How Trichomoniasis Is Treated

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Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infecton (STI) that, while uncomfortable, does not usually produce lasting effects and is easily treated once identified. Trichomoniasis is caused by an infection from a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.

The infection can be successfully treated with prescription medication, but reinfection is possible. It's important to take precautions to both avoid infection and pass the infection to others.

Below are some tips for managing and treating trichomoniasis.

trichomoniasis diagnosis
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As there are no specific preventive measures, such as a vaccine, lifestyle strategies are the key to protecting yourself from trichomoniasis. 

Watch for symptoms: If you experience itching or sores of the vagina or penis, do not ignore it as this could be the sign of trichomoniasis, another infection, or another STI. Similarly, if you have urinary urgency (constantly feeling like you have to urinate), urinary frequency, or burning with urination, you should seek medical attention. These are symptoms of a pelvic or urinary infection.

Do not scratch: Scratching an itch or a sore on the vagina or penis can cause bleeding, additional irritation, and pain. Excessive scratching can potentially cause ulceration that could lead to bacterial skin infections in the area. This could prolong your recovery when you are medically treated. 

No Medication Can Prevent Trichomoniasis

There are no medications or vaccines approved to prevent trichomoniasis. As such, taking precautions for safe sex—including using a condom and avoiding risky sex—are the best defenses against this STI.

Communicate with partners: If there is a chance that you or your sexual partner could have trichomoniasis or another STI, inform one another and to take proper measures to prevent spreading the infection to each other. 

Use condoms: Using condoms can substantially reduce the risk of spreading trichomoniasis. If you or your partner has or might have trichomoniasis, you should discontinue unprotected sexual activity until the treatment of each infected person is complete and the infection is resolved

HIV: If you are in a relationship in which one partner has human imunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the other does not, it should not be presumed that HIV prevention or HIV therapy will prevent the spread of STDs such as trichomoniasis. 

Over-the-Counter Therapies

You can use over-the-counter (OTC) therapies for comfort if you have itching or pain caused by trichomoniasis. When it comes to OTC products, however, make sure that you do not insert materials into the vagina or penis as this can cause irritation and may worsen your condition.  

Over the counter treatments for trichomoniasis.
Ellen Lindner / Verywell 

Lotions and creams: Lotions and creams can provide relief of itching and irritation when used on the surface of the skin. Be sure to use products that do not cause additional irritation.

There are many different brands of lotions and creams with a variety of ingredients, so it is best to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to find an appropriate one.

Use products that are recommended for use in and around the genital area, are hypoallergenic, and do not have added scents or colors. 

Douching: Douching is not recommended if you have trichomoniasis. It can change the fluids in the vaginal area, making you more susceptible to trichomoniasis.

One of the reasons that women may douche is to improve the scent of the vagina and the surrounding area. Because trichomoniasis causes a bad odor for many women, you might consider douching for the first time specifically because of this odor.

However, if you develop a bad odor in the vaginal area, do not douche. Instead, see a healthcare provider because this could be the first sign of an infection that requires prescription medical treatment.

Prescription Medications

It is not clear why some people develop symptoms of trichomoniasis and others do not.

Trichomoniasis Can Be Treated

Treatment is recommended for all people with trichomoniasis infection, as an infected person may be able to spread the infection to sexual partners even if they don't have symptoms.

If you are a woman, you will need to cure the infection before you get pregnant because it can cause adverse effects on the baby. 

Trichomoniasis is treated with a specific group of medications known as nitroimidazoles, which are used orally (by mouth). The cream or lotion formulations of these medications cannot adequately treat trichomoniasis infections when they are applied to the infected area, even though they can be useful in treating other genital infections.  

CDC Treatment Recommendations for Trichomoniasis

In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published updated guidelines for screening and treatment of STIs, including trichomoniasis. The recommended treatment regimens for women and men are as follows:

Recommended Regimen for Women

Metronidazole 500 milligrams orally two times a day for seven days

Recommended Regimen for Men

Metronidazole 2 grams orally in a single dose

Alternative Regimen for Women and Men

Tinidazole 2 grams orally in a single dose

Alcohol use: Both recommended trichomoniasis treatments are considered safe and effective but are known to have harmful effects when taken with alcohol. They may also become less effective if you drink alcohol.

Additionally, they can cause a reaction that is described as a disulfiram-like reaction, characterized by flushing (red blotches on the face), dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, trouble breathing, and chest pain. This is a very serious reaction that may require hospitalization and can even cause death. 

Avoid Alcohol During Trichomoniasis Treatment

Avoid drinking any alcoholic beverages during your trichomoniasis treatment. Specifically, avoid alcohol for 24 hours after treatment with Flagyl (metronidazole) and 72 hours after treatment with Tindamax (tinidazole). 

Medical treatment of sexual partners: When you are being treated for trichomoniasis, it is important that your sexual partners are treated as well. If they are not, you could end up passing the infection back and forth to each other. 

