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30 years of Sexual Wellbeing, LGBTQ+ and HIV Support


STIs – Trichomoniasis

How do you get it?

In women, the parasite mainly infects the vagina and the urethra.

In men, the infection most commonly affects the urethra, but the head of the penis or prostate gland (near the bladder that helps produce semen) can become infected in some cases.

Trichomoniasis is not thought to be passed on through oral or anal sex.

You also cannot pass on trichomoniasis through: kissing or hugging, sharing cups, plates or cutlery or toilet seats.

Wearing a condom during vaginal sex prevents the spread of trichomoniasis.

Also use a condom if you are using a sex toy with someone.



Symptoms in women

Abnormal vaginal discharge that may be thick, thin or frothy and yellow-green in colour.

producing more discharge than normal, which may also have an unpleasant fishy smell.

Soreness, swelling and itching around the vagina.

Pain or discomfort when passing urine or having sex.

Symptoms in men

Pain when peeing or during ejaculation.

Needing to pee more frequently than usual.

Thin, white discharge from the penis.

Soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis or foreskin.


The Risks

Complications of trichomoniasis are rare, although some women with the infection may be at an increased risk of further problems.

It can cause risks to the baby when pregnant.


GP surgery or a GUM clinic.

Usually a doctor will carry out an examination of your genital area.

In women: abnormal vaginal discharge or red blotches on the walls of the vagina and on the cervix.

In men: doctor or nurse will examine your penis for signs of inflammation or discharge. Urine sample can also be used.
After a physical examination, your doctor or nurse may need to take a swab from either the vagina or penis.


Trichomoniasis is unlikely to go away without treatment, but it can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

Most men and women are treated with an antibiotic called metronidazole, which is usually taken twice a day for 5 to 7 days.

It’s important to complete the whole course of antibiotics and avoid having sex until the infection clears up to prevent reinfection.

Your current sexual partner and any other recent partners should also be treated.