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Trichomoniasis Symptoms: 5 Things to Remember

Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD · Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 07, 2021

Trichomoniasis Symptoms: 5 Things to Remember

Trichomoniasis, also known as trich, is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects millions of people worldwide. Being aware of trichomoniasis symptoms can help people seek treatment and prevent the spread of this STD.

5 Common Trichomoniasis Symptoms

Trichomonas vaginalis is the parasite responsible for trichomoniasis. This parasite may settle in the urinary tract of women, and in the urethra and prostate of men.

More often than not, men don’t experience any symptoms if they get infected. It’s usually women who experience the symptoms, despite the parasite infecting both men and women.

And despite not showing any symptoms, men can also spread the disease to others through sexual contact. This is why anyone who has sex with multiple partners needs to use protection, and should get tested for STDs often.

Here are some common trichomoniasis symptoms:

1. Foul-smelling discharge

This is one of the most common symptoms that persons with trich can experience. Typically, vaginal discharge is clear or milky-white, and there’s no discernible smell. However, if a person has trichomoniasis, then there is a discernible difference.

The discharge can sometimes be white, yellow, gray, or green, and is usually foul-smelling. The smell is also sometimes described as smelling “fishy.’ Some patients have also described the discharge to be “frothy,’ but only about 10% of patients experience this.

Men can also experience having a foul-smelling discharge. This usually is a cause for concern because typically, men don’t have a discharge. And when they do, it’s usually caused by an infection.

Fortunately, after antibiotic treatment, this symptom usually goes away.

Trichomoniasis Discharge: How to Deal With Trich

2. Irritation of the genitals

Another common symptom of trichomoniasis is irritation in the genitals. This sometimes feels like a burning or painful sensation, and sometimes it can feel very itchy. Patients can also experience redness or some swelling in their genitals if they are infected.

It would be best to avoid scratching since it can cause skin abrasions that could be a potential site of infection. The best thing to do would be to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

In some cases, an over-the-counter cream can relieve the burning and itching caused by trich. Using a cold compress can also help relieve the symptoms, and also keep down swelling.

3. Burning sensation when peeing

Some people with trichomoniasis also experience a burning sensation when they are peeing. This is caused by inflammation in the urethra caused by the parasite. This can sometimes be mistaken for a urinary tract infection, though it’s also not uncommon for trich to cause a UTI.

The burning sensation is also sometimes present when men ejaculate.

4. Bleeding

It’s also possible for trich to cause bleeding or spotting in women. This results from the inflammation caused by the parasite in the reproductive tract. This is also a symptom that’s easily identifiable, as not all women experience spotting outside of their menstrual cycle. On speculum examination, “strawberry cervix” may even be seen in some cases. 

If you experience this symptom, it would be a good idea to consult a doctor as soon as possible. This is because it’s possible for the infection to get worse if not treated, and can lead to more serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, even infertility.

5. Pain during sex

Lastly, for persons with trichomoniasis, sex can be a painful experience. This usually happens to women, but it can also be a symptom among men infected with trich. Similar to the previous symptoms, the pain happens because of inflammation caused by the parasite.

Of course, any pain during sex should immediately be a cause for concern. If you experience this symptom, it would be best to visit your doctor immediately. It would also be a good idea to get an STD test as soon as possible and refrain from having sex.

Key Takeaways

Trichomoniasis might be a common STD, but this doesn’t mean that it should be ignored. Use protection during sex and get tested for STDs, especially if you have multiple partners, or have recently engaged in unprotected sex, to prevent STDs.

Learn more about Trichomoniasis here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mary Rani Cadiz, MD

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 07, 2021

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