Trichomonas Vaginalis Treatment
Method of Treatment: Oral antibiotics
Length of Treatment: Single dose to 5 days
+ No sex for 7 days
+ Re-test in 2 weeks
+ Treat partner(s)
(STI Consultation fee of £50 applies if tested elsewhere)
All services are highly confidential
Discuss your positive result
No extra charge if you tested with us.
FAQs of Trichomonas Vaginalis Treatment
Can Trichomonas Vaginalis be cured?
Yes. Trichomonas Vaginalis is easily treated and cured in most cases. However, the first line of antibiotics can fail to eradicate the infection in 5-15% of the patients, requiring further antibiotics to treat the infection. A complete cure is finally achievable in all patients.
Metronidazole can also be used in the form of rectal suppositories, and has a high effectiveness and less side effects compared to the oral route.
How long does the treatment take to work?
The medication usually starts to show an improvement in symptoms within a couple of days of taking the medications. It can take up to a week for symptoms to go away completely in most patients.
Are there any side effects?
Antibiotics used to treat Trichomonas Vaginalis are very safe but can give side effects in many patients. The most common side effects are:
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- A metallic (odd) taste in the mouth
- Abdominal discomfort
Fortunately side effects are mild in most cases, allowing you to get on with your normal life. Side effects improve soon after finishing the course of antibiotics.
Can I take this with other medications?
Antibiotics to treat Trichomonas Vaginalis can be taken safely with most commonly used medications. However, doctors will be able to advise if any extra precautions are needed in your specific circumstances to reduce the side effects.
Can I drink alcohol whilst taking Trichomonas Vaginalis treatment?
No. Antibiotics used to treat Trichomonas Vaginalis produce lots of serious side effects when alcohol is consumed at the same time. That is why it is advised to avoid any alcohol for 72 hours after the last dose of your medication.
How effective is the treatment for Trichomonas Vaginalis?
The antibiotics used to treat Trichomonas Vaginalis infection are effective in 80-95% of patients.
What are the causes of treatment failure?
Common causes of treatment failure in Trichomonas Vaginalis, seen in 5-15% of patients receiving their first line treatment, are:
- if you are not able to take the antibiotics as prescribed (miss one or more tablets)
- if you vomit or have a loose motion soon after taking the antibiotics (this can reduce the level of antibiotics in your blood and tissues to ineffective levels)
- inadequate dose of antibiotics (normal dose of metronidazole may be insufficient in obese patients)
- if you have sexual contact with your infected partner before their infection has been properly treated
- if you have got infection with a resistant type of Trichomonas Vaginalis
- if you develop antibiotic resistance while taking the antibiotics
Does my partner need treatment?
Trichomonas Vaginalis is a very easy infection to share so we strongly advise that you inform your current partner(s) to be tested and treated. Often this infection is without symptoms, more so in men than women, and symptoms can appear months later.
It is also advised that you inform any other sexual partner(s) from the last 4 weeks that you have the infection, so that these people can get tested and treated. This breaks the chain of infection. Based on your specific circumstances, this look back period can be much longer.
Can I begin treatment before receiving my test results?
Yes. However, it is really important to have appropriate specimens taken before any treatment is commenced. This helps in confirming the diagnosis, detect other infections that may require separate treatment, and serve as a baseline for repeat tests 2 weeks later to check for a cure.
How long do I have to wait before having sex again?
Ideally, you should avoid any sexual contact until your test of cure for Trichomonas Vaginalis 2 weeks later is negative. This prevents transmission of infection to the partner if your infection is not yet cleared (treatment failure rate can be 5-15%).
If 2 weeks is a too long a period to abstain for you, then you must certainly avoid any sexual contact for at least 7 days from the start of your treatment. This is to ensure that your infection is properly treated and you do not get re-infected in this period. If your partner has received treatment after you, then it must be 7 days after their treatment has started.
Do I have to get re-tested?
A test of cure is routinely recommended 2 weeks after starting the course of antibiotics, that is 14 days after a single dose therapy or 7 days after completing a 7 day course of the antibiotics.
Can I get Trichomonas Vaginalis infection again?
Yes. Getting Trichomonas Vaginalis infection does not produce an immunity, and therefore does not offer a protection from getting re-infected.
What happens if I don’t get treated?
If you do not have symptoms at the time of diagnosis, you may develop symptoms in the following weeks, sometimes as late as 6 months from diagnosis.
Women often develop vaginal discharge, fishy smell and irritation of vulva, and can rarely cause genital ulcers and presence of blood in the vaginal discharge.
Men typically remain asymptomatic, but can suffer from urethral discharge, dysuria, urethritis, epididymitis and prostatitis.
If you have symptoms, they can persist or get worse and you will continue to be a risk of infection to your partner.
Duration of potential infectivity
Sometimes the infection may resolve by itself in due course in absence of any treatment.
Trichomonas Vaginalis in women is thought to be longstanding, up to 3-5 years, whereas infection among men may spontaneously resolve lasting up to 4 months.
Increased risk of getting HIV
Presence of having an untreated STI, including Trichomoniasis, increases the risk of acquiring HIV.
Complications in pregnancy
Untreated in pregnancy, there is some evidence that this can cause preterm birth and low birth weight babies. Risk of transmission to newborn is about 5% (perinatal transmission).
Page reviewed by Dr. Manoj Malu (Clinical Director)
Last reviewed date: 3 March 2020
Next review due: 3 March 2023
Whilst this content is written and reviewed by sexual health specialists, it is for general guidance only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your clinician.
Reference & Further Reading
- BASHH: BASHH Guidelines
- NHS: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Clinical Microbiology Review: Treatment of Infections Caused by Metronidazole-Resistant Trichomonas vaginalis
If you are experiencing symptoms
It is important to refer to a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Our experience combined with timely detection can help avoid complications in the future.