Trichomoniasis, also known as “trich” (pronounced like “trick”), is a very common sexually transmitted disease (STD). It’s caused by a single-celled parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in 2018, there were about two million trichomoniasis infections.
How can you know whether you have trichomoniasis? What is a trichomoniasis test like? Can you get an at home trichomoniasis test?
How do you know if you need trich testing?
In women, trichomoniasis can cause symptoms such as vaginal discharge, itching of the vagina, and burning with urination. In men, trichomoniasis symptoms may include burning with urination, discharge from the end of the penis, and itching inside the penis.
According to CDC data, only about 30% of people who are infected with trichomoniasis show any symptoms. It’s very common to have an asymptomatic trichomoniasis infection. However, even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still pass the infection on to your sexual partners. In addition, having trich makes it more likely that you’ll get other STDs (such as HIV), because the inflammation induced by the parasite reduces your body’s ability to defend against other types of infections.
What is a trichomoniasis test like?
The test for trichomoniasis is not painful. Unlike other tests, such as an at home sodium test or a test for HIV, this test doesn’t require a blood sample. For women, a vaginal swab test is the most common, or a urine sample may be used. For men, a urine sample is the most comfortable way to test for trich, although a swab of the inside of the penis can also be used.
The symptoms of trichomoniasis can be difficult to distinguish from those of other common STDs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and bacterial vaginosis (BV). If you have symptoms that may indicate trichomoniasis, then it’s a good idea to test for these other infections as well.
Where to get tested for trichomoniasis
There are a few different options for how to test for Trichomonas. One is to visit your regular doctor or an STD clinic, who will check your symptoms and collect samples for testing. Sometimes, the doctor is able to see the Trichomonas parasite in your sample under the microscope in their office. In other cases, the samples will be sent to a laboratory for analysis.
For sensitive subjects like STD testing, some people prefer more privacy. They may not want family members to find out that they’ve had STD testing. Going to your doctor or to an STD clinic and using insurance may reveal the fact that you’ve been tested to family members who share the same insurance policy. In addition, many people would prefer to avoid the hassle of a clinic visit.
In these cases, a trichomoniasis at home test is an option. You order a trichomoniasis testing kit online, and it’s sent to your door in discreet packaging that doesn’t reveal what’s inside. Often, your kit will also allow you to test for multiple other STDs using the same sample. You simply take your samples at home and mail them back to the laboratory. You’ll get your results online a few days later. If you test positive for trichomoniasis or any other STD, then many home testing services will offer you the chance to consult with a medical professional via telemedicine. If prescription treatment is needed, you may even be able to get the medications mailed to your home as well, sometimes at no extra cost.
Diagnosis – Trichomoniasis. National Health Service. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/trichomoniasis/diagnosis/. Accessed 23 August 2022.
Trichomoniasis – CDC Basic Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm. Accessed 23 August 2022.
Trichomoniasis. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/trichomoniasis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20378613. Accessed 23 August 2022.