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How is trichomoniasis treated?

The standard drugs used for treating trichomoniasis are metronidazole (Flagyl) and tinidazole (Tindamax). In most cases, Trichomonas infection is cured in women with a single oral dose of two grams of either drug. Both of these prescription drugs are in the nitroimidazole class. Metronidazole has been found to be safe in pregnancy.

For those who fail treatment, longer courses of metronidazole or tinidazole are recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People who continue to have an infection after a single dose of metronidazole should take 500 milligrams (mg) of metronidazole orally twice a day for seven days. If this second course of medication fails, the CDC says to consider treating with 2 grams (g) daily for five days of either metronidazole or tinidazole. If these therapies fail to cure the infection, further treatment should be discussed with a specialist.

You should take metronidazole or tinidazole with food and avoid drinking alcohol for 24 to 72 hours after taking the drugs.

All sexual partners of a person with trichomoniasis should be treated. An infected person should abstain from sex during treatment and until all symptoms go away, approximately a week or two after treatment.

Because of the high rate of reinfection (up to 17% within three months), sexually active women may want to consider getting rescreened three months after treatment. This is especially important for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women who also have trichomoniasis, because they have an even higher rate of recurrence.

Trichomoniasis usually can be cured with these antibiotics:

Metronidazole (me-truh-NYD-uh-zohl) Tinidazole (teye-NID-uh-zohl)

These drugs usually are given by mouth in a single dose. If you are allergic to the medicines normally used, your doctor might suggest topical medicines, which are medicines applied to the skin. But the topical medicines don't work as well and may not cure you. They might, however, ease the symptoms.

People being treated for trichomoniasis should not have sex until they and their sex partners complete treatment and have no symptoms.

This answer is based on source information from National Women's Health Information Center.

Angela Lowery
Family Medicine
Trichonomiasis is treated with prescription drugs. The drugs are given in a single dose. The symptoms in infected men may disappear in a few weeks, however; for men who do not have symptoms they will continue to infect or re-infect others. Both partners will need to be treated to prevent re-infection. Persons being treated for trichomoniasis should refrain from sex until completely free of symptoms.
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Trichomoniasis (sometimes called "trich") is an infection caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. This one-celled organism infects the vagina and glands of the lower genital tract. It is passed from one person to another during sexual contact.

Many people with this sexually transmitted disease have no symptoms, but they may still transmit the infection to a sexual partner.

Vaginal infection causes a thin, irritating discharge with an unpleasant odor. The vaginal tissues may feel raw and itchy. There may be a burning sensation when urinating or having sex.

The antibiotic metronidazole is used to treat trich. This drug can be given as a single high dose or as a lower dose taken over seven days. Side effects include nausea, headache, and a metallic taste. People taking this drug must not drink alcohol for 72 hours after treatment to avoid moderate to severe nausea and vomiting. The usual dose of metronidazole cures about 90% of people with trich.

The two most common reasons treatment fails:
  • The person taking the drug did not complete all the antibiotics they were prescribed
  • The person becomes reinfected by a sexual partner who still has trich
For the best chance of a successful treatment, avoid sexual intercourse for one week after both partners are treated.

If the standard dose does not work, a longer course of treatment with a higher dose is prescribed. Side effects tend to be more severe with higher doses. Or, the doctor may prescribe another drug called tinidazole.

In rare instances, when infection does not go away after these treatments, special testing can determine what other medication options are needed. This often requires a consultation with an infectious disease specialist.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.