Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis (pronounced: trick oh mon eye a siss), aka “trich,” is a very common parasitic STD caused by infection with the protozoan parasite Trichomonas Vaginalis. It is considered the most common curable STD; Planned Parenthood estimates over 8 million people in the U.S. get trich every year.  The human genital tract is the only reservoir for trich, and it only spread through sex or genital contact. Because of this, condoms are reasonably effective against spreading the infection – not a guarantee though!

Although symptoms of the disease vary, most women and men who have the parasite cannot tell they are infected, and only 30% show symptoms (mostly women). Symptoms usually show up 5 to 28 days after exposure and can include mild irritation, severe inflammation, discomfort during sex, itching, redness or soreness around the genitals, burning after urination, burning after ejaculation (men), discharge from the penis (men), or a thin discharge with an unusual smell that can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish (women). Women may also notice a foul smell or blood spotting in their discharge.

Without treatment, the infection can last for months or even years. Trich is diagnosed by visually observing the bacteria under a microscope or from a cotton swab sample (women only). It is important to note that testing for vaginal infections is not a part of routine pelvic exams so women should not assume their health care providers will know of the infection or expect they will provide any appropriate treatment, so you must vocalize your concern!  Trich is often the cause of vaginitis, so be sure to ask about that, too. If you are pregnant, or trying to conceive, it is a good idea to get tested because pregnant women with trich are more likely to have their babies too early (preterm delivery). Also, babies born to infected mothers are more likely to have a low birth weights (less than 5.5 pounds).

Thankfully, trich is easily treatable and can be cured with a single dose of orally taken antibiotics (metronidazole or tinidazole). It is okay for pregnant women to take this medication. Remember, like all STDs, both partners should be treated at the same time if one person has it to prevent re-infection.

To find a location to get tested for trich, talk to your doctor, visit our resources page, or Google test centers in your area.

***This is a blog and the information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, nor is it meant to take the place of your personal physician’s advice.***