Also Known As
Formal Name
Trichomonas vaginalis
This article was last reviewed on
This article waslast modified on 3 November 2017.
At a Glance
Why Get Tested?

To diagnose an infection with Trichomonas vaginalis

When To Get Tested?

If you have symptoms of infection, including vaginal discharge or pain during urination

Sample Required?

A swab of secretions taken from the vagina in women or the urethra in men

Test Preparation Needed?


On average it takes 7 working days for the blood test results to come back from the hospital, depending on the exact tests requested. Some specialist test results may take longer, if samples have to be sent to a reference (specialist) laboratory. The X-ray & scan results may take longer. If you are registered to use the online services of your local practice, you may be able to access your results online. Your GP practice will be able to provide specific details.

If the doctor wants to see you about the result(s), you will be offered an appointment. If you are concerned about your test results, you will need to arrange an appointment with your doctor so that all relevant information including age, ethnicity, health history, signs and symptoms, laboratory and other procedures (radiology, endoscopy, etc.), can be considered.

Lab Tests Online-UK is an educational website designed to provide patients and carers with information on laboratory tests used in medical care. We are not a laboratory and are unable to comment on an individual's health and treatment.

Reference ranges are dependent on many factors, including patient age, gender, sample population, and test method, and numeric test results can have different meanings in different laboratories.

For these reasons, you will not find reference ranges for the majority of tests described on this web site. The lab report containing your test results should include the relevant reference range for your test(s). Please consult your doctor or the laboratory that performed the test(s) to obtain the reference range if you do not have the lab report.

For more information on reference ranges, please read Reference Ranges and What They Mean.

What is being tested?

The test is looking for infection by Trichomonas vaginalis, a sexually transmitted, microscopic parasite that causes vaginal infections in women and urethritis in some men.

How is the sample collected for testing?

In women, a swab of secretions is collected from the vagina. In men, a swab is inserted into the urethra of the penis.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.

Accordion Title
Common Questions
  • How is it used?

    The secretions collected on the swab are examined under a microscope or cultured to detect the presence of Trichomonas vaginalis.

  • When is it requested?

    Your doctor may request the test if you complain of symptoms, such as vaginal discharge or pain on urination. If you have an infection with another sexually transmitted disease, your doctor might test for trichomonas as well.

  • What does the test result mean?

    A positive test indicates an active infection that requires treatment with a course of antibiotics.

  • Is there anything else I should know?

    Trichomonas is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.

    An infected person is at greater risk of getting other sexually transmitted diseases, so the doctor may want to test for these other infections also.

    Trichomonas infection can affect pregnancy, contributing to premature birth and low birth weight. You should inform your doctor if you may be pregnant. The doctor may medically manage a woman who is infected and in her first three months of pregnancy differently.

  • What are the symptoms of a trichomonas infection?

    In women, the most common symptoms include a foul-smelling or frothy green discharge from the vagina and itching or redness in and around the vagina. Other symptoms can include pain during sexual intercourse, discomfort or swelling in the lower abdomen or groin, and the frequent urge to urinate, often with pain and burning. However, 50% of women with T. vaginalis infections have no symptoms. Most infected men have no symptoms but when they do, symptoms include discharge from the urethra, a frequent urge to urinate, and a burning sensation on urination.

  • How is trichomonas transmitted?

    The parasite is transmitted through sexual contact.

  • How is it treated?

    It is usually treated with an antibiotic called metronidazole. Most antibiotics created to treat bacterial infections will not be effective against this parasitic infection. All current sexual partners must be treated at the same time or the patient is likely to become re-infected.

  • How can it be prevented?
    • Abstain from sexual intercourse; or
    • Use a latex condom properly, every time you have sexual intercourse, with every partner.
    • Limit your sexual partners. The more sex partners you have, the greater your risk of encountering someone who has this or other STDs.
    • If you are infected, your sexual partner(s) should be treated. This will prevent you from getting reinfected.