Like most bacterial STIs, trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is treated with antibiotics.

The current first line treatment for TV recommended by NICE is metronidazole, which is also known by the brand name Flagyl. It is given as a 400mg-500mg tablet, taken twice a day for between 5-7 days.

It can also be taken as a larger single dose (2g), if the user has a particular issue with being prescribed it over a week.

Should the patient not be able to take metronidazole, there are alternative treatments such as tinidazole, which work in a similar way.

On this page we’ll discuss:

Why is it important to treat TV?

Trichomonas vaginalis will not go away on its own, without treatment. Although it is not as serious as many other STIs, it can still need to a number of complications for both men and women.

For example, it can lead to issues with pregnancy, such as early labour and possibly a low birth weight. Women with untreated TV are also more at risk of developing sepsis after their baby has been born.

When not treated, TV can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women; whereas men who do not seek treatment for TV can go on to develop prostate problems.

As is the case with other STIs, it can also increase the risk of infertility, and heightens the risk of contracting other STIs.

As well as treating the infected person, it is also essential that their partner is treated, even if no symptoms are displayed.

How do antibiotics work to treat TV?

By killing the TV parasite responsible for the infection.

Trichomonas vaginalis is the name of the parasite which causes the STI, trichomoniasis. It is a type of parasite called a protozoan, and feeds on the surface of cells.

Metronidazole works by stopping the parasite from developing DNA it needs to survive. When it is not able to reproduce this, it becomes weakened and subsequently dies. This helps to clear up the infection.

How can you get treatment for TV?

The antibiotics that treat TV are prescription only. If someone tests positive for or is suspected of having trichomonas vaginalis, they can get a prescription for treatment:

  • at a GUM clinic
  • at their GP surgery
  • or from an online pharmacy.

Before treatment is issued, it will be necessary to have a test for TV. A possible exception is if someone’s partner has had a positive test result. If this is the case, treatment may be started right away; but they will normally still need to be tested, to confirm the infection.

When purchasing TV treatment from an online pharmacy, it’s vital to ensure that the provider is registered with the GPhC. You can do this by looking for the GPhC logo and registration number.

Page last reviewed:  07/10/2020 | Next review due:  10/10/2022