One of the most common STDs, and easy to cure, trich is caused by a parasite. The recent studies show 7.4 million new cases in men and women every year, but since the symptoms are usually mild in men, they may not be aware they have it until their partner gets infected.
What are the symptoms?
No one is really sure why some people show symptoms- the best guess right now is a combination of general health and resistance to parasites.
For men, the symptoms include
- burning or irritation inside the penis
- a mild discharge
- burning or irritation both after peeing or ejaculation
For women, especially older ones, the symptoms include
- a greenish-yellow frothy discharge (like beer foam) that smells bad
- pain while peeing or having sex
- vaginal itching
Sometimes, women will get pain in the areas where the reproductive organs are, but this is rare.
These symptoms will show up anyplace from a week to a month after you are infected. They may come and go and will go away after treatment.
You can get the parasite again- almost a third of the people who get trichomoniasis get it again, even if their partner has been treated.
Diagnosis and treatments
You must get both a physical exam and a lab test to check for the parasite. It is more difficult to tell if men have been infected, so both partners should be treated if one shows symptoms. The test is usually not painful, being a visual check and a collection of the discharges.
The parasite rarely takes hold in any other part of the body, so this is limited to the genital region.
The treatment is normally a single-dose of antibiotic or a series of them. Wait a week after treatment to make sure that the parasite is out of your system, and be re-tested after three months to make very sure that it is gone.
Some people who drink alcohol within a day of getting treated have reported side effects from the treatment. This may, although unlikely, contribute to a lower chance of the parasite being removed with one treatment.
Trich can be spread between any type of sex partner, and the symptoms may come and go, making you think that a treatment has been effective when it isn't.
What if I don't get treated?
The parasite is in the body, and the symptoms may worsen over time. Those who were not showing symptoms may see an increase in tenderness and can infect others even if you have no signs of the disease.
Pregnant women can take the antibiotic while pregnant. The risk to the baby is great: possibly with a low-weight baby that will require hospitalization for premature birth.
Since this disease causes irritation, there is a greater likelihood of getting another STD that you were able to avoid before. The risk of this increases over time, and even without symptoms, can be a factor in catching another disease.