How Do You Get Trichomoniasis – Spread of Trichomonas Vaginalis

Q: Can you catch trichomonas any other way besides sexual intercourse?
-By Tiffany

Reply:

Yes, trichomoniasis can spread through non-sexual routes also, though the incidence is very rare.

Trichomoniasis is grouped under STDs. It is most often transmitted in the course of unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner. Almost all of the infections take place through penis-vagina intercourse or vulva to vulva intercourse with an infected partner.

The vagina is the most common site of infection in women, while the urethra is the most common site of infection in men. These areas also serve as reservoirs of infection.

Non-sexual Transmission of Trichomonas Vaginalis

The causative organism trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoa can live in the exterior of the body for around 45 minutes. So it can stay on damp towels, wet toilet papers, unclean commodes and even swimming pools used by infected people.

So, it is possible to contract trich STD if you come into contact with the following:

  • Damp infected towels
  • Infected bedding or bathing suits
  • Contaminated douche nozzles or specula
  • Toilet seats used by infected individuals. Here the protozoa find their way easily into the vagina.
  • Infected swimming pool water

Live germs of trich STD have been found in urine and semen after several hours of exposure to air. They have been found live and active in swimming pool waters as well.

You cannot contract trichomonas vaginalis through kissing or sharing utensils.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “How Do You Get Trichomoniasis – Spread of Trichomonas Vaginalis

  1. Annie

    I was diagnosed with trich recently. I have been in one relationship for 13 years and married for 7 years with two children. We had moved to a new state 2 months prior to me getting symptoms. I went to a low cost clinic since I am uninsured but knew the symptoms I was getting were not normal and I needed to find out what was going on. I thought I may have been having issues with a IUD.

    After a exam and the doctor stepping out for a few minutes with a swab sample. She returned to tell me I had a parasite called trich. She told me it was a STD and under her “interpretation” for I was infected. Needless to say my world shattered in that moment.

    I asked is there any possibility this was incorrect or it can be contracted any other way than sexual contact and she said NO!

    So there I was leaving a clinic not knowing what was going to be my life from that moment. After confronting my husband with the information, he was shocked and swore he has never and would never be unfaithful to me and our children. Now, I have absolutely no reason to not believe my husband other than this information I received from this doctor.

    We have trusted each other 110% our entire relationship. He was on the phone trying to find a polygraph examiner while I was on the internet reading blogs and articles and found there was so much conflicting information about this parasite. I decided to call my OBGYN that delivered my two children and saw me through some tough situations.

    I have gone through with my body and was assured that it is most definitely possible to contract this parasite without sexual contact! Through a public pool, hot tub, wet towels. We had visited a public pool about 7-10 days prior to my noticeable symptoms. We had also stayed with a family in a situation where towels could have been shared unknowingly to me.

    There is not enough scientific evidence about the way this parasite is contracted if your gut says your partner is faithful go with it.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      As you have read above, trichomoniasis does spread through non sexual routes. There is enough evidence of such modes of spread. Many patients have got infected this way.

      Faith in a relationship is absolutely a different parameter. There may be many other ways by which you will be able to gauge your husband’s love and loyalty for you.

      It would be advisable not to be impulsive in taking decisions.

      Reply
  2. Henry

    My primary doctor and my wife’s primary doctor both say that trichomonas vaginalis can only be caused by intercourse. Why are there so many conflicting professional opinions about the possible causes of trichomonas vaginalis? Your site and many other sites disagree with my doctor. I would really like to have some confidence in an answer either way. Whether is it only transmitted through intercourse or if other ways of transmission are possible.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      The most common mode of spread of trichomonas vaginalis is undoubtedly sexual transmission. So, majority of the patients we deal with in our clinics can be grouped under this category.

      So, statistically, the sexual way of spread of this disease is much common, comprising more than 95% of the cases.

      However, non sexual spread is also possible, as you may read above.

      Reply
  3. Steve

    My only question is this: If neither partner has been unfaithful but you have been sexually active with this partner for the last 8 months, why is it all of a sudden flaring up now when it didn’t ever before that?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      As documented above, trichomoniasis may spread through non sexual modes also, like using infected towels, contaminated toilet seats or swimming pool.

      This disease can be treated, more efficiently if the treatment is started early. So, it is suggested that both of you go ahead with the treatment at the earliest.

      Reply
  4. Starla

    I was recently diagnosed with Trich. I have only been with my husband and he has only been with me. So it doesn’t make sense how I got this. Unless I caught it when we went to the beach. I got in the public pool and hot tub while several other people (strangers) where also in them. After that I begin to notice the symptoms about a week later. Now places like that seem so gross, knowing that’s probably where I caught it.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It is very likely that you caught the infection from the public pool/ tub.

