Most people infected with Trichomonas vaginalis do not have any symptoms and can be undetected for years. Symptoms experienced include pain, burning or itching in the penis, urethra (urethritis), or vagina (vaginitis). Discomfort for both sexes may increase during intercourse and urination. For women there may also be a yellow-green, itchy, frothy, foul-smelling ("fishy" smell) vaginal discharge. In rare cases, lower abdominal pain can occur. Symptoms usually appear within 5 to 28 days of exposure. Sometimes trichomoniasis can be confused with chlamydia because the symptoms are similar.
^ Vos T, et al. (GBD Study 2013 Collaborators) (August 2015). "Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013". Lancet. 386 (9995): 743–800. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(15)60692-4. PMC 4561509. PMID 26063472.
Use condoms. Condoms are the best way to prevent STIs when you have sex. Because a man does not need to ejaculate (come) to give or get trichomoniasis, make sure to put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth, or anus. Other methods of birth control, like birth control pills, shots, implants, or diaphragms, will not protect you from STIs. Get tested. Be sure you and your partner are tested for STIs. Talk to each other about the test results before you have sex.
Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. Watchful waiting isn't appropriate if you think you have trichomoniasis (trich). In most cases, trich should be treated to prevent transmitting this sexually transmitted infection to others and to prevent some problems that can happen if you are pregnant.
Evidence from a randomized controlled trials for screening pregnant women who do not have symptoms for infection with trichomoniasis and treating women who test positive for the infection have not consistently shown a reduced risk of preterm birth. Further studies are needed to verify this result and determine the best method of screening. In the US, screening of pregnant women without any symptoms is only recommended in those with HIV as trichomonas infection is associated with increased risk of transmitting HIV to the fetus.
Your sex partner(s) should be treated at the same time you are being treated. This increases the cure rate and reduces the possibility of further transmission or reinfection. Sexual intercourse should be avoided during treatment until symptoms are gone and until partners have been treated. It is best to avoid sex for 1 week after treatment with a single dose of metronidazole. Male partners may not have symptoms but still need treatment.