Trichomoniasis (TRIK-oh-mo-NY-a-sis), (also called trichomonas or trich), is caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Every year millions of Americans get trichomonas. It is caused by sexual contact with an infected person.


Most people who have trichomonas don’t know they are infected. If you do have symptoms, they usually show up 3 to 21 days after sexual contact.


  • Frothy, greenish-yellow, or gray vaginal discharge with foul odor
  • Itching or irritation of the genitals
  • Vaginal soreness
  • Painful sex
  • Burning or painful urination


  • Burning with urination
  • Discharge from the penis


Since trichomonas is transmitted through sexual contact, it is important to see your provider for treatment and testing for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If it is not treated, it could cause problems in pregnancy or other gynecologic (gyne) problems.


Your provider can test you for trichomonas by doing an exam and checking the thickness and color of the discharge. He or she may also look at the discharge sample under a microscope or send a sample to the lab for testing.


Medicine is available for you and your partner. Do not drink alcohol while taking the medicine and for 24 hours after you stop taking it.

It’s important that you finish all of the medicine to prevent reinfection. Both you and your partner need to be treated to cure this infection.

Reduce your risks

If you have sex, you could be at risk for having an STD. See your doctor to be tested. Following are some ways to reduce your risk.

  • Don’t have sex. Not having sex is the only sure way to prevent STDs.
  • Limit your sexual partners. The best protection is to have sex with only one person who is free of infection and who does not have sex with other people.
  • Know your partner. Talk with your partner before you have sex. You should know your partner’s past sexual history. Has your partner ever had an STD? How many sexual partners has he or she had?
  • Look before you have sex. Do not be afraid to look before you have sex. If you see any sores, a rash, or discharge, talk to your partner about it. But remember, you can’t always tell by looking.
  • Always use a condom. Protect yourself by using latex condoms with spermicide
    every time you have sex. Carry them with you and be sure to use them. Using condoms the right way is very, very important.
  • Get regular STD check-ups. You should get a regular check-up for STDs every six months if: you have sex with more than one partner, you have sex with a new partner, or your partner has sex with others.

Just because you have cured an STD doesn’t mean you can’t get it again. You can be reinfected after treatment as often as you are exposed to each STD.

Other resources for STD information

Use condoms the right way

Except for not having sex (abstinence), latex condoms give the best protection from many sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Condoms are helpful only if they are used the right way.

Note: If you or your partner has an allergy to latex, talk with your provider. Important steps for using condoms correctly:

  • Use a latex condom every time you have sex.
  • When using a lubricant, do not use anything oil-based like Vaseline. Use only water-based bicants like K-Y Jelly.
  • Always put the condom on before the penis touches or enters the vagina.
  • After ejaculation, the man should withdraw from the vagina while the penis is still erect. While taking the penis out of the vagina, hold onto the rim of the condom. This will keep it from slipping off.
  • Pull the condom and the penis out of the vagina together.

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