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Common Signs and Symptoms of Trichomoniasis

What Are The Symptoms of Trich?

70% of all trich infections are asymptomatic and can last for months or years without proper treatment. Women with symptoms may experience:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Foul smelling vaginal odor
  • Itching or redness in the vaginal area
  • Discomfort and burning after urination

Men presenting symptoms may experience:

  • Itching inside the penis
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Discomfort during intercourse
  • Burning after ejaculation
  • Genital inflammation

What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis, also known as trich, is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. The CDC estimates there are 3.7 million currently infected with only 30% showing symptoms. It is the most common of the curable STDs.

Who is at risk of a trich infection?

Every sexually active person is at risk of infection, but trich diagnosed in women more often than in men. It is more likely to be found in older women than younger women. The highest rates of trich infection are found among African American women.

How is trich transmitted?

Trich is transmitted through sexual contact and is most often found in the genitals only, not the throat, rectum or other body parts. It infects the inside of the penis or vagina and can be passed from men to women, women to men and women to other women. Trich is contagious with or without the presence of symptoms. The only way trich can be transmitted aside from sexual contact is from mother to child during birth. Trich cannot live outside the body.

What is the incubation period of trich?

The exact incubation period for trich in the body is unknown, but trich takes 4 to 28 days to incubate in vitro.

What are the long-term consequences of an untreated trich infection?

Untreated trich significantly increases the chances of contracting HIV because the infected areas are inflamed. This inflammation creates more places for HIV to enter the body. A trich infection in someone with HIV increases the rate of HIV shedding, making partners more susceptible to contracting HIV.

Trich can turn into urethritis in men and lead to infertility. In women, trich can cause atypical pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. Trich has also been linked to cervical and prostate cancer.

What is the impact of trich on pregnancy and expectant mothers?

Pregnant women infected with trich are more likely to having their water break early, premature delivery and underweight infants. Children born to infected women can contract the infection during birth. Trich infection during pregnancy has been associated with intellectual disability in children.

How can I prevent a trich infection?

Next to abstinence, proper condom and dental dam use is the best way to prevent a trich infection. Condoms can only reduce transmission if they completely cover the infected areas. Limiting the number of different sexual partners will greatly decrease the risk of contracting trich.

Who should test for trich?

Every sexually active person should test for trich regularly but especially following intercourse with a new partner or a partner whose status is unknown. High risk pregnant women should be screened to avoid transmission to during childbirth.

How is a trich test administered?

Trich tests are taken using a urine sample for men and a vaginal swab for women. Testing is the only way to diagnose trich as visual examinations are ineffective. Screening is highly recommended because of the high rate of asymptomatic infection.

Can a trich infection resolve on its own?

The body can clear a trich infection without treatment, but this process can take several months. During this time, the carrier is contagious and more likely to contract HIV and other STDs that enter through the infected area.

How is trich treated?

Trich is curable with prescription oral antibiotics (either metronidazole or tinidazole). Avoid sexual activity until all symptoms have cleared or for 7-10 days after completing treatment. Trich has been known to resist the normal prescription amount of metronidazole in rare cases. If symptoms persist, prescribing doctors can increase the amount of metronidazole prescribed or switch to tinidazole to complete treatment.

Is a trich reinfection possible?

About 20% of people who are treated for trich are reinfected within 3 months of completing treatment. If you test positive, be sure all sexual partners are tested and treated if necessary to reduce the chances of reinfection.

What Happens If I Test Positive?

If you test positive, instruction will be provided on how to obtain a free telemedicine consultation with a physician in your state. This physician may be able to prescribe treatment for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Trich. Depending on the infection, you may also need to retest after treatment to confirm the infection is gone. 

It is crucial that you inform your sexual partners of your test results, whether they’re positive or negative. Sharing this information will help stop the spread of any infection and will allow your partners to seek testing and treatment immediately if necessary. 

Keep testing. Just because you’ve tested once does not mean that you shouldn’t test again. In fact, it’s common to get infected with certain STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea, multiple times. myLAB Box recommends that you test every few months, especially if you’ve received a positive result in the past.