Did you know that some sexually transmitted diseases put you more at risk for contracting or transmitting another STD? Such a disease are the parasites Trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis, or trich or Trichomonas, is a very common curable STD, with about 3.7 million Americans infected, and only about 30% of those actually develop any symptoms.
It is more common in older females than in men, but men are still at risk.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains that trich is transmitted through unprotected sex. The parasite lives in the lower gentital tract, such as the vulva, vagina, cervix or urethra. The parasite does not usually spread to other parts of the body such as the hands, mouth or anus.
Symptoms of Trichomoniasis
If you do develop symptoms, men may experience itching or irritation inside the penis, burning while urinating or ejaculation, or unusual discharge.
Women may notice itching, burning, redness or soreness of the genitals, discomfort during urination or a change in their vaginal discharge such as in increased amount, a thin viscosity, a change in color or a foul smell.
Trich can also make sex feel uncomfortable for both genders.
Remember, if you have trich, it is more likely that you will get another STD, especially if you have multiple partners. If you’re diagnosed or test positive for an STD, it would be smart to look into if you have trich to reduce your risk of future exposure.
The Risks of Trichomoniasis
If you’ve tested positive for trich, your health is not in any danger as long as you seek treatment and practice safe safe. Trich’s main risk is increasing your chances of being infected with other STDs. For example, the inflammation it causes makes your body more susceptible to get the HIV virus and easier for you to pass on to others.
If you’re pregnant, the risks come more into play. It can cause premature births and low infanct birth weights.
You’re at risk for getting trichomoniasis if you have multiple sexual partners, a history of other sexually transmitted diseases, a previous episode with trich, or unprotected sex, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Without treatment, trich parasites can live for months and sometimes years inside of your body.
Thankfully, trich is one of the most common curable STDs in the world. It is treated with oral medication such as metronidazole or tinidazole. The medications are safe for pregnant women as well. Those receiving treatment should not drink alcohol within 24 hours of taking their medication.
Trich is tricky, though; if you have it once, you have higher odds of getting it again. The CDC states 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months after receiving treatment.
Since it spreads so easily, both you and your partner(s) should be tested and treated to avoid further spread. After treatment, you should not have sex for 7-10 days.
Like with all STDs, there is only one way to completely prevent yourself from getting trich — abstinence. However, correctly using a latex condom and only having one sexual partner will drastically decrease your odds of getting trich.
Always talk with your partner about their STD history before having sex. For advice on this, see our previous blog, How to Talk About STDS with Your Partner.
The Importance of Getting Tested
Men and women should both be tested with trichomoniasis test, especially if you or your partner have had it in the past. Because it increases your risk of contracting another STD, testing is vital so you can protect yourself and get treated.
You should get tested if you’re sexually active with a new partner, sexually active with multiple partners, or are HIV positive.
SelfCollect offers accurate at-home DNA testing kits with fast results so you can avoid the embarrassment and inconvenience of going to a doctor’s office. SelfCollect offers a Trichomonas test for both males and females.
Your collection kit is shipped back to SelfCollect’s medical lab facility in a nondescript and pre-paid envelope. Results are typically available on your account in about 2-4 business days.
The female test for trichomoniasis is a full vaginal discharge panel. It looks for bacterial vaginosis caused by excessive harmful bacteria in the vagina and yeast infections as well. If you’re positive for either, you can breathe easy - they are not STDs, but should be treated by a medical professional.