What is Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a germ called a protozoan. Protozoa are tiny germs similar to bacteria.

Trichomoniasis can infect the vagina in women and the urethra (the tube through which you pass urine) and underneath the foreskin in men.

Trichomoniasis is less common in Ireland compared to other sexually transmitted infections.

Most cases of Trichomoniasis are found in women, though it can affect both men and women.

How do I get Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is passed from one person to another in three ways:

  • unprotected sex (oral, vaginal, anal)
  • using unwashed sex toys
  • from mother to baby during delivery

You cannot catch Trichomoniasis from:

  • hugging
  • kissing
  • swimming
  • toilet seats
  • sharing cutlery or towels

What symptoms would I have with Trichomoniasis?

Symptoms will depend on where the infection is.


Women and Trans Men may not have any symptoms but they can still pass on Trichomoniasis to their sexual partner.

Symptoms may include:

  • discharge from the vagina
  • smelly vaginal discharge
  • itching or soreness in the genital area
  • pain during or after sex


Most men will not have any symptoms but they can still pass Trichomoniasis on to their sexual partner.

Symptoms may include:

  • discharge from the penis
  • pain passing urine
  • soreness around the foreskin
  • passing urine more frequently

It is important to note that these symptoms in men are more commonly caused by other infections, for example chlamydia or gonorrhoea.

Testing, Treatment and Prevention

If the doctor or nurse thinks that you have Trichomoniasis, a swab test from the vagina (in women) or a urine sample (in men) will be taken.

Trichomoniasis is treated with antibiotics.

If you have Trichomoniasis, your partner will also be offered testing and treatment.

You will have to wait until 1 week after you (and your partner) have finished your treatment before having sex again (even oral sex or sex with a condom). You can find an STI clinic near you here.

Without treatment, the infection can last for months. It is very unusual for Trichomoniasis to cause serious complications.

Trichomoniasis in pregnancy

Trichomoniasis can occur in pregnant people and it is important that it is treated properly.

If Trichomoniasis in pregnancy is not treated, there is an increased risk of labour starting early and the baby being delivered prematurely, or the baby having a low birth weight.

The tests and treatment are the same in pregnancy. Your doctor will discuss this in more detail with you.

Tests: what you need to know