Information Center > Trichomonas
STD Information Center
Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is a sexually
transmitted disease that affects women more than men
and is caused by a tiny parasite in the vagina
What is Trichomonas infection?
Trichomonas vaginalis is a microscopic
parasite found worldwide. Infection with trichomonas
is called trichomoniasis
(trick-oh-moe-nye-uh-sis). Trichomoniasis is one of the
most common sexually transmitted diseases, mainly affecting
16-to-35-year old women. In the United States, it is
estimated that 2 million women become infected each year.
is trichomoniasis spread?
Trichomoniasis is spread through sexual activity. Infection
is more common in women who have had multiple sexual
common misbelief is that infection can be spread
by a toilet seat; this isn’t likely, since
the parasite cannot live long in the environment
or on objects.
What are the signs and symptoms of infection?
Signs and symptoms of infection range from having
no symptoms (asymptomatic) to very symptomatic. Typical
symptoms include foul smelling or frothy green discharge
from the vagina, vaginal itching or redness. Other
symptoms can include painful sexual intercourse, lower
abdominal discomfort, and the urge to urinate.
with this infection do not have symptoms. When symptoms
are present, they most commonly are discharge
from the urethra, the urge to urinate, and a burning
sensation with urination.
How long after infection do symptoms occur?
Most women who develop symptoms do so within 6 months
of being infected.
What should I do if I think I have
See your health care provider who can test you for
How is infection diagnosed?
Your health care provider will perform a pelvic
exam to collect vaginal samples for examination. Diagnosis
is most commonly made by viewing the parasite under
a microscope. Culturing for the parasite is the best
way to diagnose infection; results may take 3-7 days.
Diagnosis is made by collecting specimens from
No diagnostic test is 100% accurate; mistakes can
be made. Your health care provider may order additional
testing to confirm the diagnosis.
I have trichomoniasis
and am pregnant; can I spread infection to my baby?
Yes, but this is rare. Babies born to infected mothers
may contract infection during delivery. Infants may
develop fever; girls may develop vaginal discharge.
Children should be treated if diagnosed. See your
health care provider about treatment of trichomoniasis
How can a child get trichomoniasis?
If an infant
is infected, it is possible that the mother spread
infection during childbirth.
mother should be checked for infection.
Because trichomoniasis is an STD,
infection in a young child may indicate sexual abuse.
If sexual abuse is suspected, an evaluation for other
STDs is recommended.
Because trichomoniasis is a STD, infection
in a teenager may indicate sexual activity or sexual
abuse. An evaluation for other STDs is recommended.
infection treatable - Any Treatments?
Yes. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic for you
and all sexual partners you have had since becoming
infected. If all current sexual partners are not
treated, it is possible to become reinfected. Infants
and children who are infected should be treated.
failed, is there another recommendation?
Yes. However, you may be treated with the same drug,
for a longer time and at a higher dose. Your doctor
may prescribe more than one drug to treat you.
All sexual partners should be treated at the same
Use a latex condom or avoid having sexual intercourse
to prevent reinfection during treatment.
Yes. Follow these guidelines.
- Abstain from sexual intercourse; or,
- Use a latex
condom properly, every time you have sexual intercourse,
with every partner.
- Limit your sexual partners.
The more sex partners you have, the greater your
risk of encountering
who has this or other STDs.
- If you are infected,
your sexual partner(s) should be treated. This
will prevent you from getting
Once I am infected, am I immune?
No. You can get infected again.
Information Center | STD
If you think you may have a sexually
transmitted disease, you should see a physician immediately
to be properly diagnosed and treated. You should
not try to diagnose or treat symptoms on your own.
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