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Trichomoniasis (TV) in women

What is trichomoniasis or TV?

  • It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis.
  • In women it usually causes a vaginal infection or occasionally an infection in the urethra or water passage – but up to 50% women will have no symptoms.
  • There is evidence to suggest that TV may affect pregnant women leading to premature delivery or low birth weight babies.
  • It is easily treated with antibiotics.
  • If you have TV we recommend that you should have a full STI screen including a HIV test.  
  • Occasionally TV shows up on a cervical smear test. 

How common is TV?

  • TV is more common in women than men.
  • It is the third most common STI in women after chlamydia and gonorrhoea (excluding viral infections).

How do you catch TV?

  • TV is a sexually transmitted infection.
  • It is passed on through vaginal sex between men and women and sometimes through vulva – vulva contact or use of sex toys between lesbian women – you cannot catch it from toilet seats, swimming pools or hot tubs.

What would I notice if I had TV?

  • Up to 50% of women may not notice anything.
  • Some women may notice one or more of the following:
    • Vaginal discharge
      • may be yellow/ green and sometimes frothy
      • may be smelly
      • Itching of the vulva
      • Burning or pain when passing urine

How do I get tested for TV?

  • It is best to attend a specialised sexual health clinic where a vaginal swab will be taken and immediately examined under a microscope.
  • The clinic will be able to tell straight away if you have TV.

How is TV treated?

  • TV can be treated with a short course of antibiotics:
    • METRONIDAZOLE 2g single dose


  • METRONIDAZOLE  400mg  twice daily for 5 days
  •  Avoid alcohol whilst taking metronidazole and for 48 hours following completion.
  • This is safe during pregnancy.
  • All treatments from the Wolverton Centre are free and are given to you directly in the clinic.
  • It is important you are rechecked one week later to make sure the TV has gone.

What about my partner?

  • TV is a sexually transmitted infection so it is important that all partners are tested and treated before resuming sex again.
  • Note that it is very difficult to detect TV in men but it is vital that they are treated as they are often carriers of the infection.

What problems can untreated TV lead to?

  • The discharge usually persists until treated.
  • TV can increase the risk of catching HIV.
  • In pregnant women TV may cause:
    • premature delivery
    • a low birth weight baby
    • infection in the baby at delivery

Will TV come back again after treatment?

  • Sometimes it can be difficult to get rid of TV.
  • For this reason we always check to make sure it has completely gone.
  • If your symptoms persist you will be prescribed a different course of antibiotics.

For more information