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Since middle school, we have been warned about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and their dangers. We all know about HIV and herpes. We know to be tested for these diseases and to protect ourselves from them.

Yet, there is another STD that few people have ever heard about. Trichomoniasis is a parasite that can be transferred to both both men and women, although it is more commonly found in women who are older. It isn’t a long-term health concern for people, but it can cause itching, discomfort and odor, so it’s unpleasant and an STD that you want to avoid!

Trichomoniasis is typically passed along through sex, but it can also live outside of the body for more than 45 minutes. This means that it can be contracted through other means, such as sharing swimsuits or towels, too.

Trichomoniasis Symptoms

One reason why trichomoniasis is not more commonly known is that only 30 percent of people who carry the parasite experience symptoms.

In women, these symptoms include:

  • Vaginal itching
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Pain during sex

Men may experience the following symptoms:

  • Irritation in the penis or discomfort
  • Urethral discharge
  • Painful or swollen testicles

Trichomoniasis and STD Screenings

Sexual health lab tests do not regularly screen for trichomoniasis because there aren’t as many serious health issues that result from it. What this means is that we need to be even more careful to protect ourselves from trichomoniasis since even those who have received STD screenings in the past may carry the parasite and be unaware of it.

Fortunately, if you start to feel any of the trichomoniasis symptoms, there are urine tests for both men and women. The tests don’t require any preparation and will let you know if you caught the STD so that you can quickly cure it.

Dangers of Trichomoniasis

While easy to treat, there are dangers associated with the infection if it goes undetected. Pregnant women should be tested because trichomoniasis can lead to low birth weight, premature birth and passage of the parasite along to one’s baby. Additionally, because the vaginal area can become inflamed and irritated, it may become easier to contract HIV when you have trichomoniasis.

Trichomoniasis Treatment and Ongoing Protection

While the transfer of trichomoniasis is easy, the treatment is too. Your doctor may recommend a course of Metronidazole, which can help with the symptoms and has a cure rate of 84-98 percent. Make sure you don’t drink any alcohol while taking the medicine and avoid sex. Also, ask your partner to get tested too, so that you aren’t passing the bug back and forth.

There are also some general tips that will help you avoid the STD altogether, like:

  • Reducing the number of sexual partners you have to reduce your exposure to the parasite
  • Using a condom
  • Showering after using public pools
  • Showering before and after sex
  • Avoiding sharing towels or swimsuits

It can often take up to 28 days after exposure for you to begin experiencing symptoms of trichomoniasis, so you may not know that you caught it right away. If you begin to feel itchy or uncomfortable, the Trichomonas Vaginalis Urine Test for women or the Trichomonas Vaginalis Urine Test for men for men and a regimen of medicine may be all you need to experience relief and avoid passing the parasite along to your partner.