      It is very difficult to maintain such pools. The water can’t be changed after each use. Though the authorities are using certain antiseptics in such places, still most of them are contaminated.

      Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Very unlikely, since this disease is very infectious.

      May be, your partner is taking antibiotics as a precaution.

      Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      For trichomoniasis, metronidazole is better. This drug covers the infection better.

      Tenonitrozole is also an anti-protozoal medicine. However, if you have any liver problem, it is better to avoid it.

      Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      How old are your kids?

      It is unlikely for small kids to get the infection. However, teenage girls may get it from places like infected pools, toilets etc.

      Watch their genitals carefully. Do they have any redness, swelling, pain during urination, or any other symptom?

      If yes, they need further investigations to confirm the diagnosis.

      Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Hello, I just got cured of chlamydia. I was given some big white horse pill and they said that one time treatment will cure everything. All my other std tests came back clean. So, now I’m starting to notice little tiny painless skin colored bumps around my clitoris area. If I try to pop them, it stings kinda. I just don’t know what this is and it’s freaking me out. Help me please! (The pimples are small like goose bumps on your arm when it’s cold. They feel gritty if you squeeze them together.)

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Are they itchy or painful? Any discharge from the vagina? Any redness or swelling in the area?

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        No redness, no pain, no itching. A year or two ago, I got a bump under my arm pit. I messed with it till it opened and it was like a clump of deodorant under skin. Kinda hard and squishy. On my bottom, I messed with one and it was way smaller than the one on my armpit but the same white thing came out of it. It stung for a second when I opened it. Then the sting went away real quick. So I’m thinking what it would be. It couldn’t possibly be an std because I was just tested and before the test I haven’t done anything for three weeks. So I’m just bumfuzzled.

        Reply
        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          Though these lesions are unlikely to be STD lesions, it is better to get them checked by a doctor to rule out any possibility of STDs. This is just to be on safer side.

          Your lesions sound to be sebaceous cysts. They are harmless lumps and may appear anywhere on the body, particularly in the armpit, groin and other moist places.

          They are filled with a thick pasty, white colored fluid, called sebum. Most of these cysts get resolved on their own with time. If they pain or turn red, antibiotics are required.

          Reply
  6. Jamie

    I have little white bumps that look like they would be a pimple but they aren’t as big around my clitoral hood. Around my actual folds, there is redness around it and on my labia minora there may be little bumps too, I’m not too sure. I have never had sex before, so this can’t be an STD, right? I’m just scared and I would really appreciate if you could help me with this.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      These are likely to be pimples on your genital area.

      You need to keep the area clean and dry. Wash your genitals daily while bathing. Wear loose cotton underwear only, to let the area be moisture free all the day.

      If any of the pimple becomes painful, you may apply mupirocin (bactroban) ointment over it twice a day for 3 to 5 days.

      Read more on genital pimples and their management.

      Reply
  7. Tim webb

    My wife was diagnosed with trich. The nurse told her that the only way she could have gotten it was through sex. However, I never experienced any burning sensation through urination or itching of my penis. Can she get trich through other forms of contamination?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Yes, trich spreads through non sexual ways too. You may read above about it.

      Even if you don’t have symptoms, it is suggested that you treat yourself with the complete course of trich pills. This is essential.

      Reply
  8. confused

    Hi! I had a pap smear in Feb 2014 and had another one on July 22 2014. In Feb, my result was fine. In July, my doctor told me trich was found in my pap. I have had 5 miscarriages. I have been with the same guy for a year and 5 months. He swears that he has never been unfaithful, about a month prior to my pap he was itching real bad around his penis and testicles and developed what looked like a rash of dry skin but the itching and dry skin went away after about a week or two. Is it possible that I contracted from him? Also about a month and a half ago, we swam in a lake where “blue algae” was present. We had sex while in the water. Is it possible that I could got trich from the lake? Lots of people swim there. I truly want to believe he is faithful. I’m just confused. I was clean 5 months ago and now contracted this. I’ve never had any kind of STD in my life. I’m 29 years old! Please help!

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      There is equal probability of any one of the modes of transmission to have happened.

      Your boyfriend may be having some STD that you got infected with. He must have been honest and faithful with you since last two years. May be he had this infection before that. The infection stayed dormant in his body for those years, to express itself now in the form of rashes.

      It is also possible that you got that infection from the lake. Public lakes are usually contaminated with such bugs.

      The third possibility is that you may be having this infection from your past sex life. STDs may lie dormant (inactive) for a few days to years and may express themselves later on in life.

