Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, have reached epidemic proportions in the United States – and indeed, around the world. According to research, “One in two sexually active persons will contract an STI by age 25,” with 20,000 new STDs reported annually in the United States alone. Statistics further indicate that around 24,000 women will become infertile due to infectious disease, and that “The total estimated direct cost of STIs annually in the U.S. [is] about $16 billion.” (1)

Unfortunately, only about 12 percent of young people – the demographic most likely to contract and pass on STDs – get tested every year. Many of them aren’t even aware of some of the STDs out there today, even despite increases in sexual education across the country.

One such sexually transmitted disease is trichomoniasis, which also goes by “trich” for short. This is a “one-celled protozoan organism called Trichomonas vaginalis. It travels from person to person through genital contact during sex.” (2)

The ease of its spread and the already widespread presence across the globe make trich an extremely easy disease to catch. Luckily, it’s also an easy disease to take care of – if you know what signs and symptoms to look for.

How Common Is Trichomoniasis?

“The prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis infection in the United States is estimated to be 2.3 million (3.1%) among women ages 14-49,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing numbers from the early 2000s. “Women with no history of sexual intercourse can still be affected by trichomoniasis (1.0%), as can pregnant women (3.2%), and women who have ever been pregnant (4.1%). African American women had a prevalence of 13.3%, white women prevalence of 1.3%, and Mexican American women prevalence of 1.8%.” (3)

Sadly, “a new survey conducted by ASHA in January-February 2013 shows that only one in five (22%) women are familiar with it.” This is made even more devastating by the fact that “women surveyed perceive trich as the least common STI, when in reality there are more total (new and existing) cases of trich in the U.S. (estimated 3.7 million) as there are syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea combined.” (4)

Suffice it to say, trich is common enough that everyone who is sexually active should be concerned about it. That’s especially true given the potential consequences of leaving the disease untreated over time.

Consequences of Untreated Trichomoniasis

Trich is no joke. Studies show that, among its other consequences, trich makes a range of adverse health more likely, including (5):

  • Long-term prostate inflammation and cancer in men
  • Urethritis in men, which can lead to infertility if left untreated
  • HIV transmission in women
  • AIDS in women (from HIV contraction)
  • Cervical cancer in women
  • Dangers to babies of women infected with trich, including impaired IQ, lower birth rate and more
  • Short-term health effects including lung illness and lesions

The best way to combat trich is to catch it early, and that starts with knowing the symptoms.

Trichomoniasis Symptoms in Men vs Women

First, the bad news: “Most women found to have trichomoniasis (85%) reported no symptoms,” reports the CDC. (6) Most men never notice symptoms either.

When they do, men and women share some symptoms of trichomoniasis, such as a frequent urge to urinate and a burning sensation while peeing, but that’s about it. The disease doesn’t come with the same globalized bodily effects that other STDs do, such as fevers or headaches, chills or other flu-like signs. Instead, the symptoms are relegated to the genital area and differ for men and women (7):

Trichomoniasis Symptoms in Men

  • Discharge from the urethra
  • Burning after ejaculation

Trichomoniasis Symptoms in Women

  • White, gray, yellow or green discharge
  • Unpleasant smell in the discharge
  • Burning and itching in the genital area
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Pain during intercourse

Because symptoms are limited, and because so many people never experience them at all, testing is crucial.

Why Get Tested?

Many people hear the words “STD testing” and want to run in the other direction. Although we know it’s not the right thing to do, it’s often easier to bury our heads in the sand rather than face the hard reality that we might have contracted an unpleasant and embarrassing disease. However, testing is critical, because it:

  • Helps you catch and treat diseases early
  • Makes it less likely you’ll pass on the disease to other partners
  • Reduces the risks associated with pregnancy and to newborn babies
  • Prevents you from passing on these risks to other men and women, with heartbreaking results
  • Makes sex more comfortable
  • Empowers you with the knowledge you need to take care of your health

Luckily, there is an easy treatment for trichomoniasis, explains the CDC: “Trichomoniasis can be cured with a single dose of prescription antibiotic medication (either metronidazole or tinidazole), pills which can be taken by mouth. It is okay for pregnant women to take this medication.” Do note that “Some people who drink alcohol within 24 hours after taking this kind of antibiotic can have uncomfortable side effects.” (8)

It is also important to note that trichomoniasis is not a one-and-done disease. In fact, adds the CDC, “About 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months after treatment.” To avoid this, let your partner(s) know that you have been treated for the disease and ask them to be treated as well. Again, it all starts with testing.

How to Test the Simple Way

If you’re among the vast majority of people who prefer not to think about STD testing, then it’s time for a better way. Forget making a doctor’s appointment, getting in the car, taking time off work, paying out of pocket for expensive visits or going through the insurance company. Now you can take control of your sexual health right in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

With iDNA’s new home test kit, you get the same cutting-edge technology that physicians use, all without having to go in for an embarrassing test. You can collect and mail in your sample from home, then sit back and wait for the results to come in. It’s easy, it’s reliable, it’s affordable – and you can do it as often as you want.

Ready to take the smart approach to your sexual health? Order your iDNA kit today.

References

(1) Statistics. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/statistics/

(2) Trichomoniasis. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/trichomonas-infection

(3) Trichomoniasis Statistics. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stats.htm

(4) Trichomoniasis. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/trichomoniasis/

(5) Trichomoniasis. (ND). Retrieved from https://www.wlu.edu/student-life/health-and-safety/student-health-and-counseling/health-library/stis/trichomoniasis

(6) Trichomoniasis Statistics. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stats.htm

(7) Trichomoniasis. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/trichomonas-infection

(8) Trichomoniasis Treatment and Care. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/treatment.htm