Sexually Transmitted Infection: Trichomoniasis (Trich)
What is it? A parasitic infection of the genitals.
How common is it?
Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD. There are an estimated 3.7 million people in the U.S. infected with trich.
What are the symptoms?
Most people cannot tell they are infected. When trichomoniasis does cause symptoms, they can range from mild irritation to severe inflammation of the genitals. Symptoms can include itching, burning, redness, soreness, or pain with urination or sex. Discharge from the vagina or penis, which can be thin or frothy, with an unusual smell, and might look clear, white, yellowish, or greenish. Symptoms can come and go.
How do you get it?
Usually through vaginal sex (transmitted from a male to a female or from a female to the male). But it can also be passed from a vagina to another vagina. It is not common for trich to infect other body parts, like the hands, mouth, or anus.
How do you prevent it?
Using condoms correctly every time you have sex, from start to finish, will help reduce the risk of getting or spreading trich. However, condoms don’t cover everything, and it is possible to get or spread this infection even when using a condom. The only sure way to prevent sexually transmitted infections is to avoid having sex entirely. Another approach is to talk about these kinds of infections before you have sex with a new partner, so that you can make informed choices about the risks you are comfortable taking. There is no vaccine for trich.
How do you treat it?
Antibiotics can cure the infection, but about 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months. To avoid getting infected again, make sure that all of your sex partners get treated too, and wait to have sex again until all of your symptoms go away (usually about a week).
What happens if it isn't treated?
In pregnant women, trich might cause complications like early (preterm) delivery. Trich can also increase risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV, if exposed.
At Comprehensive Women's Care of Columbus, we offer sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening at your annual exam visit. You can request screening at any visit if you are concerned that you may have been exposed to an infection. Treatment will usually involve a simple prescription that can be called in to your pharmacy.
In addition, if you have been sexually active and are concerned about any unusual symptoms or if you know that your partner has been exposed to or diagnosed with an STI, you can always call the office to schedule a same day or next day visit for STI screening.