A parasite causes the sexually transmitted infection Trichomoniasis. It is commonly called ‘trich’. It usually infects young and sexually active women and the most curable STI.
Sexual contact spreads the parasite. Having a vulva-to-vulva and penis-to-vagina intercourse with infected partners can infect a woman. Infected women usually pass the infection to men.
After 5 to 28 days exposure to infection, symptoms may appear in some women and they may include:
- Lower stomach pain
- Foul-odor, frothy, yellow-green discharges from the vagina
- Itching and irritation in the genital area
- Discomfort and pain during urination and sex
If these symptoms are experienced, stop all sex activities and consult a doctor right away.
A pelvic exam and lab test will be the usual test to determine the presence of Trichomoniasis. The doctor may be able to see sores that are red and small on the cervix or inside the vagina during the pelvic exam. A fluid sample from the vagina could be sent to the lab or viewed under the microscope to look for the presence of the parasite.
Antibiotics are the usual cure for Trichomoniasis and they are:
These drugs are given orally in a single dose. If you have an allergy to the medicines, topical medicines might be recommended by your doctor which are applied directly to the skin. It may not cure though and will only relieve the symptoms.
Sex should be avoided until you and your partner have completed the treatments and do not show any more symptoms.
If Trichomoniasis is not treated it will stay in the body which could infect other sexual partners even with the absence of symptoms. In women, having Trichomoniasis increases the risk of being infected with HIV once exposed to it.
Your partner has to be informed as he or she might have the infection. Both of you should be treated together to prevent reinfection. If you’ve other recent partners they have to be informed as well so they can also be tested and treated.
There will be complications for women who get the infection while pregnant. It increases the risk for having babies with low birth weight or getting born prematurely. Babies that are born too small or too early could develop health conditions.
Here are some ways that can reduce the risk of being infected with Trichomoniasis and other sexually transmitted infections:
- Abstain from sex. Abstinence is the surest way to reduce the risk of getting infected with Trichomoniasis and other sexually transmitted infections. Not having sex means not having anal, vaginal or oral sex. Trichomoniasis could still infect even on a vulva-to-vulva contact.
- Be monogamous. To be safe from Trichomoniasis and other STIs, have sex with only one uninfected partner.
- Correctly use condoms every time you have sex. Even when no penetration occurs, it is best to use condoms from beginning to the end of any sexual activity. A polyurethane female condom or a latex male condom should be used for vaginal sex. A latex male condom must be used for anal sex and a dental dam for oral sex.