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What is Trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis, called “trich” for short, is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite. This parasite is carried in sexual fluids, including vaginal fluid, semen, and pre-cum. Many people who contract trichomoniasis don’t realize they have it because they don’t experience any side effects or symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms?

Trichomoniasis can cause an infection in your urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body. If this happens to you, symptoms might include:

  • Smelly or discolored discharge.
  • Irritation.
  • Itching.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Painful urination.
  • Swelling around the genitals.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Vaginitis, which causes irritation of the vagina or vulva.

Trichomoniasis is commonly passed through vaginal sex, although it can be spread by sharing sex toys, as well as touching your genitals with infected fluids on your hands.

What Should I Do if I Have it?

Some of the symptoms of trichomoniasis are similar to those of other infections, so get tested regularly if you’re having unprotected sex. If you do have trichomoniasis, it’s easily treated with antibiotics. It’s important to get tested if you experience any of the symptoms of trichomoniasis, as you could continue to pass the infection to other sexual partners or experience worsening signs. Untreated trichomoniasis during pregnancy can also increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight in babies.

If you had unprotected sex while infected with trichomoniasis, both you and your sexual partner(s) should see a medical provider to receive treatment. Wait about a week after finishing your treatment to have sex again. Condoms can help prevent you from becoming reinfected with trichomoniasis, although you could still be exposed if you touch your genitals with infected fluids on your hands or share sex toys.

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