Trichomoniasis can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to those of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
If you think you may have trichomoniasis, you should visit a GP or your local sexual health clinic (genitourinary medicine (GUM)) clinic.
Some GP surgeries offer an enhanced sexual health service for diagnosing and treating STIs. It may be better to visit a GUM clinic because these clinics can carry out accurate tests more quickly.
In some cases, the GP may refer you to a GUM clinic for tests and treatment if they think you have trichomoniasis.
Important: Using sexual health clinics during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Call a sexual health clinic if you need help or advice. Only go to a clinic if you've been told to.
If your doctor or nurse suspects you have trichomoniasis, they'll usually carry out an examination of your genital area.
In women, trichomoniasis may cause abnormal vaginal discharge or red blotches on the walls of the vagina and on the cervix (the neck of the womb).
If you are a man with suspected trichomoniasis, your doctor or nurse will examine your penis for signs of inflammation or discharge.
After a physical examination, your doctor or nurse may need to take a swab from either the vagina or penis. The swab will be analysed in a laboratory to check for signs of the trichomoniasis infection. It may take several days for the results to come back.
In men, a urine sample can also be tested for trichomoniasis.
If trichomoniasis is suspected, you may be advised to begin a course of treatment before your results come back. This ensures the infection is treated as soon as possible and reduces the risk of it spreading.
See treating trichomoniasis for more information.
Notifying sexual partners
If the test shows you have trichomoniasis, it's very important that your current sexual partner and any other recent partners are also tested and treated. The staff at the clinic or GP surgery can discuss with you which of your sexual partners may need to be tested.
If possible, tell your sexual partner and any ex-partners so they can get tested and treated as well. If you do not want to do this, the clinic can usually do it for you (it's called partner notification and the clinic will not reveal who you are).
If you've had trichomoniasis and have been cured, there's no need to tell any future partners.
Page last reviewed: 03 November 2021
Next review due: 03 November 2024