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Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on July 15, 2021. To provide you with technically correct, evidence-based information, the content published on the blog is reviewed by licensed professionals experienced in the medical and life science fields.
How Long Can Someone Have Trichomoniasis Without Knowing
Trichomoniasis (or “trich”) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the country. While it can affect all genders, the symptoms of trichitis can be more prominent in women. The infection affects millions of people every year, and many people don’t even realize they have it. Part of this comes from symptoms and a sense of being “asleep” with the disease. Read more about trichomoniasis in women below and why testing for this STD is so important.
How Can You Get Trichomoniasis If No One Cheats
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite, specifically a unicellular protozoa. This parasite easily travels through sexual fluids, including pre-cum, semen, and vaginal fluids. It usually infects the vulva, vagina, urethra, and penis, but usually does not affect the mouth, anus, or other parts of the body.
Trichomoniasis is usually spread during vaginal intercourse. However, it can also be spread by sharing sex toys, vulva-to-vulva contact, or touching your partner’s genitals with your hands or fingers after touching infected fluids. It cannot otherwise be spread through casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sharing food or holding hands. Despite the myths you’ve heard, you can’t get it by sitting on a toilet seat.
To learn more about the spread of this infection, read our blog article that answers the question “Can you get trichomoniasis without being sexually active?”
While trichomoniasis can infect anyone regardless of gender, symptoms are more common in women. Most importantly, the infection causes vaginitis, which can lead to:
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Many people believe that trichomoniasis has a certain level of “dormancy” or latency, similar to female syphilis symptoms, female hepatitis C symptoms, genital herpes, or other infections, and continues to engage in sexual activity. In reality, in most cases, trichomoniasis simply has no signs or symptoms. About 7 in 10 people with trichomoniasis have no symptoms. Even when symptoms do appear, those symptoms can be so mild that they go undetected or are easily mistaken for other common conditions. For example, the symptoms of trichomoniasis in women are very similar to the underlying yeast infection or urinary tract infection.
Of course, the sexually transmitted disease can be very painful and irritating for some people. If left untreated, trichomoniasis can seemingly stay in your system for years. Symptoms may come and go, but you may think you are susceptible to yeast infections.
Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have a trichomoniasis infection. If you notice symptoms such as discharge or painful urination, you should always see your nurse or doctor for an STD screening, which may include a trichomoniasis test. You should also get tested if you’ve had unprotected sex with someone who may have trichomoniasis. Due to the general lack of symptoms, it may be beneficial to get tested annually for trichomoniasis and other sexually transmitted diseases if you are sexually active.
There is no real downtime with trichomoniasis. If you have it, you have it. Your symptoms may be too mild to notice. Most importantly, you can distribute it to your sexual partner(s). Find a local clinic to get tested or consider the STD test for women, which tests for trichomoniasis and six other common sexually transmitted infections. Trichomoniasis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the world. It is sometimes just called “trich”. Although it can cause very uncomfortable symptoms, up to 70% of people with trichomoniasis are believed to have no symptoms. (1) In fact, most people with trichomoniasis don’t even know they’re infected. The infection is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis when it affects humans, although several strains also affect cows, pigeons and other animals.
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Fortunately, trichomoniasis is curable. And while trichomoniasis is a lesser-known STI than other sexually transmitted diseases, it can still be very serious. If left untreated, it can lead to changes in the cervix in women. This can increase the risk of preterm birth in pregnant women, as well as the risk of low birth weight for their babies. (2) Some studies also suggest that trichomoniasis is linked to the risk of cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease and the risk of infertility. (3) It may also make it easier to get or pass on HIV to a partner. (4)
If you are sexually active or think you have an STD, including trichomoniasis, you and your partner should be tested, even if he or she has no symptoms.
Trichomoniasis is indeed an STD. And luckily for those who are infected, trichomoniasis is curable. According to the CDC, about 3.7 million people in the U.S. have trichomoniasis, making it the most common curable STD in the country. (5) It is also considered the most common non-viral STD in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 276 million cases of trichomoniasis worldwide each year and that 187 million people have an STD at some point. (6)
This infection is spread through sexual contact, either between a man and a woman or between two women. In women, trichomoniasis usually infects the vulva, vagina, or urethra. Trichomoniasis in men is usually found in the penis (in the urethra). It does not affect other parts of the body because the parasite cannot survive in places such as the mouth and anus. (7) Trichomoniasis is very unlikely to pass between two men.
Trichomoniasis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis And Treatments
In some cases, your body can fight trichomoniasis without treatment within weeks or months. But in most cases, a complete cure for trichomoniasis requires medical treatment. And since you can have trichomoniasis without having any symptoms, it’s best to get tested again after treatment to make sure the infection is gone.
Symptoms of trichomoniasis appear 5 to 28 days after infection. (8) It’s not known why some people experience symptoms of trichomoniasis and others don’t, but when they do, they can range from mild to severe. Symptoms may come and go or be fairly constant.
Trichomoniasis in women can cause symptoms that can easily be mistaken for a yeast or chlamydia infection. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis from a clinic or healthcare provider is highly recommended before attempting to treat your symptoms.
Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you should seek treatment for trichomoniasis if you or your partner has been diagnosed.
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Anyone who is sexually active can get trichomoniasis, but you’re most at risk if you’re a woman between the ages of 16 and 35. (9) African-American women in the United States are nearly 10 times more likely to contract the infection than white women. or Mexican American. (10) Trichomoniasis also affects men, but symptoms of trichomoniasis in men are less common.
Consider getting tested if you have any of these risk factors for trichomoniasis, and encourage your partner or partners to do the same.
Trichomoniasis causes many unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms or complications if left untreated. In most cases, it can be cured with a single dose of antibiotics that fight the parasite.
Antibiotic pills metronidazole or tinidazole are usually prescribed to treat trichomoniasis. Some people may be infected with trichomoniasis that becomes resistant to antibiotics or may be allergic to one of the antibiotics. (11). In these cases, alternative medications or a combination of therapies may be prescribed.
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However, since these two drugs are the only conventional therapies for trichomoniasis, sexual health advocates are pushing for the development of natural therapies and new pharmaceutical options.
Both metronidazole and tinidazole antibiotics are given as a single dose. A pill by mouth is in most cases all that is needed to cure trichomoniasis. However, the medicine will take some time to work and it is recommended that you avoid sexual contact for about 7 days after taking the pill, or at least until your symptoms are completely gone. If you are being treated for trichomoniasis, your partner should also be treated so that you do not become infected again.
Pay attention to any discomfort or symptoms of trichomoniasis you may have in the coming months, as one in five people treated for trichomoniasis will become infected again within the next three months. There is no limit to the number of times you can become infected, so it is important to practice safe sex and follow the treatment tips above.
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