Trichomoniasis is caused by a small organism called Trichomonas vaginalis, and often spread through sexual activity. Women are most often affected by this disease, although men can become infected and carry the infection to their partners.

Men often do not have symptoms of trichomoniasis. Not until their partners need treatment, would they know they are infected. But when symptoms do occur, they include:

  • Irritation inside the penis
  • Mild discharge
  • Slight burning after urination or ejaculation

Symptoms in women can include:

  • Greenish-yellow, frothy vaginal discharge with a strong odor
  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal itching and irritation
  • Discomfort during intercourse
  • Lower abdominal pain (rare)

Symptoms usually appear within five to 28 days of exposure in women.


The doctor must perform a physical exam and lab test to diagnose trichomoniasis. Lab tests are performed on a sample of vaginal fluid or urethral fluid to look for the disease-causing parasite. The parasite is harder to detect in men than in women.



An oral antibiotic called metronidazole (Flagyl) is the usual treatment for trichomoniasis. It is also the only safe medication that can be used by infected pregnant women.

To prevent reinfection and further spread of the disease, partners of the infected person must also be treated. Persons being treated for trichomoniasis must abstain from sex until they are completely free from the infection. It is important to take all of the antibiotics and get retested after three months to be certain that the infection is gone.


What Happens If I Don’t Get Treated for Trichomoniasis?

In pregnant women, trichomoniasis may cause premature rupture of the membranes that protect the baby and early delivery. The genital inflammation caused by trichomoniasis might also increase a woman’s risk of acquiring HIV infection. Trichomoniasis in a woman who is also infected with HIV can increase the chances of transmitting HIV infection to a sex partner.

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Hidradenitis suppurativa, commonly known as acne inversa, is a skin disorder [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts A womb biopsy involves the removal of a tiny amount of [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Wilms' tumor, commonly called nephroblastoma, is a kind of childhood kidney [...]