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What is trichomonas (trich)?

Trichomonas (also called ‘trich’) is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.

How do you get trichomonas?

Trichomonas is most often spread sexually when you come in contact with someone who has an infection in their vulva, vagina or urethra (male and female).

The parasite can live up to 24 hours on wet towels or clothing, making it possible to pass on when sharing these items.

How can you tell if you have trichomonas?

Most men and some women may not have symptoms of infection.  Even without symptoms, you can pass trichomonas to someone else.

Men who have symptoms might notice: 

  • discharge from the penis
  • burning during urination
  • itching or redness at the end of the penis

Women who have symptoms might notice:

  • vaginal discharge (off-white, or yellow frothy)
  • pain during sex or urination
  • vaginal itching and/or redness

How do you get tested for trichomonas?

Usually only women are tested by taking a swab from the fluid in the vagina.

How is trichomonas treated?

Medication will treat and cure trichomonas. Treating partners at the same time will ensure that the infection is not passed back and forth. 

It is important to:

  • take all the pills as prescribed
  • tell your sex partner(s) that you have trichomonas so they can be treated at the same time
  • abstain from sex until you and your partner have completed treatment

      Do you need follow-up?

      You will need to follow-up if you continue to have symptoms after your treatment is finished.

      How do you protect yourself and others?

      Talk with your partner and make informed decisions BEFORE having sex and plan to:

      • abstain or limit your number of sex partners
      • have you and your partners STI tested before you have sex – especially if you symptoms that might be an infection
      • always use condoms or barriers for vaginal, oral and anal sex
      • consider the effect that alcohol and drug use can have on sexual decision-making
      • consider getting immunized for Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

      Are there any special concerns about trichomonas?

      • Trichomonas can increase the risk of transmission of other STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and HPV).
      • Trichomonas can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which can cause infertility, pelvic pain or ectopic pregnancy.
      • Trichomonas can cause premature delivery or low birth weight.



      Public Health Agency Canada

      Canadian Federation for Sexual Health

      Updated July, 2014

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    Page Last Modified: Monday, 06 October 2014.