      It is essential to get treated for this infection. It may be causing those abortions.

      Reply
  9. Megan

    I was diagnosed with trichomoniasis and treated for it. So was my partner. We have since had sex. I’ve been taking baths with my 3 year old daughter. I have another test this Friday to ensure I don’t have trichomoniasis still. Can my daughter contract the disease in the bath with me? Please let me know I’m terrified:(

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Yes she can get the infection during bathing with you, if your secretions happen to touch her private areas.

      If she has the infection, she’ll get symptoms. Watch her closely for any symptom.

      Reply
  10. Megan

    I don’t know if I have TRICH again for sure. I got diagnosed, I started treatment. During the treatment I was hospitalized for PID and put on 3 IV antibiotics. They cultured me in the hospital and I was negative for TRICH. I still completed the treatment after being sent home. The only symptom I have now (weeks later) is foul smelling discharge, but no other symptoms of TRICH. I’ve had bv before, it seems like that is what I have now. I have an appointment to be cultured again this Friday. But it is TRICH, what symptoms should I watch for in her? What should I look for? Should I check her privates daily? Also, if it is BV, can that have been passed to her too through bathing? I’m so scared I will never forgive myself if I compromised her health in any way. I thought I was cured, and still may be, but that’s the only reason she was bathing with me or I wouldn’t have if I thought I had anything. The discharge just started the last couple of days. I haven’t been bathing with her since. Please help:(((

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Check her genitals daily. You need to watch for any redness or swelling down there. Note for any discharge or foul smell from the vagina.

      Reply
  11. Den Betha

    I have been happily married for nine years. I was just diagnosed with trichomoniasis. I told my husband and he said he did not cheat. I have not cheated. My husband went to his doctor and he tested negative. My doctor and his doctor stated this STD is only passed through sexual intercourse. Again, I have not cheated. How and why is this happening to me? I just want an answer because this is driving me crazy. I feel like I want to die. My husband said he believes but I cannot let this go. How did I contract this STD?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Trichomoniasis spreads via non sexual modes also. You may read above about them.

      You may give him some benefit of doubt. Nine years of happy married life deserves to be trusted further.

      Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      As mentioned above, there are non sexual routes also through which the organism causing trichomoniasis can spread. There is enough clinical evidence for this.

      However, in 99% cases, the spread is through sexual mode.

      Reply
  12. lisa

    I was at a pub in Saturday night and was using the toilet. On Monday I was getting these symptoms of discharge of yellow and watery and on Tuesday there was a smell. I went to the clinic on Wednesday and they diagnosed me with trich. Me and my husband have been married for a year and 3nonths and we have been faithful to each other.I was so shocked cause I didn’t understand d where I picked it up from. Can you please help me?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Very likely from public toilet, common bath pools, used wet towels etc. You can get trich from these non sexual means also.

      Reply
  13. Jordan

    I am pretty sure I have Trich. I have all the symptoms; swollen, red, itchy vagina; painful around the clitoris and inside the vagina; redness & swelling, especially inside the vagina (it was so tight & swollen & inflamed, I couldn’t get a pencil in there). At first I thought I had a yeast infection, so I started treating for that, and putting the cream inside me, and on the outside, but then it seemed to make everything worse. Then it was hard to pee, painful to pee, etc. Then, all of a sudden I start getting this “God forsaken” vaginal discharge from hell!. It just won’t stop oozing out, and it’s greenish, yellowish, grayish – with a foul smell, (not fishy), just a bad smell. The thing is, I haven’t had sex with anyone in about 2 years. Only thing I can think of, (that I did recently), was that I had gone to a Tanning Salon, (and recently worked at one, cleaning the beds! Gross!) – now that I think about it. And because I usually lay “naked” in them, (which I will never do again), I am thinking that’s how it was transmitted to me – since those beds are “hot”, and people are going “in” & “out” of them, one after the other. I’m sure the other people were “naked” too. Unless it can be transmitted from washing clothes in the same washer with a roommate who has it? So, my question to you, is: could I have gotten it from the Tanning Salon, (by laying in the bed)? Or through my roommate, in the above described situation? Or could this have been lying dormant inside of my body for over 2 years? And it’s just now coming out because I’ve been masturbating too much lately, or over-using my vibrator? Thank you in advance! Jordan in TX.

    Reply
  14. Kay

    I was diognosed with trich and had not had intercourse for at least five weeks before I got symptoms. Would it take that long to appear or would it be more likely that I got it from another source?

    Reply
      1. Angel

        I was diagnosed with trich 1 year and 4 month ago and now I’m pregnant is there any complication on my pregnancy because of it?

