Pregnancy is a wonderful time, riddled with fear and excitement as you prepare to bring a new life into the world. If you had or have a sexually transmitted disease, you’re probably wondering how it can affect your child. That’s why we, at SelfCollect, are continuing this mini-series about what to do if you’re pregnant and have, or have had, a sexually transmitted disease. Today’s blog topic is on trichomoniasis, also known as trich.
What is Trichomoniasis?
If you have trichomoniasis, you don’t need to worry: it is curable. In fact, it is the most common treatable sexually transmitted disease in the country. An estimated 3.7 million Americans have the infection and only about 30% of them develop any symptoms. Trichomoniasis is an STD that puts you at risk of acquiring other STDs, more specifically, HIV.
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.
On its own, the disease is very mild to its host. The infection is more common in older women than it is in younger women. Only about 30% of individuals develop symptoms.
If symptoms do develop, men often feel the following:
Itchiness in their gential region
Irritation of the penis
Burning sensation while urinating or ejaculating
Discomfort while having sexual intercourse
Women may experience the following:
Itching, burning or redness in their genital region
Discomfort while urinating
Thicker vaginal discharge
A change in color or smell
An increase in production
Discomfort while having sexual intercourse
Without treatment, an infection can last for months, if not years. Treatment itself is easy: oral medications, such as metronidazole or tinidazole, can be safely taken, even while pregnant. You should abstain from drinking alcohol for three days after taking the medication, as it can cause severe nausea and vomiting.
If you have Trich, you have an increased risk of getting it again. The CDC states 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months after receiving treatment. Be sure you and your partner get tested, so you both can receive treatment if necessary. After treatment, you should not have sex for 7-10 days to ensure the parasite is out of your system.
Pregnant with Trich
Trich affects expectant mothers in a variety of ways. One way it can affect you is that it makes you more susceptible to catching others STDs, which can harm your unborn child. For instance, Trich increases an individual’s chance of catching HIV, which can be dangerous to babies.
Beyond that, pregnant women with Trich are more likely to have preterm births (earlier than 37 weeks), and low birth weight (below 5.5 pounds). A study found that pregnant women with Trich were 30% more likely to have preterm births than women without Trich.
The earlier the birth occurs, the more complicated the health problems are. Preterm births can lead to a myriad of health concerns, such as vision or hearing loss, cerebral palsy, impaired learning, breathing problems, and more.
Low birth weight is most often caused by preterm births. It can lead to your baby having a weakened immune system.
Testing for Trichomoniasis
Unless you’re showing symptoms, you won’t be tested for trichomoniasis while you’re pregnant. It is rare for you to receive treatment too while you’re pregnant. This is because there is no evidence that shows getting treated while your pregnant will prevent preterm births or low birth weights. In fact, some research suggests getting treatment while you’re pregnant may increase the risk of preterm birth!
This is why it is important for you to get tested before you engage in any unprotected sexual activities, especially if you’re looking to get pregnant — men and women alike!
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. 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.
At Self Collect, men and women are tested differently; the male test is strictly for Trich, while the female test checks for Trich, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis due to their symptoms being so similar.
Because Trich increases your risk of contracting another STD, of having a preterm birth, and low birth rate, testing is vital so you can protect yourself and your future child.