- Trichomoniasis Infection Center
- A Visual Guide to PMS Slideshow
- Take the Menopause Quiz
- Pelvic Pain Pictures Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Trichomoniasis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Transmission
- Patient Comments: Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Causes
- Patient Comments: Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Telling Your Partner
- Trichomoniasis facts*
- What is trichomoniasis?
- How do you get trichomoniasis?
- Who gets trichomoniasis?
- What are the signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis?
- Is there a test to diagnose trichomoniasis?
- What is the treatment to cure trichomoniasis?
- What can happen if trichomoniasis is not treated?
- What should I do if I have trichomoniasis?
- Does trichomoniasis affect pregnancy?
- Can I take medicine to cure trichomoniasis if I am breastfeeding?
- How can I prevent from getting trichomoniasis?
- Can women who have sex with women get trichomoniasis?
*Trichomoniasis facts Medically Edited by: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
- Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite.
- Trichomonas infection can affect women or men and is spread via sexual contact.
- Many people who have the infection have no symptoms, but when symptoms occur, they include
- Diagnosis is based upon identifying the parasite through miscroscopic examination of the vaginal or urethral discharge. This is the best test for Trichomonas infection.
- Trichomonas infection can be treated and cured with antibiotic medications. Antibiotics cure the infection, but it may come back (recurr).
- If trichomoniasis is not treated the infection can persist over the long term.
- There are no effective home remedies for trichomoniasis infection.
- Trichomonas infection during pregnancy can lead to premature birth and low birth weight.
What is trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is an STI (STD) caused by a parasite. It is one of the most common STIs in the United States.
How do you get trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is spread through:
- Vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Trichomoniasis can be spread even if there are no symptoms. This means you can get trichomoniasis from someone who has no signs or symptoms.
- Genital touching. A man does not need to ejaculate (come) for trichomoniasis to spread. Trichomoniasis can also be passed between women who have sex with women.
Who gets trichomoniasis?
- Trichomoniasis is more common in women than men.
- It affects more than 2 million women ages 14 to 49 in the United States.
- Trichomoniasis affects more African-American women than white and Hispanic women. The risk for African-American women goes up with age and lifetime number of sex partners.
What are the signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis?
Most infected women have no signs or symptoms. If you do get signs or symptoms, they might appear five to 28 days after exposure and can include:
- Irritation and itching in the genital area
- Thin or frothy discharge with an unusual foul odor that can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish
- Discomfort during sex and when urinating
- Lower abdominal pain (this is rare)
If you think you may have trichomoniasis, you and your sex partner(s) need to see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible.
Is there a test to diagnose trichomoniasis?
To find out whether you have trichomoniasis, your doctor or nurse may:
- Do a pelvic exam
- Use a cotton swab to take a fluid sample from your vagina to look for the parasite under a microscope
- Do a lab test, such as a DNA test or a fluid culture. A culture tests uses urine or a swab from your vagina. The parasite then grows in a lab. It takes up to a week for the parasite to grow enough to be seen.
A Pap test is not used to detect trichomoniasis.
If you have trichomoniasis, you need to be tested for other STIs too.
Quick GuideSTD Diagnosis, Images, Symptoms, Treatment
What is the treatment to cure trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis us easily cured with one of two antibiotics:
- Metronidazole (me-truh-NYD-uh-zohl)
- Tinidazole (teye-NID-uh-zohl)
These antibiotics are usually a pill you swallow in a single dose.
If you are treated for trichomoniasis, your sex partner(s) needs to be treated too. Do not have sex until you and your sex partner(s) finish taking all of the antibiotics and have no symptoms.
What can happen if trichomoniasis is not treated?
- Most people with trichomoniasis have no symptoms and never know they have it. Even without symptoms, it can be passed to others.
- If you have trichomoniasis, you are at higher risk of getting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) if you are exposed to HIV.
- If you are HIV-positive, having trichomoniasis also raises your risk of passing HIV to your sex partner(s).
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women with HIV get screened for trichomoniasis at least once a year.
What should I do if I have trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is easy to treat. But you need to be tested and treated as soon as possible.
If you have trichomoniasis:
- See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible. Antibiotics will treat trichomoniasis.
- Take all of your medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antibiotics.
- Tell your sex partner(s) so they can be tested and treated.
- Avoid sexual contact until you and your partner(s) have been treated and cured. Even after you finish your antibiotics, you can get trichomoniasis again if you have sex with someone who has trichomoniasis.
- See your doctor or nurse again if you have symptoms that don't go away within a few days after finishing the antibiotics.
Does trichomoniasis affect pregnancy?
Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are at higher risk of premature birth (babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or a low-birth-weight baby (less than 5 1/2 pounds). Premature birth and a low birth weight raise the risk of health and developmental problems at birth and later in life.
The antibiotic metronidazole can be used to treat trichomoniasis during any stage of pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking any medicine during pregnancy.
Can I take medicine to cure trichomoniasis if I am breastfeeding?
You can take the antibiotic metronidazole if you are breastfeeding. Your doctor may suggest waiting 12 to 24 hours after taking metronidazole before breastfeeding. Do not take tinidazole if you are breastfeeding.
How can I prevent from getting trichomoniasis?
The best way to prevent trichomoniasis or any STI is to not have vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
If you do have sex, lower your risk of getting an STI with the following steps:
- Use condoms. Condoms are the best way to prevent STIs when you have sex. Because a man does not need to ejaculate (come) to give or get trichomoniasis, make sure to put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth, or anus. Other methods of birth control, like birth control pills, shots, implants, or diaphragms, will not protect you from STIs.
