You’ve likely heard of most of the STDs on the market. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, yada yada it’s all old news. Right? Except for trich. Trich is the infection I often get the “Wait… what is that? Why have I never heard of it?” response to. I wish I knew why it wasn’t more well known in the wonderful world of sexually transmitted infections. Weirdly enough, it just isn’t. But lucky for you, this is where I step in to explain.

Trich is short for Trichomonas. It is a sexually transmitted infection meaning that you only get it from bodily fluids (read: you can’t get this on a toilet seat). It can occasionally be asymptomatic (scary…right?) but it does usually present with a few symptoms. These are:

  • Internal and external itching
  • Pain with sex and pain with urination
  • Change in discharge: often will have a “fishy” odor or become green or yellow in appearance

Now again, as with most things female-related, these symptoms could be a whole host of problems. That’s why you leave it up to us, the providers, to diagnose you. I know you’re reading this and probably thinking omg I have an STD (it’s way too easy to do that, I think we all convince ourselves we’re pregnant or dying a few times a year…or more?). If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms go see your provider before you lose your cool. I can’t stress that enough.

Now how do we test for this infection? Your provider will likely do a vaginal swab and perform what we call a ‘wet mount’. We examine discharge under a microscope– and believe it or not, this gives us a great wealth of information. Sometimes we can see trich under the microscope, going about its tiny little life oblivious to the fact that it’s about to meet it’s end (muhaha). We may also send off a culture in order to get diagnostic results back confirming the presence of this infection. We can also check for the presence of trich when we screen for chlamydia and gonorrorhea; just be sure and ask your provider at your annual exam that you’d like to be screened for STIs. I personally recommend that everyone who has a new or recent (within the past year) sexual partner get screened yearly.

Treatment? Pretty easy. We’ll give you an antibiotic and it should clear it up. Your partner will need to get treated, too. Neither of you should have intercourse until a full 7 days has passed since you have both taken the correct antibiotic. Unless you want to get reinfected for the fun of it.

This is why condoms are useful, folks!!

I’m linking the CDC page for more information on this infection. Avoid the rabbit hole of google and stick with websites that will give you scientifically proven facts, not opinions. The CDC is one of the good ones.