Updated: Jan 23
What is Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis, or Trich, is an STI caused by the parasite Trichomoniasis Vaginalis. It is one of the most common curable STIs.
When we say common, we mean REALLY common.
There are about 3.7 million cases of Trichomoniasis in America, although only 30% will develop symptoms. It mostly affects older women.
Trichomoniasis is treatable.
Trichomoniasis is treatable with medication from your healthcare provider.
How is Trichomoniasis spread?
Trichomoniasis is spread by having oral, anal, or vaginal sex with someone who is infected. During sexual intercourse, the parasite travels from the penis to the vagina, vagina to the penis, and even vagina to vagina. It’s extremely rare for it to spread to anywhere on the body other than the genitalia. Trichomoniasis can be spread regardless of whether or not the infected person shows symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Only 30% of people infected with Trichomoniasis actually show symptoms.
They can range from mild irritation to severe inflammation in the pubic area. Some people show symptoms between 5 to 28 days after being exposed to it, while others may not get them until much later.
People with penises may experience:
Itching or irritation inside the penis
Burning after ejaculation or urinating
Discharge from the penis.
People with vaginas may experience:
Itching, burning, redness, and/or soreness of the genitals
Discomfort during urination
Thinner discharge and/or increase in the volume of discharge
Discharge with an unusual and unpleasant fishy smell.
Women who are pregnant may also have problems such as underweight babies or premature birth.
How does testing work?
Testing for Trichomoniasis is generally relatively simple.
Your healthcare provider will take a sample of vaginal fluid for women and a urine sample for men and examine it under a microscope. If no parasite can be seen, you will undergo a rapid antigen test and nucleic acid amplification.
What if I have it?
So, your results came back positive.
The first thing to remember is that this is nothing to be ashamed of. Like we said earlier, this is a very common infection. If you or your partner have Trichomoniasis, it does not necessarily mean anyone cheated. Test results may not detect the infection until well after contracting it.
How do I get rid of it?
If you have Trichomoniasis, you'll need to swallow one large dosage of either metronidazole or tinidazole. Sometimes, your healthcare provider may tell you to take two lower dosages per day for a week. Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours after taking metronidazole and 72 hours after taking tinidazole. If you do, you may experience severe nausea and vomiting. Often, your doctor may give you medicine for both you and your partner(s). It is important that BOTH of you finish your treatment and don't have sex for at least 7 days.
For real, getting frisky can wait.
If you don't take your medication all the way through, you run the risk of re-infecting your partner or other people. Willingly risking you or your partner's sexual health isn't sexy. Peace of mind is sexy. Always make sure to listen to your doctor to effectively get rid of Trichomoniasis.