Medically reviewed on February 4, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Trichomoniasis affects millions of people every year. It’s considered the most common curable sexually transmitted disease (STD) . While it is readily treatable, trichomoniasis can be difficult to identify. Read on to learn more about trichomoniasis and the amount of time it takes for symptoms to show.
The Everlywell at-home Female STD testing and Male STD Testing options can tell you whether you have trichomoniasis or other common STDs without having to go to a clinic for an in-person STD screening.
Trichomoniasis is an STD caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. This protozoan travels easily in sexual fluids, including vaginal fluids, pre-ejaculate, and semen. The parasite spreads when any of these fluids end up on or inside the genitals (vagina, vulva, penis, or urethra). It doesn’t typically infect the anus, mouth, or throat .
Trichomoniasis is primarily spread through vaginal sex, but it can also be spread through vulva-to-vulva contact, sharing sex toys, or touching genitals when you have sexual fluids on your hands .
Transmission specifically requires the transfer of sexual fluids between partners. That means that you can’t get Trichomoniasis from casual contact, including:
The lack of symptoms is part of what makes trichomoniasis so hard to identify. About 7 out of 10 people with trichomoniasis present with zero symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they can be so mild that they can be easy to ignore .
Trichomoniasis can infect anyone of any gender. The most common symptom is vaginitis, which can be characterized by:
Men rarely exhibit symptoms, but when symptoms do show up, they typically involve discharge, itching and irritation in the penis, and burning when peeing .
The exact incubation can be difficult to measure because trichomoniasis doesn’t always present noticeable symptoms. Most estimates suggest that noticeable symptoms may develop 5 to 28 days after initial exposure to the parasite .
Because some people don’t show symptoms, trichomoniasis could be present for months or even years without you knowing it. Symptoms that show up can be easy to mistake for urinary tract infections or yeast infections. However, even if you don’t show symptoms, you can still spread the infection to sexual partners until you get treated. When you receive treatment, it’s important that your sexual partner also gets treated. Otherwise, you might pass the infection back and forth to each other .
Trichomoniasis can be difficult to detect or to identify based on symptoms alone. The best way to know for sure if you have trichomoniasis is to get tested. If you think you or your partner has been exposed to trichomoniasis, consider trying an at-home trichomoniasis test with Everlywell.
1. Trichomoniasis – CDC Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed February 4, 2022.
2. Trichomoniasis (Trich). Planned Parenthood. URL. Accessed February 4, 2022.
3. What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis? Planned Parenthood. URL. Accessed February 4, 2022.
4. Trichomoniasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed February 4, 2022.