- Get tested. Be sure you and your partner are tested for STIs. Talk to each other about the test results before you have sex.
- Be monogamous. Having sex with just one partner can lower your risk for STIs. After being tested for STIs, be faithful to each other. That means that you have sex only with each other and no one else.
- Limit your number of sex partners. Your risk of getting STIs goes up with the number of partners you have.
- Do not douche. Douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protects you from infection. This may increase your risk of getting STIs.
- Do not abuse alcohol or drugs. Drinking too much alcohol or using drugs increases risky behavior and may put you at risk of sexual assault and possible exposure to STIs.
The steps work best when used together. No single step can protect you from every single type of STI.
Can women who have sex with women get trichomoniasis?
Yes. It is possible to get trichomoniasis, or any other STI, if you are a woman who has sex only with women.
Talk to your partner about her sexual history before having sex, and ask your doctor about getting tested if you have signs or symptoms of trichomoniasis.
Daily Health News
Women's Conditions Resources
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Women's Health Newsletter
womenshealth.gov. "Trichomoniasis." Updated: Aug 15, 2015.
Trichomoniasis - Symptoms
What were the symptoms of your trichomoniasis?Post View 11 Comments
Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Transmission
Please share how you contracted your trich infection.Post View 9 Comments
Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Causes
What caused your trichomoniasis infection and risk during pregnancy?Post View 4 Comments
Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Diagnosis
What tests and exams did you have that led to a diagnosis of a trich infection?Post View 3 Comments
Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Treatment
What kinds of treatment, including medications, did you receive for your trich infection?Post View 4 Comments
Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) - Telling Your Partner
If you were diagnosed with a trich infection, please share how you told your partner.Post View 6 Comments
Top Trichomoniasis Related Articles
Bacterial Vaginosis (Causes, Symptoms, Treatment)
Bacterial vaginosis is an abnormal vaginal condition with signs and symptoms of vaginal discharge, vaginal odor, and vaginal pain.
Bacterial vaginosis results from an overgrowth of normal bacteria in the vagina. Although it may cause some disturbing symptoms (discharge and odor), it is not dangerous and cannot be passed by sex. Diagnosis becomes important to exclude serious infections like gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Many treatment options are available such as oral antibiotics and vaginal gels.
Barrier Methods of Birth ControlBarrier methods of birth control include:
- male condom,
- female condom,
- contraceptive sponge,
- diaphragm, and
- the cervical cap.
Blood In SemenBlood in semen is also known as hematospermia. Blood in semen can be caused by many conditions affecting the tubes that distribute semen from the testicles (seminal vesicles) or the prostate gland. Symptoms that may accompany blood in semen include blood in the urine, fever, painful urination, pain with ejaculation, tenderness, and swelling in the testes or groin area. Urinalysis, ultrasound, and MRI may be used to diagnose blood in the semen. Treatment depends upon the underlying cause of blood in the semen.
CondomsCondoms provide a way for men and women to prevent pregnancy. There are many methods of birth control; some types also protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are one type of birth control that in addition to preventing pregnancy also prevent the spread of STD's.
IUDThe IUD (intrauterine device) is a birth control method designed for a woman. The IUD is a small "T" made of molded polyethylene plastic coated with barium so that, if need be, it can be seen on X-ray. There are two types of IUDs 1) Intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) including the ParaGard, Copper 7, and Mini-7; and 2) Intrauterine system (IUS) including Progestasert and Mirena. Side effects of the IUD include spotting, infection, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Risks and complications of the IUD are miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, and increased menstrual bleeding.
Pelvic ExamA pelvic exam is a routine exam for women. Physicians use a pelvic exam to look for conditions in particular organs of a woman's body including the:
- genital organs,
- Fallopian tubes,
- bladder, and
- sexually-transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, Trichomonas, human papillomavirus, and Chlamydia,
- bacterial vaginosis
- yeast infections
- urinary tract infections
- abnormal uterine bleeding
- fibroid tumors
- ovarian cysts
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- rectal bleeding, and
Sexual AddictionThe term sex addiction describes the behavior of someone who has an unusually strong sex drive or sexual obsession. Sex and thoughts of sex dominate a sex addict's thinking, making it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships. Sex addicts may engage in exhibitionism, voyeurism, prostitution, compulsive masturbation, or cybersex. Treatment for sex addiction includes individual counseling, marital and/or family therapy, support groups, 12-step recovery programs, and in some cases, medications.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs In Women)
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are infections that are transmitted during any type of sexual exposure, including intercourse (vaginal or anal), oral sex, and the sharing of sexual devices, such as vibrators. Women can contract all of the STDs, but may have no symptoms, or have different symptoms than men do. Common STDs in women are:
- Zika virus
- Genital herpes
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Pubic lice
- Genital warts
Treatment for STDs depends upon the type.
Take the STD QuizThere are more sexually transmitted diseases than just the ones you've heard of. Find out what you've been missing with the STD Quiz.
STDs in Men Overview
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like
genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge.
Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes.
Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
STDs Facts SlideshowLearn about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including symptoms, signs, diagnosis, and treatment options. Get more information on herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, scabies, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs.
Trichomoniasis PictureInfection with trichomonas, in humans with Trichomonas vaginalis. See a picture of Trichomoniasis and learn more about the health topic.
Vaginitis OverviewVaginitis refers to inflammation of the vagina. Vaginitis can be caused by infections, menopause, or poor hygiene. Symptoms of vaginitis include:
- vaginal itching,
- pain, or