In women, symptoms of trichomoniasis can include a gray, green, or yellow vaginal discharge; discomfort during intercourse; or genital irritation or itching. Symptoms in men can include irritation inside the penis, discharge, or a burning sensation. However, some people with this infection (especially males) have no signs or symptoms at all, which is why the disease is definitively diagnosed through a physical examination and lab test.
Many women do not have any symptoms of trichomoniasis, but are still infected with the parasite that causes the disease. If women do have symptoms, they usually appear 5 to 28 days after exposure to the parasite. Possible symptoms can include:
- Yellow, green, or gray vaginal discharge (often foamy) with a strong odor
- Discomfort during sex and when urinating
- Irritation and itching in the genital area
- Lower abdominal (stomach) pain (in rare cases).
Most men with the disease usually do not have any symptoms. If trichomoniasis indications are present, they might include:
- Temporary irritation inside the penis
- Mild discharge
- Slight burning after urination or ejaculation.
If you have any of these possible symptoms, stop having sex and contact your healthcare provider right away.
To determine if a woman has trichomoniasis, the healthcare provider will do a pelvic exam and lab test. During the pelvic exam, the healthcare provider may be able to see small red sores inside the vagina or on the cervix. He or she will also take a fluid sample from the vagina and look for the parasite under a microscope. The sample might also be sent to a lab for analysis. Other tests, like a vaginal culture or DNA test, can also be used for diagnosing trichomoniasis.
The genital inflammation trichomoniasis causes can increase a woman's susceptibility to HIV infection if she is exposed to the virus. Having the disease may also increase the risk that an HIV-infected woman will pass the virus to her sex partner(s).