Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease. It can affect any sexually active person although it is more common in women aged 16 to 35 years. Additionally, trichomoniasis is 10 times more common in African American women than it is in Mexican and white Americans 1.
Trichomoniasis is caused by a protozoan called trichomonas vaginalis. The infection is transmitted through unprotected vaginal sex with either a male or female partner. It may also be transmitted by sharing of sex toys or by touching an infected person’s genitals and then touching a healthy person’s genitals. In most cases, trichomoniasis affects the vulva, vagina, urethra or cervix in women; and the urethra in men. The infection has an incubation period of 5 to 28 days within which symptoms appear. However, for unknown reasons, about 70% of people with the infection do not get trichomoniasis symptoms 2.
Trichomoniasis Symptom #1: Vaginal Discharge
While it is normal to have a clear or milky white vaginal discharge, if you notice a change in color or consistency, this could be a symptom of trichomoniasis. The normal discharge is meant to naturally clean a woman’s reproductive tract. However, in the event that there is an infection in any part along this tract, white blood cells would be working on overdrive as they fight the infection.
The whitish, grayish or greenish discharge contains the destroyed parasites and dead cells. The state of the discharge may vary depending on the status of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Infection is almost certain if the discharge is accompanied by another symptom like painful intercourse, painful urination or itching.