What Is Trich
Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection that affects the vagina and urethra.
Caused by a tiny parasite called trichomonas vaginalis, the condition can be difficult to diagnose because it rarely displays symptoms.
Symptoms that do occur can be easily confused with symptoms of other conditions.
To check your symptoms, use our interactive guide to symptoms.
Have I got Trich?
Seen predominantly in women, trichomoniasis symptoms tend to appear between five and 28 days after exposure.
If you develop any of the follow symptoms, you may have trich and should visit your GP to confirm the diagnosis.
- Soreness, inflammation and itching around the vagina. Sometimes your inner thighs also become itchy
- A change in vaginal discharge. Your discharge may appear thicker, thinner, frothy or yellow or green in colour. You may also produce more discharge than normal and it may have an unpleasant fishy smell
- Pain or discomfort when passing urine
- Discomfort during sexual intercourse
- Pain in your lower abdomen
To check whether you might have trich, please visit our guide to symptoms.
What causes trich?
STI Trichomoniasis is caused by a tiny parasite called trichomonas vaginalis and is most commonly spread through having unprotected sex. In some cases, the infection can also be spread through the sharing of sex toys.
Implications of trich
Although complications arising from trichomoniasis are rare, there are a few things you should look out for.
The infection sometimes weakens the barrier of mucus in the cervix, which helps to protect women from infections in their reproductive organs. If the mucus is weakened, it can increase your risk of developing HIV.
It is, therefore, very important that you practice safe sex by always using a condom.
Developing trichomoniasis while you are pregnant may put your baby at risk of developing complications, including premature birth or low birth weight.
Treating and preventing trich
If you think you may have trichomoniasis and are showing very obvious symptoms, you may start treatment before any test results are back.
The condition is unlikely to go away without treatment but in some rare cases may cure itself. However, if you do not seek proper trichomoniasis treatment, you risk passing the infection on to someone else.
Antibiotics and antifungals
Trichomoniasis is normally treated quickly and easily, usually using an antibiotic known as metronidazole. If taken correctly, this treatment is very effective and will normally be taken twice a day, for between five and seven days.
Pregnant women who experience side effects from metronidazole may instead be prescribed clotrimazole. A clotrimazole pessary is a type of antifungal medicine that is inserted into the vagina.
It is important that you don’t have sexual intercourse while you are being treated for trichomoniasis, as you may become re-infected.
It is also important that your partner is tested, as they must be treated too. If your sexual partner is not treated, then this increases the risk of reinfection.
Like any sexually transmitted infection, the best way to prevent trichomoniasis is to practise safe sex. This means always using a condom, even when using sex toys.