One of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) you can catch is trichomoniasis. The parasite known as trichomoniasis is passed from one person to the next during sexual relations. Trichomoniasis may cause symptoms within 5-28 days after exposure.
Damp Fabric and Trichomoniasis
One feature that distinguishes this infection from other STD's is the fact that the parasite that causes trichomoniasis can live on damp fabric for around an hour. That means that if you use an infected person's washcloth or towel, or share a wet bathing suit, you can catch trich in this manner. The upside is that the condition is curable.
So how does a girl figure out that she has trich? In most cases, trichomoniasis causes vaginitis, a type of inflammation that affects the vagina. If you have trich, you may see vaginal discharge that is yellow-green, gray, or foamy. Sometimes the discharge has a bad smell. Often, the vagina has a fierce itch. Lots of times, a girl with trich will have painful urination. Your abdomen may ache, and you may find sexual relations painful.
Temporary Symptoms of Trich
But while the symptoms are undeniable in girls and women, trich may not cause any noticeable symptoms in guys. There may be a slight irritation in the penis, which tends to go away on its own. There may be some burning during urination. The symptoms tend to be so mild or temporary, that a boy or man may not bother to see a doctor.
Trichomoniasis isn't dangerous in and of itself, but it can be quite uncomfortable. Also, it can make a person more vulnerable to catching other STD's. When pregnant women get trich, their babies are at risk for being too small, or for being born too early.
If you suspect you or your partner may have trichomoniasis, you should see your regular doctor or your gynecologist. He'll take a look and swab your vagina or penis so that the laboratory can see your secretions under a microscope to identify the infection. Once your physician diagnoses you with trich, he will test you for other STD's such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, because a lot of people get these STD's at the same time.
Avoid Sex When You Have Trich
Antibiotics are the treatment for trichomoniasis and sexual partners should have treatment at the same time. If you're being treated, you should avoid having sex until your treatment is finished and you've stopped having symptoms.
While the only surefire way to avoid getting trichomoniasis is not to have sex or share wet clothing and towels, using condoms goes a long way toward keeping you safe from trich and other types of STD's.