Trich is No Treat

Jack o lantern scary Antonio Gabola on Unsplash

Some STIs get all the press, but one that many people haven’t heard of is trichomoniasis. It’s a parasitic infection that we can get through unprotected intercourse, or from vulva to vulva contact. Symptoms commonly include a frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong odor.  You may also be peeing all the time or have pelvic cramping.  Sometimes, trich won’t give you symptoms at all, but your gyno can see that you may have it on exam.

There are two kinds of tests for trich. Sometimes, your doc can test you right in the office. Under a microscope, trich looks like a balloon on a string that wiggles when you watch it. Other times they’ll send a vaginal swab to a lab for testing.  These two tests are the only definitive way to make the diagnosis.  Your gyno can’t be sure over the phone, even if your symptom description is vivid (“well, the discharge is like a fluorescent yellowish green color…wait, maybe it’s more like Crayola’s Electric Lime shade!”).

When you have a check-up at the doc’s office, and you’re getting STI testing, ask to be tested for trich. Not all clinicians will test for this unless you ask. Sometimes, a Pap test comes back positive. But since a Pap is unreliable for diagnosing trich infection, you’ll need a specific test to be sure.

treatment for trich

Here’s the good news: trich is easily cured.  Your doc will generally prescribe metronidazole, or Flagyl, 2000mg taken as a single dose. Partners with a penis may not have any symptoms—but if you’ve been diagnosed with trich, it’s pretty likely that any of your partners are infected as well.  So it’s essential that your partners get treated as well—and no nooky until you’ve all been pronounced cured by your doctors.