Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that usually causes pain, inflammation, and irritation in the vagina, penis, and urethral tissues. Although trichomoniasis may affect males or females, symptoms are more common among females.
Trichomoniasis is caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, a microscopic parasite, called a protozoan.

Trichomoniasis Symptoms

Females typically develop foul-smelling vaginal discharge that may appear foamy and yellow or green in color. Vaginal itching and pain during urination may also occur.
Males typically experience penile discharge, pain during urination, and pain and swelling of the scrotum (caused by epidiymitis).


For females, the healthcare provider may swab the discharge from the cervix. For males, the healthcare provider inserts a thin swab into the tip of the penis to retrieve a sample of fluid from the urethra. The sample is then analyzed under a microscope. If the parasite is present, a positive diagnosis is made.

Trichomoniasis Treatment

Patients take the antibiotic metronidazole (Flagyl®) by mouth to kill the parasite and cure the infection. This drug is not safe during pregnancy. Pregnant females who are infected typically apply an antibiotic cream, called clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin, Mycelex-7®), to the genitals. Patients should abstain from sex while they are receiving treatment.

Sexual partners of patients who have been diagnosed with trichomoniasis should be tested and treated for STDs.

Integrative Therapies

Read more about Integrative Therapies for trichomoniasis here

Selected References

American Social Health Association. Accessed April 28, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accessed April 28, 2009.
Cline JS. Sexually transmitted diseases: will this problem ever go away? N C Med J. 2006 Sep-Oct;67(5):353-8.
Rupp RE, Stanberry LR, Rosenthal SL. Vaccines for sexually transmitted infections. Pediatr Ann. 2005 Oct;34(10):818-20, 822-4.