Trichomoniasis, commonly known as trich, is a sexually-transmitted infection caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. While medical treatment is necessary, you can monitor changes at home with vaginal pH test strips. Here’s what you need to know.
Symptoms of Trich
Trichomoniasis doesn’t cause symptoms in about 80% of women and almost all men, so an infection can go unnoticed for months or years. However, symptoms of trichomoniasis can include:
Thick, thin, or frothy vaginal discharge that may be white, yellow, or green
Foul-smelling discharge, sometimes with a fishy odor
Pain during sex or urination
Itchy, swollen vulva
Trichomoniasis in pregnancy can lead to premature birth, early rupture of membranes, and low birth weights in babies.
How To Test Trichomoniasis
The best way to confirm you have trichomoniasis is with testing. You can monitor your health at home with simple tests and see your doctor to confirm.
At-home Test for Trich
Your vagina has a host of friendly bacteria that maintain a pH between 3.8 to 4.5, though it can vary by age. The acidity helps kill any organisms that shouldn’t be present. However, a trich infection changes your pH range upwards, to between 5.0 and 6.0.
If you suspect an infection, test for fluid irregularities at home with vaginal pH test strips. These strips don’t identify bacteria, viruses, or parasites but show whether your vaginal pH is within the normal range. If your test is abnormal, the next step is to see your doctor for further tests and treatment.
The most common clinical trichomoniasis test is wet mount microscopy, which can be done right in your doctor’s office. Your doctor will take a swab of your vagina or discharge and examine it under a microscope. It’s only about 40% to 60% sensitive, so they may order other lab or urine tests to confirm a diagnosis. They’ll often use pH tests, too.
How To Treat Trichomoniasis
Antibiotics are the best treatment. Your doctor will usually prescribe metronidazole or tinidazole antibiotics with antiparasitic action. You might notice your symptoms improve within a few days, but don’t stop taking your medication, or the infection can return.
People sometimes feel uncomfortable about sexually-transmitted infections and wonder how to cure trichomoniasis with over-the-counter or home remedies. However, there are no reliable OTC treatments or home remedies for trichomoniasis. While healthy nutrition and some vitamin supplements can help boost your immunity and resistance to infection, they don’t cure trich.
Sometimes the infection will go away on its own, but it’s easy to treat, so there is no need to suffer. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms along with abnormal vaginal pH test strips.
How To Prevent Trich
The best way to prevent trich is to avoid sex. If you’re sexually active, protection, treatment, and abstinence during treatment are essential and can prevent recurring infections.
Practice Safe Sex
Use condoms during penetrative penile sex or penetration with sex toys. Condoms protect against bacteria or parasite transfer from the penis to the vagina, from dirty toys, and from the vaginal fluid exchange between women. Wash sex toys with soap and water before and after use.
Additionally, condoms can help keep semen out of the vagina and protect your pH balance. Semen is naturally more alkaline, with a pH of 8.0, and can alter your pH during sex. These changes can make you vulnerable to infection.
Tell Your Partners and Get Re-Tested
Reinfection is very common with trich. To prevent spreading trich, avoid sex until you’ve finished your medication. It’s also important to tell your partners so they can receive treatment, too. Without treatment, you may continue to pass the infection back and forth. After three months, get re-tested to confirm you’re trichomoniasis-negative.
Maintain Healthy Vaginal Hygiene
Some self-care practices can help maintain a healthy vaginal pH and lower your risk for infection. One of the most common myths about trichomoniasis, and vaginal health in general, is that douching can help clear up discharge or prevent infections. This is false.
The vagina is self-cleaning, and no amount of douching can stop infection or eliminate the discharge. In fact, it does the opposite. Douching disrupts the natural balance of bacteria and pH and increases your risk for infections
Instead of douching, focus on regular bathing. Wash your vulva with clean water or an unscented soap, and avoid wipes, sprays, or perfumes. These practices will help maintain healthy flora and pH.
Trichomoniasis Test at Home With Vaginox
Trich is a common infection with easy, effective treatment. While you should avoid trichomoniasis treatment over the counter, you can monitor your vaginal pH level at home with Vaginox VpH test strips and get quick, reliable results.
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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology: “ The laboratory diagnosis of Trichomonas vaginalis.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “ Trichomoniasis: STI Treatment Guidelines, 2021.”
Diagnostics: “ Vaginal pH Value for Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Vaginitis.”
Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health: “ Vulvar Care.”
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: “ Can you test for STDs and treat them at home?”
Schumann, J., Plasner, S. StatPearls Publishing: “ Trichomoniasis.”
About the Author
Cheryl Whitten is a health writer with a background in allied health care as an herbalist and clinical aromatherapist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Athabasca University and certificates from the University of Maryland and Wild Rose College. She writes for leading health and lifestyle websites with a focus on health, wellness, and consumer products.
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