Specialist-Driven Procedures

If you develop one of the rare complications of trichomoniasis, such as an infected cyst (pocket in the skin filled with fluid, air, or another substance), abscess (pus-filled pockets on the skin), or fistula (small tunnel between body parts), you may need a procedure to drain an abscess or to surgically repair a fistula. This is not common as major complications are not typical with trichomoniasis. 

If you become pregnant and have untreated trichomoniasis, your healthcare provider will need to carefully consider the situation and the risks and benefits of treatment for you and your baby. 

Trichomoniasis Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Doctor Discussion Guide Woman

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Trichomoniasis can negatively affect the outcome of a pregnancy. It can cause low birth weight and premature delivery. These risks require close prenatal care and careful monitoring of your pregnancy.

There are potential risks and benefits of treatment for trichomoniasis while pregnant. If treatment is chosen, it is normally a single oral dose of 2 grams of metronidazole. However, the outcomes of using metronidazole during pregnancy have not been well studied. 

Generally, delivery is not complicated by trichomoniasis infection, although there have been few reports of babies contracting the infection during delivery.

If your baby is delivered early or has a low birth weight, they may need special attention in a neonatal care unit, depending on how small and premature your baby is at birth.

Medications used to treat trichomoniasis may be present in breast milk. Women who are breastfeeding during treatment may be advised to stop breastfeeding for 12–72 hours.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

There are a number of alternative therapies that have been studied for the treatment of trichomoniasis, but most of these have been studied in a laboratory setting and are not currently available. These include:

  • Mentha crispa: This plant extract has been studied in a research experiment for the treatment of trichomoniasis in women. A single dose of 2 grams of plant extract was compared to Solosec (secnidazole), which is a nitroimidazole not formally approved for treatment of trichomoniasis. The researchers reported good tolerance of Mentha crispa and an improvement of "vaginal discharge, malodorous vaginal secretion, dyspareunia, dysuria, pelvic pain, and burning and itching in the genital area" after treatment in 90% of the women who received the plant extract and in 96% of the women who received prescription medication.
  • Ginger: Ginger extract has been shown to destroy Trichomonas vaginalis, the parasite responsible for trichomoniasis when used on a sample of the parasite obtained from mice. It is not currently approved or available as a treatment for the infection in humans. 
  • Phaseolus vulgaris lectin: An extract obtained from kidney beans, this material has been shown to paralyze and destroy the Trichomonas vaginalis parasite when it was studied in a laboratory setting. 
  • Nigella sativa alcoholic extract and oil: An extract obtained from a seed of the plant, Nigella sativa oil is highly toxic to Trichomonas vaginalis, as detected in a laboratory setting, while the extract form is only moderately toxic to the parasite.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does trichomoniasis go away on its own?

    Not usually. Left untreated, trichomoniasis can cause long-term genital inflammation that makes it easier to contract other STIs, including HIV. If you have had unprotected sex with someone who tests positive for trichomoniasis, talk to your healthcare provider. 

  • Does amoxicillin treat trichomoniasis?

    No, amoxicillin is not used to treat trichomoniasis. The recommended antibiotics prescribed for trichomoniasis are Flagyl (metronidazole) and Tindamax (tinidazole), both of which belong to a group of medications known as nitroimidazoles.

  • How long does it take for trichomoniasis to get better with antibiotics?

    It can take up to a week for a trichomoniasis symptoms to clear after completing antibiotic treatment. You should abstain from sex during that time to ensure you do not infect your partner. 

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STD facts - Trichomoniasis.

  2. Tsai CS, Shepherd BE, Vermund SH. Does douching increase risk for sexually transmitted infections? A prospective study in high-risk adolescents. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009;200(1):38.e1-8. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2008.06.026

  3. Meites E. Trichomoniasis: the "neglected" sexually transmitted disease. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2013;27(4):755-64. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2013.06.003

  4. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatment Guidelines, 2021. MMWR.

  5. Trichomoniasis - 2015 STD Treatment Guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  6. Moraes ME, Cunha GH, Bezerra MM, et al. Efficacy of the Mentha crispa in the treatment of women with Trichomonas vaginalis infection. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2012;286(1):125-30. doi:10.1007/s00404-012-2251-4

  7. Arbabi M, Delavari M, Fakhrieh kashan Z, Taghizadeh M, Hooshyar H. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) induces apoptosis in Trichomonas vaginalis in vitro. Int J Reprod Biomed (Yazd). 2016;14(11):691-698.

  8. Aminou HA, Alam-eldin YH, Hashem HA. Effect of Nigella sativa alcoholic extract and oil, as well as Phaseolus vulgaris (kidney bean) lectin on the ultrastructure of Trichomonas vaginalis trophozoites. J Parasit Dis. 2016;40(3):707-13. doi:10.1007/s12639-014-0564-x

Additional Reading

By Elizabeth Boskey, PhD
Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, MPH, CHES, is a social worker, adjunct lecturer, and expert writer in the field of sexually transmitted diseases.