Can you get trichomoniasis without being sexually active?

Trich is an infection that can be spread through intercourse and genital contact.
Trich is an infection that can be spread through intercourse and genital contact.

Trichomoniasis is passed from an infected person to another primarily during sexual activity. In very rare cases, it can be transferred from an infected mother to her unborn child.

  • Any sexual activity during vaginal, oral or anal sex can cause the infection to spread.
  • Even if your partner has no symptoms, they can spread the infection.
  • Sometimes, even if a man does not ejaculate the infection can still spread to the woman through genital contact.
  • Trich can also be passed between women who have sex with women.
  • Infected sex toys can also transmit the infection.

This parasitic infection does not spread through casual contact, so you can’t get it from sharing food or drinks, kissing, hugging and holding hands. Toilet seats also do not provide the ideal environment for the parasite to grow and infect a person.

If women who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) get trich, they have a high risk of more complications. It can be controlled with proper treatment. Successful treatment of a trich infection may reduce HIV transmission by mucosal routes.

Trich mostly infects women who are sexually active or those who are between the ages of  35 to 40 years old. Other predisposing factors may include sex trading, smoking, multiple sexual partners and low socioeconomic status. 

How do you avoid getting trichomoniasis?

The best way to prevent a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is to not have vaginal, oral or anal sex. If this is not possible, other means to decrease the risk of transmission include

  • Using condoms correctly every time during sex to help to reduce the risk of trich or any other STIs.
  • Being monogamous or limiting sexual activity with unknown partners can prevent the spread of the infection.
  • Getting yourself tested if you have any symptoms or doubt will be helpful.
  • Male circumcision can prevent trich transmission in men.
  • Women should avoid douching, which may remove the normal bacterial layer in the vagina that protects them from infection.

How does a doctor treat trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is easily curable with antibiotics, such as metronidazole or tinidazole. These antibiotics usually come in a pill form that you can swallow in a single dose.

During antibiotic treatment 

  • Take all the medicine prescribed even if your symptoms go away. You need to finish all the antibiotics to avoid antimicrobial resistance.
  • Sexual partners must also be treated.
  • Only initiate sexual activity at least seven days after completing the course of antibiotics.

What are the complications of untreated trichomoniasis?

Untreated trich can cause genital inflammation that makes it easier to become infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Women with trichomoniasis have a high risk of

Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are at a high risk of 

  • Premature delivery with babies born before 37 weeks of gestation. 
  • Low birth weight babies (less than 5 1/2 pounds). 

Your gynecologist may prescribe metronidazole antibiotic to treat a trichomoniasis infection during any stage of pregnancy. Talk to your gynecologist about the benefits and risks of taking any medicine during pregnancy.

Men with untreated trichomoniasis may have a high risk of

  • Swelling and irritation of the tubes within the testicles.
  • Swelling of the prostate.
  • Impotency.
  • Prostate cancer.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/24/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

WHO


CDC


American Sexual Health Association


WomensHealth.gov



American Society for Microbiology


NHS


KidsHealth.org


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