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Trichomonas Test

Last updated April 27, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

A Trichomonas Test detects the presence of T. vaginalis and is used to diagnose trichomoniasis.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • T. Vaginalis Amplified Detection Test
  • T. Vaginalis Direct Fluorescent Antibody (DFA) Test
  • Wet Prep Test

What is Trichomonas Test? (Background Information)

  • Trichomonas vaginalis (or T. vaginalis) is a single-celled parasite, called a protozoan, which infects the urogenital tract of men and women. It causes the sexually transmitted infection trichomoniasis, commonly referred to as “trich”
  • It is thought that T. vaginalis damages tissues by adhering to cells and causing mechanical stress. The attacked cell is quickly ruptured and the remaining portion of the cell is then digested by T. vaginalis
  • T. vaginalis causes symptoms, only in approximately 1 out of 3 cases. Nevertheless, it is one of the most common causes of vaginal inflammation (vaginitis) in women
  • A Trichomonas Test detects the presence of T. vaginalis and is used to diagnose trichomoniasis. There are a variety of ways to analyze bodily samples. Samples may be analyzed by examination under a microscope, via a wet prep. Or, they can be used to inoculate growth media and the presence of growth, used as a diagnostic for T. vaginalis. Though, this may take up to 1 week
  • More sophisticated methods include molecular tests that detect either genetic elements or physical structures of T. vaginalis. These include:
    • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) identification of genetic elements of T. Vaginalis
    • Detection of structures (antigens) of the parasite using a direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Trichomonas Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a Trichomonas Test:

  • Painful urination
  • Persistent urge to urinate, with little or no urine being expelled
  • Discolored or cloudy urine
  • Abnormal or foul-smelling discharge from the penis or vagina

How is the Specimen Collected for Trichomonas Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Trichomonas Test:

Sample required: Swab of the vagina, or urethra of the penis; or a urine sample


  • Insertion of a sterile swab into the vagina or urethra of the penis
  • Collection of urine in a sterile container

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Trichomonas Test Result?

The significance of Trichomonas Test is explained:

  • Positive result of a Trichomonas Test indicates an infection with T. vaginalis. This is diagnostic of trichomoniasis
  • A negative result of a Trichomonas Test indicates that there is no infection with T. vaginalis

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Women are more susceptible to T. vaginalis infections, than men. This is due to the fact that the vaginal lining is thinner than the skin of the penis. It is also because of the warm, moist conditions of the vagina, which creates a more hospitable environment for pathogens
  • Preventative measures, such as the use of condoms during intercourse, can significantly reduce the spread of trichomoniasis infection

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 14, 2014
Last updated: April 27, 2018