucleic acid amplification testing. This test can be done on various bodily fluids.


Ceftriaxone is the antibiotic that is suggested as the best choice for treating this infection. The antibiotic is given by intramuscular injection.

What is Trichomoniasis?


Trichomoniasis is an STD infection that is due to infection with a parasite.

Causes and prevalence:

The protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis is the cause of trichomoniasis. This parasite is spread from person to person by sexual activity. It is very common with about 3.7 million cases a year diagnosed in the United States alone.


Men are often without symptoms or less likely to show symptoms when compared with women who are infected. In women, the genitals are itchy and painful. There is also a foul-smelling vaginal discharge that may be yellow, white, or green in color. There may also be pain when urinating, and pain in the abdomen. 


Complications of trichomoniasis include a higher risk of catching another STD and, in females, an increased risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease. Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are at risk of having a low-birth weight baby and premature delivery. Although men may have few symptoms the condition can worsen causing prostatitis.


Diagnosis is often by microscopy. A small sample of fluid is taken and examined under the microscope to see if the protozoa are present.


Treatment includes using the following medications: metronidazole and tinidazole. Metronidazole is usually the first choice but tinidazole may be used if the first antibiotic fails to work.

Difference between Gonorrhea and Trichomoniasis?


Gonorrhea is an STD that is bacterial in origin. Trichomoniasis is an STD that is due to a protozoan.

Causative organism

Gonorrhea is caused by Infection with the bacterium known as Neisseria gonorrhoea.  Trichomoniasis is caused by the protozoan known as Trichomonas vaginalis.


The discharge that occurs with gonorrhea is usually green in females and pus-like in males. The discharge that occurs with trichomoniasis is thin and usually from the vagina; it can be green, yellow, or white, and has a foul smell.


Ceftriaxone is the antibiotic given to treat people with gonorrhea. Metronidazole is the medicine given to treat people with trichomoniasis.


Gonorrhea can lead to complications such as joint infection and inflammation and infertility. Trichomoniasis can cause prostatitis in males, and in females it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease; pregnant women can have low-birth weight babies and preterm delivery as a result of the infection.

Table comparing Gonorrhea and Trichomoniasis

Summary of Gonorrhea Vs. Trichomoniasis

  • Gonorrhea is an infection that is a result of a type of bacterium.
  • Trichomoniasis is an infection that is a result of a type of protozoan.
  • Both gonorrhea and trichomoniasis can occur together at the same time in the same individual.
  • There is medication available to treat trichomoniasis and gonorrhea.


Is trichomoniasis related to gonorrhea?

These two conditions are not related but are both STDs that do often occur together in a person. In fact, about 40% of women with one condition also have the other.

Is trichomoniasis, gonorrhea or chlamydia curable?

These infections can be cured if the correct medication is given once diagnosed.

Is trich more common than gonorrhea?

Trichomoniasis is much more common in the population than gonorrhea. Estimates are that trich is found in about 3% of women while gonorrhea occurs in about 0.33% of women. Trichomoniasis also does not show many if any symptoms in men making it harder for males to realize they are infected.

How to tell the difference between chlamydia and trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is limited to the genital area while chlamydia is not always limited and may occur in the anus and mouth. Trichomoniasis also usually is symptomatic only in women, while chlamydia is equally symptomatic in men and women.

How can you tell if a man has Trichomonas?

There may be burning during ejaculation and urination and a thin whitish discharge from the penis. However, symptoms are not always evident in men who have this infection.

What are 3 trichomoniasis symptoms?

The three symptoms include a foul-smelling discharge, painful urination, and red, burning, and painful genitals.

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References :

[0]Morgan, Mackenzie K., and Catherine F. Decker. "Gonorrhea." Disease-a-Month 62.8 (2016): 260-268.

[1]Morris, Sheldon. R “Trichomoniasis”. Merckmanuals. Merck & Co., 2023, https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/sexually-transmitted-infections-stis/trichomoniasis

[2]Schumann, Jessica A., and Scott Plasner. "Trichomoniasis." StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing, 2022.

[3]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEAIiFb-5U-on-the-table-are-pills-a-thermometer-leaves-and-a-notebook-with-the-inscription-gonorrhea/

[4]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEKEe4eaLY-yellow-piece-of-paper-with-the-word-trichomoniasis/

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