Reading Time: 8 minutes
Trichomoniasis! Wow the name itself can invoke panic in people, isn’t it? The name may sound complicated, but it is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite. If you are in an explorative stage of your sexuality, then you need all the information to practice safe sex and prevent any adverse health effects.
Now you may wonder if the article is a sexual education class. Well, sort of. Any sexually active male or female must have the information about the STDs to prevent any health issues cropping up later. Haven’t you heard the golden words that prevention is always better?
The information about the different sexually transmitted disease will help you make informed decisions about your sex life. It also gives you complete control to exercise your sexual rights and sexuality. With millions of new cases of the sexually transmitted disease reported every year, you need to maintain caution.
Active young men and women with a healthy appetite for sex need to have the precise information regarding the infections, prevention, symptoms, treatments, and types of STDs. The valuable knowledge will help you lead a happy and satisfied life without complications.
A Brief Description
Let’s get into the details about the disease with a tongue-twisting name. Trichomoniasis considered as the most common STD affects more than 3.7 million people in developed countries like the USA. Shocked?? The disease caused by infection of Trichomonas vaginalis is very common. Does the name ring any bell?? Bingo! It commonly affects sexually active women and infects the vagina. But, men are not free from getting the disease either, so beware.
The effortlessly curable infection is commonly referred to as Trich (easy to say it). The protozoan parasite responsible for the infection may not cause any infection. So, you can never tell if you have the infection or not. The next question that crops in your mind are if millions of people get the infection, then what exactly causes it.
Common Causes Of Trichomoniasis
As mentioned before, it is a sexually transmitted disease that spreads easily during the sex. The sexual fluids of men and women like vaginal fluids, pre-cum, and semen can carry the parasite responsible for the infection. The disease is NEVER spread through casual contact. So, you will never get it from hugging, kissing sharing food/drinks or holding hands with an infected person. The disease is also not spread via air. Therefore, you can eliminate the possibility of getting it from coughing, sitting on toilet seats or sneezing.
So, the common causes of Trich are:
- Vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity
- Sharing sex toys with an infected partner
- The vulva-to-vulva contact
- Touching the genital organs
The infected fluids can easily attack organs like the vagina, vulva, penis, and urethra. But, the other parts of your body like mouth or anus is safe from the infection. Only a few notice the disease and get treatment as early as possible. Don’t panic as here are the symptoms that will help you diagnose it faster and get treatment.
Trichomoniasis Common Symptoms
Trichomoniasis symptoms may vary in men and women, but only 30% of the infected people can develop any symptoms. Older people are more vulnerable to the infection due to their weak immune system. The infection causes symptoms within five to twenty days after getting it. Many see the symptoms within the time period, other develop problems much later.
Though the symptoms can come and go, the most common issue is the mild to severe irritation in the genital area. The symptoms in men and women differ, so let us look into it closely.
Men may notice issues like
- Irritation or irritation inside the genital area (penis)
- Foul smelling discharge from the penis
- Burning after ejaculation or urination
Women with Trich can have issues like
- Discomfort while urination
- Soreness, redness, itching, burning of genitals
- Foul smelling discharge (Fishy smell)
- Thin or increased volume of vaginal discharge that is clear, greenish, yellowish, or white in color.
- Pain or unpleasant feeling during sex
As the common symptoms have the tendency to come and go, you cannot get rid of the disease without treatment. The tricky infection can last for months or years without treating it with proper medicine.
Risk Factors Of Trichomoniasis
The next crucial question is why the fuss about the infection? The disease can lead to other complications in your life.
- The people infected with Trichomoniasis are more vulnerable to other deadly infections like HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). HIV is the main cause of AIDS that has no cure till date.
- In pregnant women, the infection can result in premature delivery, low birth weight babies, or transmit the disease to the baby. The transmission of the infection can occur when the child passes through the birth canal.
Who Should Get Tested For Trich?
A sexually active male or female must practice safe sex to avoid complication arising due to sexually transmitted disease. But, some people are more at risk of catching the trich infection compared to others:
- People with more than one sexual partner
- A person with a history of other sexually transmitted disease or infection
- A man/woman with a previous episode of Trichomoniasis
- Having sex without protection (condom)
What Happens During The Trich Test?
You need to seek the help of medical professional like a nurse or a doctor to figure out if you require any test for STDs including trichomoniasis. It is better to get checked as you can get peace of mind after eliminating the possibility of the disease.
Don’t panic! Trich is a simple testing process. The test is as simple as getting the urine test (where you just pee in a cup). Easy, isn’t it?
Your doctor or nurse may perform the following:
- Do a detailed pelvic examination
- Use a cotton swab to take a sample from your penis or vagina. The fluid sample obtained on the swab gets tested under the microscope to detect the presence of the parasite.
