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Doctor and Patient

Trichomonas Vaginalis

What is Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV)

Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is caused by a tiny parasite, flagelleted protozoon, This produces an infection in the vagina in women, and sometimes in the urethra in men. It is normally sexually transmitted. It usually takes about seven days to develop, but can have a range from 3-21 days. The infection is easily passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Both men and women can get it. Often there are no symptoms, but the infection may still be there.

Symptoms of Trichomonas Vaginalis


Common symptoms in women are:

  • A change in vaginal discharge, this may increase, become thinner, frothy, or change in colour and develop a musty or fishy smell.

  • Itching and inflammation in and around the vagina

  • Difficulty or discomfort when passing urine

  • Cystitis

  • Discomfort or pain during sex

  • Inflammation of the urine tube (urethra)

  • Lower abdominal tenderness


Men often experience no symptoms at all. If they do have symptoms, they may include:

  • A discharge from the penis, which may be thin and whitish

  • Pain, or a burning sensation, when passing urine

  • Occasionally, inflammation of the glands and foreskin although this uncommon.

Testing for Trichomonas Vaginalis

A test is recommended as soon as possible if in contact with trichomonas (TV). A test involves the Doctor taking a swab from the infected area. In women a vaginal swab is taken during an internal examination. In men a swab is taken from the urethra. If a test is negative, but your partner is diagnosed with trichomonas, treatment is usually given. The Doctor will advise the test result during the consultation.


Treatment of Trichomonas Vaginalis

Treatment is very effective, it involves taking antibiotics tablets. There are several different antibiotics that can be used. These are taken either as a single dose or a longer course (up to a week). There are no treatments you can buy without prescription. Some antibiotics used to treat trichomonas interact with the combined oral contraceptive pill, tell the Doctor also if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as this will influence the type of antibiotic that is given .

Prevention of Trichomonas Vaginalis

It is possible to get trichomonas by having sex with someone who has the infection but has no symptoms. Use a condom (male or female) Avoid sharing sex toys - or if shared wash them or cover with a condom.

As with all sexually transmitted infections (STIs), practising safe sex is the best way to reduce the risk of infection with trichomonas, and from some other infections such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Complications from Trichomonas Vaginalis

Trichomonas will not effect your chances of getting pregnant, but may cause problems with the pregnancy. Having the infection can lead to premature birth or a low birth weight baby. Trichomonas can be passed on to a baby during the birth.


I May Have Trichomonas Vaginalis

If you have any concerns relating to this condition, or any conditions described on this website, please contact the Sunshine Clinic by telephone to arrange an appointment with Dr Sood,  0845 505 0552

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