Trichomoniasis - Topic Overview
Trichomoniasis is an
infection with a tiny parasite spread by sexual contact (sexually transmitted infection (STI)). It is sometimes
called a Trichomonas infection or trich (say "trick").
and women can get a trich infection, but it is more commonly detected in women. Trich in
pregnant women can cause problems with the pregnancy.
Trich is caused by a one-cell
- In women, the parasite usually infects the
vagina and cervix,
bladder, and glands in the genital area.
- In men, the parasite infects the
urethra or under the foreskin of the penis if it isn't circumcised.
Many women and most men do
not have any symptoms of trich. But when you do have symptoms, they usually
start within 1 week after you were infected.
In women, symptoms include:
- Changes in your vaginal discharge. You may notice a color or
odor that isn't normal.
- Vaginal itching.
- Pain during urination or sex.
In men, symptoms include:
- An abnormal discharge from the penis.
- Irritation of the tip of the penis.
- A burning feeling when you urinate.
The time from contact with the trich parasite until you
get symptoms can range from 5 to 28 days.1 This is
incubation period. You can spread trich to others
during this time and until you finish the prescribed medicine. You should avoid
all sexual contact until you finish taking your medicine and the symptoms are
Your doctor can tell if
you have trich by asking about your past health and doing a physical exam. He
or she may order lab tests to find the parasite that causes trich. In women,
the parasite may sometimes be found during a routine
Pap test. This test is done as part of a regular
Your doctor will prescribe
medicine called metronidazole or tinidazole to treat trich. These kill the
parasite that causes the infection. The medicine is usually taken by mouth as
pills, tablets, or capsules. Medicine given in the vagina will not cure
It is important to treat trich. Treatment can:
- Kill the parasite and get rid of the infection and the
- Prevent you from spreading trich to others. Make sure that
your sex partner(s) will be treated at the same time that you get treatment so
that you don't get infected again. Avoid all sexual contact until you finish
taking the medicine and until your symptoms are gone.
- Reduce the risk of pelvic infections. These may lead to women
not being able to get pregnant (infertility). Trich can also lead to
infertility in men.
- Reduce the risk of infection after any pelvic surgery.
- Reduce the risk of getting other STIs, especially