Trichomonas is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is sometimes referred to as trichomoniasis. Trichomonas is a tiny parasite which causes an infection. In men it can be found in the urethra. The infection is easily passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Anyone who is sexually active can get it and pass it on. You don’t need to have lots of sexual partners.


The incubation period for trichomonas is normally from 4-28 days. Up to half of infected men and women will not have any signs or symptoms at all. Signs and symptoms usually show up within a month of coming into contact with trichomonas. You might notice:

Symptoms of Men:

  • A discharge from the penis, which may be thin and whitish.
  • Pain, or a burning sensation, when passing urine.
  • Inflammation of the foreskin (this is uncommon).

Symptoms of Women:

  • Inflammation, pain and itchiness in or around the vagina. Discomfort during sexual intercourse.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge which could be whitish, yellowish or greenish. The discharge may come with an odor.
  • Pain, or a burning sensation, when passing urine.
How is Trichomonas passed on

Trichomonas is usually passed from one person to another during sex. The infection can be spread through unprotected vaginal sex and possibly through sharing sex toys if you do not wash them or cover them with a new condom each time they are used.

Trichomonas tests

There are different ways of testing for trichomonas.

  • A doctor may use a swab to collect a sample of cells from the entrance to the urethra.
  • You may be asked to provide a urine sample.

How soon after sex can I have a check-up?

If you think you might have been in contact with trichomonas, you should seek doctor’s advice straight away. If you have trichomonas, it can be detected through a DNA test within a few days after you have had sex.

Do I need to have a test to check if the trichomonas has gone?

If you take the treatment according to the instructions, you will not normally need a follow-up test. You should, however, go back to the clinic if:

  • You think you may have come into contact with trichomonas again.
  • You had unprotected sex with a partner before the completion of the treatment.
  • You did not complete the treatment or did not take it according to the instructions.
  • You vomited after taking the tablets.
  • The signs and symptoms do not go away.
  • Your test was negative but you develop signs or symptoms of trichomonas.

In these situations, you may need a second test. You may need another course of antibiotics, a different treatment, or tests for other infections.

If you have had trichomonas and it has been treated, you will not be immune to the infection – this means that you can get it again. If you have any questions, please consult our doctor.

  • The treatment involves taking a course of antibiotic tablets either as a single dose or a longer course (up to a week).
  • You will be advised not to drink alcohol during the treatment. This is because antibiotics used to treat trichomonas react with alcohol and can make you feel very unwell.
  • If there is a high chance you have the infection, treatment may be started before receiving the check-up results.
  • You will be given treatment if your partner is found to have trichomonas, even you do not have any symptoms.



Schirm J et al. Trichomonas vaginalis detection using real-time TaqMan PCR.J Microbiol Methods. 2007 Feb;68(2):243-7