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Have you heard of trichomoniasis? While this disease is more common than most people realize, many people have no idea what it is or why it is relevant to their lives. Trichomoniasis an STD and similar to other diseases, has numerous myths that cloud the true severity of the issue.
This article explores the common myths about trichomoniasis you should be aware of.
Table of Contents
- What Is Trichomoniasis?
- Myths About Trichomoniasis
- 1. Trichomoniasis Is An Uncommon STD
- 2. Trich Doesn’t Cause Symptoms
- 3. Trich Is Easily Diagnosed
- 4. There Is No Cure For Trichomoniasis
- 5. Condoms Can Prevent Trich
- 6. Only Women Get Trichomoniasis
- 7. Trichomoniasis Isn’t A Serious Disease
- Key Takeaways
What Is Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by a parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis. The disease may or may not have symptoms depending on the individual and has been linked to a variety of other health complications.
The parasite which causes the disease thrives in areas of the body that are dark and moist. It is the number one cause of vaginal infections today. While it was previously associated with younger individuals, research has shown that it is common in older women as well.
Myths About Trichomoniasis
1. Trichomoniasis Is An Uncommon STD
Trichomoniasis is not uncommon. Indeed, in 2018, it was estimated that there were at least 2 million trichomoniasis infections. It is more common in women with 2.1% of women aged 14-59 believed to be infected compared to 0.5% of men. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD impacting the US population today.
2. Trich Doesn’t Cause Symptoms
People often assume that trich doesn’t cause any symptoms. This is due to the fact that an estimated 70% of those infected will not show any signs or symptoms. However, while the majority of people will be asymptomatic, some will display signs of the infection. These can range from mild issues to severe changes to the body.
It is not uncommon to develop symptoms between five to eight days after being infected. However, signs of infection can also develop far later. The symptoms may also disappear before returning repeatedly throughout the infection.
In men, symptoms can include:
Women may experience symptoms such as:
- Discomfort during urination
- Yellow, green, clear, or white discharge
- Pain in the genitals
With no treatment, these symptoms may last for months or potentially years.
3. Trich Is Easily Diagnosed
Trichomoniasis isn’t always easy to diagnose for a few key reasons. First, as discussed in the vast majority of cases, people don’t know they have the disease because there are no clear symptoms. Symptoms can also go away before returning multiple times.
When there are symptoms, these are similar to those associated with a variety of other STDs.
If you suspect you have this infection, then a doctor will usually complete a physical examination of your genitals as well as the surrounding area. They may also take a swab for testing.
Results of a test like this can take several days or several weeks to provide results. Due to this, it is commonly recommended that treatment starts immediately before you receive a positive test result.
4. There Is No Cure For Trichomoniasis
As mentioned, trichomoniasis is curable. It can be treated and cured with meditation which may be prescribed by a doctor. This oral medication is available to anyone who is sexually active and is even safe for pregnant women who may require treatment.
While the disease can be cured, it’s important to note that this does not prevent you from contracting the disease again. 1 in 5 people will get infected with the disease a second time just three months after completing treatment. For this reason, it is important to take steps to prevent further infection.
5. Condoms Can Prevent Trich
It’s commonly assumed that using condoms will prevent people from contracting STDs such as trich. In the case of trichomoniasis, while condoms may reduce the chances of contracting the disease, they are not 100% effective. The only way to ensure that you never contract this disease is by avoiding sex completely. You should also not have sex if you think that you have already been exposed to this disease during sex with a previous partner.
If you are worried about contracting trichomoniasis, you should encourage any new sexual partner to complete a full sexual health checkup. You should also get tested yourself each time you change sexual partners.
If you have already been infected with trich, you should ensure that you inform any sexual partners. You also need to wait until your symptoms disappear before re-engaging in sexual activity. Usually, this will take no more than a week. If you notice symptoms have returned, you should get checked again.
6. Only Women Get Trichomoniasis
Similar to women, men can also be infected with trichomoniasis. In women, it will usually impact areas including the urethra as well as the overall vagina.
In men, the disease predominantly impacts the urethra. However, in certain cases, the prostate gland as well as the head of the penis can also be impacted by the disease.
Men will usually contract the disease after having sex without using any form of protection such as a common. However, men can also contract the disease while using a condom.
You can not contract the disease through either oral or anal sex. This is true for both men and women.
7. Trichomoniasis Isn’t A Serious Disease
While curable, if untreated trichomoniasis can have a severe impact on your wellbeing. As already noted, this disease could lead to significant symptoms which vary from mild to severe. These symptoms can impact your life for years.
The disease is also closely associated with the co-infection of HIV. While trichomoniasis can be cured, HIV can also be treated so that individuals can manage and slow down the progression of their symptoms. Individuals who are infected with trichomoniasis are more likely to contract HIV during sexual activity because it means that the virus becomes more transmissible.
Trichomoniasis has also been linked to other complications including the development of pelvic inflammatory disease. Pregnant women may also be more likely to go into premature labor or have babies with a lower birth weight if they are infected with this STD.
We hope this article has been informative and helped you to understand why you need to know the real facts about trichomoniasis.
The key points you should know about trichomoniasis are:
- This is not a rare disease. While more common in women, it can also infect men
- You will not always display symptoms and that’s why you should get regularly tested
- It is treatable and curable through prescription medication
- It can cause severe symptoms and health issues including issues with pregnancy and an increased chance of HIV transmission.
- Momeni Z, Sadraei J, Kazemi B, Dalimi A. Trichomoniasis in older individuals: a preliminary report from Iran. J Parasit Dis. 2016;40(4):1597-1600. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1007/s12639-015-0737-2.
- Trichomoniasis Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stats.htm.
- John N. Krieger, Carole Jenny, Michael Verdon, et al; Clinical Manifestations of Trichomoniasis in Men. Ann Intern Med.1993;118:844-849. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-118-11-199306010-00003
- Joseph G. Lossick, Howard L. Kent, Trichomoniasis: Trends in diagnosis and management, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 165, Issue 4, Part 2, 1991, Pages 1217-1222, ISSN 0002-9378, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9378(12)90730-9.
- NICCOLAI, LINDA M., et al. “Incidence and Predictors of Reinfection with Trichomonas Vaginalis in HIV-Infected Women.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases, vol. 27, no. 5, 2000, pp. 284–88. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/44965342.
- Holmes KK, Levine R, Weaver M. Effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections. Bull World Health Organ. 2004 Jun;82(6):454-61. PMID: 15356939; PMCID: PMC2622864. Available here.
- Kissinger P, Adamski ATrichomoniasis and HIV interactions: a reviewSexually Transmitted Infections 2013;89:426-433. Available from: https://sti.bmj.com/content/89/6/426.
- Szarka, K., Temesvári, P., Kerekes, A., Tege, A., & Repkény, A. (2002). Neonatal pneumonia caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica, 49(1), 15-19. Retrieved Oct 4, 2022, from https://akjournals.com/view/journals/030/49/1/article-p15.xml.
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