The Most Common STD You've Never Heard Of

The Most Common STD You've Never Heard Of

Guest Article - Dr. Angie Stoehr, MD FACOG

Catching an STD can seem like a huge deal. The good news is, most STDs are easily treated, and even curable. The problem is, you need to know you have it to get treated... and with this STD, only 30% of people have symptoms!  You can pass it on or catch it without even knowing. And if you’re the one with symptoms, it’s not super pleasant.

So, what is this bug? It’s called Trichomoniasis, or trich (“trick") for short. And it’s a type of parasite. Gross, right? Under a microscope, you can watch it wiggle.  It’s the second most common STD in the US, right after HPV and just before genital Herpes. There are about 2-3 million cases in the US every year. Without treatment, it can live in your genitals for YEARS! The testing involves either a vaginal/penile swab, or a urine specimen that your doctor will send to the lab.

If you’re the unlucky one with symptoms, here’s what to look for. Penis owners most often have itching or irritation in the penis. It can cause pain with ejaculation and burning with peeing. Worst case scenarios cause dripping discharge from the tip of the penis. In vagina owners, the symptoms are similar, with irritation and redness in the vagina and on the vulva, pain with voiding, and vaginal discharge. The discharge is classically thin yellow/greenish, lightly frothy, and smells like fish that’s just been microwaved.

Trich is most often passed from genitals to genitals. But these little parasites can live on sexual toys long enough to get passed on even without skin-to-skin contact. To avoid catching trich, be sure to use condoms, which provide great protection, and wash any commonly used sexual toys between users. It can’t live in the mouth or the anus, so oral and anal sex are ok.

Treatment is quick, just one dose of 2-4 tablets of a medication called flagyl. Don’t drink alcohol around taking the medication because it’ll cause severe nausea/vomiting. Once treated, either abstain from sex, or use condoms consistently for a few weeks.


About Dr. Stoehr:

Nurture Women's Health

Dr. Stoehr is a Gynecologist specializing in pelvic and sexual pain and sexual dysfunction. She has additional interests in narcotic free surgery and the intersection of medicine and alternative sexual lifestyles. She is passionate about making sure that people in the LS and all alternative sexual lifestyles are able to obtain the highest levels of healthcare without fear of prejudice or bias. This had led her to public speaking engagements in both medical arenas and the public to educate about the LS and how to approach medical care within this unique setting.

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