What Is Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis (often called "trich") is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

What Are STDs?

STDs (also called sexually transmitted infections or STIs) are infections that spread through sex (vaginal, oral, or anal). Some STDs can spread through close contact with the genitals or body fluids.

How Do People Get Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis (trik-uh-muh-NEYE-uh-siss) spreads between men and women through vaginal sex. Women can spread trich to other women through sexual contact. Men do not usually get trich from other men.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Trichomoniasis?

Many people with trich have no symptoms. They can spread the infection to others without knowing it.

In females, symptoms can include:

  • vaginal discharge, which can smell bad
  • itching, redness, and tenderness in or around the vagina
  • pain when peeing
  • pain during sex
  • bleeding after sex

In males, symptoms can include:

  • discharge from the penis
  • pain or burning when peeing
  • discomfort after ejaculation

What Causes Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.

How Is Trichomoniasis Diagnosed?

To find out if someone has trich, health care providers do tests on:

  • discharge taken from the vagina or cervix (opening to the womb) in girls
  • discharge taken from the urethra in guys
  • pee

How Is Trichomoniasis Treated?

Health care providers treat trichomoniasis with  antibiotics . All sexual partners from the past 2 months need treatment too, even if they don't have signs of trichomoniasis.

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking the antibiotic and for 3 days after finishing it. Drinking alcohol while taking the antibiotic for trich can cause a fast heart rate, nausea, and vomiting.

People can get trichomoniasis again if:

  • their partners aren't treated
  • they get treated but then have sex with someone else who has trichomoniasis

What Problems Can Happen?

Females who don't get treatment for trichomoniasis have a greater chance of:

  • fertility problems (trouble getting pregnant)
  • developing cervical cancer
  • getting HIV if they have sex with someone who has HIV

Males who don't get treatment for trichomoniasis have a greater chance of:

  • swelling and irritation of the tubes at the back of the testicles
  • swelling and irritation in the prostate
  • fertility problems (trouble getting a woman pregnant)
  • developing prostate cancer

Can Trichomoniasis Be Prevented?

The only way to prevent trichomoniasis and other STDs is to not have sex (oral, vaginal, or anal). If you decide to have sex, using a latex condom every time can prevent most STDs.

If you're sexually active, get tested for STDs every year, or more often if recommended by your health care provider.

Back to Articles


Related Articles

Talking to Your Partner About Condoms

Some people - even those who are having sex - are embarrassed by the topic of condoms. Here are some tips for talking about condoms with your partner.

Read More

Vaginal Discharge: What's Normal, What's Not

Normal vaginal discharge has several purposes: cleaning and moistening the vagina and helping to prevent infections. But sometimes discharge indicates there's a problem. Get the facts on what's normal and what's not.

Read More

Gyn Checkups

Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams.

Read More

I've Never Had My Period, So What's This Discharge?

Find out what the experts have to say.

Read More

Vaginal Yeast Infections

What are vaginal yeast infections? Can anything be done to prevent them?

Read More

Testicular Exams

If you're a guy, you may be wondering why the doctor needs to do a testicular exam. Find out in this article.

Read More

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

Search our entire site.