- A fluid culture or a DNA test performed in the lab checks the presence of the infection. The culture test checks for your urine sample or the swab taken from the vaginal/penis area. The parasite is grown under the lab condition, so it takes up to a week to know the presence of the parasite.
Preparing For The Trich Test
Don’t worry! It is a simple test and not the tough competitive exam that needs years and months of preparation.
You just have to follow some basic steps to ensure the test is 100% reliable.
- Even if you have an active sex life, it is better to avoid sex before getting tested as you can avoid the danger of spreading the disease to your partner.
- Avoid using powders, sprays or deodorants on your genital region as it can cover the symptoms of the infection. Apart from covering the signs, it also makes the irritation worse.
- Douching washes the natural vaginal fluids and makes our vagina dry. So, avoid it before appointments (better to avoid it completely as it is not good for your private parts)
- Go to your doctor for testing after your menstruation cycle to get accurate results. But, consult a health professional immediately if you have irregular bleeding (it is the sign of serious infection).
- Unlike other infections, a Pap smear test will never detect the trichomoniasis infection in your body. If your tests show the presence of trich, then your doctor may suggest for other STIs tests. But, do not worry, the infection is easy to cure.
If your Trichomoniasis testing results come back positive, then do not panic. It is not the end of the world and the disease is not deadly. You can get rid of the infection from the body easily with proper medical care. Your doctor or registered nurse will prescribe the antibiotics to eradicate the infection from your system.
The doctors most commonly prescribe two antibiotics to overcome the disease:
Both the antibiotics are available in pill form, which you need to take as a single dose. When you are getting treatment for your infection, it is important for your partner/partners to get treatment too. Else, you or your partner may pass the infection to each other or to other sexual partners. Therefore, it is really important for all partners involved in your sex life to take the necessary antibiotics.
Another important thing is to abstain from having sex. Follow it until you or your partner complete taking the antibiotics course prescribed by the doctor. It is imperative to eliminate all the symptoms from the body to resume a healthy sex life. It prevents reoccurrence of the disease.
If you want some pointers while getting treatment, then here it is:
- Take your medicines at the right time in prescribed dosage for the suggested duration of time without any fail.
- Make sure you and your partner take the medicine provided to you by the doctor religiously to avoid re-infection or passing the infection to others.
- Avoid any kinds of sexual activity for a duration of one week AFTER you finish taking your medication. You need to make sure your body is completely free from trich infection. It must leave your system completely to safeguard your sexual health.
- Consult your doctor before getting intimate with your partner. The all clear from your medical professional will give you peace of mind.
- Never share our medicine with anyone else as the medication effects may vary from one person to another.
- Once you get infected by the trich, the risk of getting the infection again in future increases exponentially. So, avoid it by practicing safe sex and using a condom.
- You need to get tested regularly to avoid the possibility of any other infection of trich.
Preventing Trichomoniasis In Future
The most effective way to avoid getting the infection is to abstain from oral, vaginal or anal sex. Oops! It is not possible as people in their prime age have the healthy sexual urge. Therefore, it is better to check the other viable alternatives.
Condoms are the ideal method to practice safe sex and prevent the different sexually transmitted infections. The infection spreads just with touching of the sexual fluids without ejaculation. Therefore, it is necessary for men to wear a condom before it touches the private parts like vagina, anus or even mouth. The birth control pills, implants, shots, or diaphragms can only stop pregnancy. The condom prevents the sexually transmitted disease along with preventing unwanted pregnancy.
Test regularly to ensure your sexual health is fine. Test for STIs regularly to ensure peace of mind.
Before you embark on a new sexual relationship, it is important to talk to each other about the prior test results and sexual history. It will help you both make an informed decision and avoid other complications.
You may have an explorative idea about sex or enjoying your sexuality, but it is better to limit your sex partners. The more sexual partners you have, the risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases increases.
You never know when you will find your “one”, but staying in a long-term monogamous relationship will limit the risk of trich. If you are with a committed partner with both of you faithful to each other, then it reduces the possibility of getting any infection.
Douching is a trend with many young women performing it. But, it is not good for your private area as it kills the normal bacteria that protects you from contracting infections. You increase the risk of getting sexually transmitted infections with douching.
Abusing alcohol or drugs is another risky behavior, which makes you vulnerable to the STIs. Using drugs or alcohol will put you in jeopardy as you get more prone to sexual attacks.
All the steps work well when combined together and implemented in your life. Following one step alone cannot reduce your chance of getting the infection.
People with an active sex life have higher probability of getting Trichomoniasis. Once you get the disease, you may go through several emotions. You may feel embarrassed to share the information with others. Do not feel dejected or stressed out because of the infection as you can cure it easily. You can go on with your regular life once you get treated. You can talk your doctor to get the precise medical advice to eliminate the concerns and disease from your life.