What's the Treatment for Trichomoniasis?

Medically Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on May 28, 2023
3 min read

It’s never easy to find out you have an STD, but with trichomoniasis, there is a bright side: It’s one of the most curable ones. Typically, you take one dose consisting of several tablets, or a weeklong course of an antibiotic tablet twice a day. If you’re like most people, you’re cured in about a week.

If you or your sex partner has trichomoniasis (also called trich) it’s important for both of you to get treated right away. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can still spread trich. Plus, trich raises your chances of getting HIV and makes you more likely to pass it to someone else.

Trich is usually treated with one of two medicines:

Both drugs are antibiotics and kill the parasite that cause trich. Metronidazole comes in different forms, like pills and creams, but only the pills work on trich.

Make sure to take the drugs just as directed by your doctor. It’s important to finish your medicine even after your symptoms are gone.

Both metronidazole and tinidazole work very well, and generally they’re equally safe, but doctors typically suggest metronidazole first. It’s rare that metronidazole doesn’t get the job done, but if it fails, then you may get tinidazole.

With either drug, you’ll need to avoid drinking alcohol for a short period. You’ll need to avoid drinking while you are taking the drug and for at least 3 days after taking the last dose. If you do drink alcohol, you may experience severe nausea and vomiting.

You’re typically cured in about 7 to 10 days, but check with your doctor to know for sure. It’s not uncommon for people to get another trich infection a few months after treatment. So make sure you don’t have sex again until you and your sex partners are cured and your symptoms are gone. If you don’t wait, you’ll just keep passing it back and forth. Because it’s common to get another infection, doctors suggest that women get tested again for trich within three months of treatment.

As with all medicines, there are some side effects to the drugs used for trich treatment. Some common ones include:

Tell your doctor if you have trich and you’re pregnant, or think you might be. Doctors don’t always agree on how to treat trich during pregnancy. That said, there are no studies that show metronidazole will harm you or your baby if you take it when you’re pregnant.

If you are pregnant, your doctor may prescribe metronidazole twice a day for 7 days. Some doctors prefer the single dose for women who prefer it or may not be able to complete the full 7 day course but this higher dose may cause an increase in nausea and vomiting.. If you don’t have symptoms, your doctor may still recommend treating the infection.

It’s generally considered safe to take metronidazole, but avoid breastfeeding until 12 to 24 hours after you take the pill.

With tinidazole, it’s less clear. Some doctors suggest you don’t take it at all if you’re breastfeeding. The CDC suggests that you stop breastfeeding and don’t start again until 3 days after you’ve taken your last dose.

If you’re unsure what to do, you can talk it through with your doctor to see what’s best for you and your baby.