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Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a parasite known as trichomonas vaginalis (TV). Over 65% of those infected show no visible symptoms. TV affects a man's urethra and prostate gland and a woman's urethra and vagina.

7.4 million cases of TV are treated every year. Fortunately, the condition can be cured with prescribed antibiotics available online from HealthExpress. More information can be found below.


Medically reviewed by Dr. Caroline Fontana Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 16-05-2024

What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis, otherwise known as ‘trich’, is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the protozoan parasite trichomonas vaginalis.

Despite being less known than chlamydia and gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis is a very common infection. It can be spread easily and can cause long-term health complications if not treated.

Unlike viral STIs, it can be cured completely if identified early enough and treated effectively. HealthExpress offers metronidazole - an antibiotic and antiprotozoal medication.

Please note, you can still have this infection even if you are not exhibiting symptoms. If your partner has trichomoniasis, there is a good chance you do too.

If you are sexually active, you should have regular sexual health tests.

What causes trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite called trichomonas vaginalis. It is generally transmitted via unprotected sex. However, it is also possible to get the infection through the shared use of sex toys.

It is not believed that you can catch the infection from oral or anal sex.

You also cannot catch it through the use of cups or cutlery or toilet seats.

  • weakened immune system
  • Sharing of sex toys with an infected partner

  • Feeling stressed
  • Unprotected sex with an infected person

What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis?

Symptoms of trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a relatively common STI, however it is very often asymptomatic - meaning it presents with no obvious symptoms. This can result in it being diagnosed late.

Less than half of those with the infection will get symptoms.

If symptoms do occur, they will usually appear between 5 and 28 days after exposure, however it could take longer.

Symptoms in women

You are more likely to experience symptoms if you are female.

Symptoms usually affect the vagina and urethra. You may experience one or more of the following:

  • itching and redness around the vagina
  • soreness and swelling
  • itching around the thighs
  • urge to urinate frequently
  • pain when passing urine
  • pain during sex
  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • swelling of the groin
  • strong/foul smell
  • unusual discharge; frothy and yellow-green in colour

Symptoms in men

Symptoms in men usually affect the penis, urethra or prostate:

  • soreness and itching inside the penis or on the head of the penis
  • urge to urinate frequently
  • pain after urinating; usually a burning sensation
  • pain after ejaculating; usually a burning sensation
  • unusual discharge; thin white discharge

Most STIs present very similar symptoms, which is why it is so important to be tested before you purchase any treatment. The wrong medication will have no effect.

To get tested, visit your local sexual health clinic, or GUM clinic. Alternatively, you should contact your GP.

You should also practice safe sex, especially if you have a new partner or multiple sexual partners. If your partner tests positive for the STI, you should get tested as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you can suffer complications.

What treatment is available?

If you are showing symptoms of the infection, trichomoniasis will be fairly easy to diagnose, however, your doctor may still want to do a swab to confirm.

For women, this will involve a pelvic exam and swab to collect a sample of fluids. The sample will then be examined under a microscope for the trichomonas vaginalis parasite.

For men, diagnosing STIs is more difficult and can be more invasive than for women. The majority of the time, men will be treated for trichomoniasis if their partner or past sexual partner has the infection. If you do have symptoms, your doctor may take a swab of the discharge or inflamed area to examine under the microscope.

You can get tested for trichomoniasis at your local sexual health clinic, GUM clinic or by ordering STI kits online. Some GP surgeries may offer STI testing, however, you should check beforehand.

Prescription treatment

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that will not go away on its own. However, it can be cured with antibiotics. The most common antibiotic used to cure trichomoniasis is Metronidazole. The course of antibiotics usually lasts seven days, and you must avoid sexual intercourse during that time.

You should also avoid alcohol when taking metronidazole, as the combination can cause side effects like nausea and vomiting.

If you have trich, you should inform your sexual partner(s). If they have the infection, you can catch it again. It can also cause them distressing complications.

What are the possible complications?

It is rare for trich to cause serious complications, however, they are always a possibility.

If left untreated, the STI has been linked to:

  • an increased risk of HIV transmission
  • (in pregnant women) low-weight births and premature births
  • an increased risk of cervical cancer
  • chronic inflammation of the prostate and urethra

Can I buy trichomoniasis treatment online?

You can buy the trichomoniasis treatment metronidazole online from HealthExpress.

You must first have been diagnosed with the STI (by a doctor or a home test). We ask that you complete a confidential consultation. There is no need to speak to anyone directly, unless there are issues with your answers.

If you order today, the doctor will review your consultation quickly, and (if approved) you can expect a delivery of metronidazole tomorrow.

Further reading

What causes sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

What causes sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Reviewed by Dr. Anand Abbot
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