Looking to get tested? See the At Home Trichomoniasis Test
What is Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis isn’t an STD you often hear about, but it is the most prevalent non-viral STD in the world. It’s important to fully understand what trichomoniasis is before discussing diagnosis or treatment. Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite.
Trichomoniasis, or trich for short, is caused by a protozoan called Trichomonas Vaginalis. Trich operates a little differently from other STDs because it is caused by protozoa and not viruses or bacteria. Here’s a run down of what this means:
Viruses are the smallest of the three. Viruses replicate themselves inside the cells of living organisms. Once replicated, they destroy their host cell. Viruses cannot live outside the body for very long. Herpes, HIV and Hepatitis are all viruses.
Bacteria are living things. They are single-celled microorganisms without a nucleus, therefore making them a simple structure. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are all bacteria.
Protozoa are like bacteria because they are also living. They are single-celled microorganisms with a nucleus. Trich is the only STD caused by protozoa.
Symptoms of Trich
In women, trich can cause foul-smelling vaginal discharge, pain and itching. Pregnant women with trich are at risk of delivering prematurely. Men suffering from trich will typically present no symptoms.
Symptoms of Trich in Women
- White, grey, yellow or green foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Redness, burning and itching in groin area
- Pain during urination
- Pain during intercourse
Symptoms of Trich in Men
- Irritation inside penis
- Burning during urination
- Burning after ejaculation
- Discharge from penis
According to the CDC, roughly only 30% of people with trich report having any symptoms.
What Happens If Left Untreated
Left untreated, trich can lead to severe health problems. The trich infection is closely related to the co-infection with HIV, this means trich eases the transmission into AIDS.
It’s important to remember that trich can be passed nonsexually, even if you are a virgin or in a monogamous relationship, you can still get trich.
Untreated trich in men
Untreated trich in men can cause urinary system complications:
- Urethritis or swelling of the urethra
- Chronic UTIs
- Chronic bladder infections
Untreated trich in men can also cause reproductive system complications:
- Prostate Cancer
- Susceptibility to HIV
- Orchitis or swelling of the tesiticles
Untreated trich in women
Untreated trich in women can cause:
- Susceptibility to HIV
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Premature Birth
- Low-birth-weight baby
- Chronic UTIs
So basically don’t delay treatment, untreated trich will to wreak havoc on your body.
Treatment and Prevention
Luckily, trich is one of the easiest STDs to cure! Trichomoniasis is most commonly cured by a single dose of an antibiotic.
The best way to protect yourself from contracting trich is to wear a condom every time you engage in sexual intercouse. Trich cannot infect you unless it comes into contact with your urethra.
- Use condoms. Other methods of birth control such as pills or implants do not protect you from STIs.
- Be monogamous. Only having sex with one partner greatly lowers your risk.
- Limit your number of sexual partners.
- Do not douche. Douching removes normal bacteria in your vagina that helps protect against infections.
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