        Reply
  15. A concerned mother

    I am currently taking antibiotics to cure my trichomoniasis. I have a 3 year old daughter whose potty training. I teach her to use her potty but one day she decided to be a big girl and use the big toilet. I hadn’t had a chance to disinfect the toilet prior to her using it and I still have very bad symptoms as I had just started my treatment. Now she is saying she is itchy. Is it possible that she can get it from me after using the toilet? Is it also possible to spread to my son if he has to release a bowel movement which causes him to have to sit down as well?

    Reply
  16. Kristen

    I have symptoms of Trich (although I have not been to the doctor yet to get tested, I’m pretty sure that’s what it is from all that I have read). I have been with my partner for 9 months now and he says he is completely faithful and I have no reason to doubt him. I have had several sexual partners before he and I met. Is it possible for Trich symptoms to just now be appearing months to a over a year after being exposed?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Trich may remain dormant for long time periods. However, in most cases, you get symptoms within a month of exposure.

      Reply
  17. Anonymous

    So my friend is being tested for Trich. He thinks he may have it. We never engaged in intercourse but have goofed around fondling and such while playing in a hot tub. The hot tub wasn’t up to real hot tub temperature at only about 85 degrees being its one of those inflatable ones. My question is, he has been symptomatic since about 2 weeks after our hot tub encounter. It’s now been 7 weeks and I have no symptoms or irritations…. how likely is it that we have Trich?

    Reply
  18. Concerned

    I have just been diagnosed with trich. Same as everyone else. Faithful etc. I was in a swimming pool on a florida vacation. I fell under the water and couldnt see at all. My vision was very blurry. This has never happened to me before. I always swam with my eyes wide open and never had these problems. When i came back from the pool i didnt shower right away. I became very itchy and alot of gray discharge came out. Are clothes and everything else to be disinfected and washed after my husband and i finish treatment?

    Reply
  19. Alexa Hernandez

    Hi I was just diagnosed with Trich. and I am taking metro. I have 2 sons ages 8 years old and 3 years old and we casually share towels on a daily. i am so scares they have it now. What are the symptoms to lool for in little boys??

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It’s unlikely that they’ve got infected. However, it’s better to use separate towels, just to be on a much safer side.

      Your kids may not show any symptom even if they are infected. Only a lab test would confirm the diagnosis.

      Reply
  20. Trish

    I have been diagnosed with TRICH. married for 15 yrs and my husband says he has never cheated and I have never cheated but a month ago my towel was chewed by a dog then I just washed it. Could I have gotten it from there or my hubby is not telling the truth?

    Reply
  21. Anonynous

    I was informed that I had Trichomoniasis. I had the symptoms. However, my husband had none. I know I have not been unfaithful and my husband says he has not been either. How did this happen? Please help, I don’t want this to harm my marriage.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You may get Trich from non sexual modes as well, like using infected pools, toilet seats etc. Read the article above for more info.

      Reply
  22. Zoe

    I was diagnosed with truth I thought it was a yeast infection cause I’m not sexually active so I was using my son’s coconut oil that I use on him instead of diaper rash cream. I am scared I may have forgot to wash my hands or something Is there a possibility I could pass it to my son through the oil? And I got treated for trich truth and my symptoms started going away until I used my loofah today in the shower now my symptoms are coming back. Could I have redirected myself.

    Reply
  23. Nicole

    I was diagnosed with trich a month ago and took the antibiotics properly and the symptoms seemed to go away . i wore a pair of shorts i wore while i had trich and now my vagina is itchy and i just had sex again for the first time and it hurt really bad . could i have gotten trich again from the shorts ?

    Reply
  24. Ashleigh

    I was diagnosed with trichomoniasis and I took the pills to curead it but as I read on top that it could be spread through non sexual ways I have a 2yr old and a 1yr old I’m worried about. Can they catch it if I didn’t wash my hand’s n changed there diapers? Or if I bathed with one of my babys?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Transmission of the bug requires contamination by intimate fluids. They could have caught the infection if you used your towel for them.

      Bathing together or changing diapers are unlikely to have infected them.

      Reply
  25. Landa

    I had been treated for trich two months ago. I wore a Pair of old underwear yesterday and now I smell that smell again. Havent has sex in 4 months. Could I get it back from the old panties?

    Reply
  26. Susan

    I have been diagnosed with trich bout a month ago I have taken the medication for it as well as my husband but we had intercourse before his week was up after taking the medication could there be a possible way i have it again? Can I pass it on to my kid who is still in diapers if I haven’t washed my hands before changing him?

    Reply

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