Diagnosis

Your health care provider may diagnose trichomoniasis by doing an exam of the genitals and lab tests.

Your health care provider may also look at a sample of vaginal fluid for women or a swab from inside the penis (urethra) for men under a microscope. If the parasite can be seen under the microscope, no further tests are needed.

If the test doesn't show the parasite, but your provider thinks you may have trichomoniasis, other tests may be done. Your provider may order tests done on a sample of vaginal fluid, a penis uretheral swab or sometimes urine. Tests include a rapid antigen test and nucleic acid amplification test.

If you have trichomoniasis, your provider may also do tests for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) so they can also be treated.

Treatment

Treatment of trichomoniasis requires an oral antibiotic that is effective against infections caused by this parasite. Treatment can be given during pregnancy. Options may include:

  • Megadose. Your health care provider may recommend one large dose (megadose) of either metronidazole (Flagyl), tinidazole (Tindamax) or secnidazole (Solosec). You only take these oral medications one time.
  • Multiple doses. Your provider might recommend several lower doses of metronidazole or tinidazole. You take the pills two times a day for seven days. To help clear up the infection completely, keep taking this medicine for the full time your provider prescribed the drug, even if you begin to feel better after a few days. If you stop using this medicine too soon, your infection may not go away completely.

All sex partners need treatment at the same time. This prevents getting the infection again right way (reinfection). And you need to avoid sex until the treatment is done and the symptoms have gone away. This usually takes about a week after finishing the last antibiotic dose. Tell your health care provider if symptoms don't go away after treatment.

Drinking alcohol during and for a few days after treatment can cause severe nausea and vomiting. Don't drink alcohol for 24 hours after taking metronidazole, 48 hours after taking secnidazole or 72 hours after taking tinidazole.

Your health care provider will typically retest you for trichomoniasis after treatment. A retest two weeks to three months after treatment can check to be sure the infection is gone and that you haven't been reinfected.

Even if you've had treatment that gets rid of trichomoniasis, it's possible to get it again if you're exposed to someone with the infection.

Preparing for your appointment

Your family doctor, gynecologist or a medical practitioner at an urgent care center can diagnose and prescribe treatment for trichomoniasis.

What you can do

Before the appointment, you might prepare a list that includes:

  • A detailed description of your symptoms, including when they started
  • Sexually transmitted infections you've had
  • The number of sexual partners you've had during the past few years

What to expect from your doctor

For women, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam and may take a sample of your vaginal fluids for testing. Men will need to provide a urine sample.

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