Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is among the most critical sexually transmitted infections due to its
Trichomoniasis, or “trich,” is a relatively common STD that causes painful urination. Unsurprisingly, this means people have connected it to a similar-sounding problem: UTIs.
UTIs are well known for their frustrating and distressing symptoms: painful, frequent urination, abdominal pain, strong-smelling urine—the list goes on. With how similar these symptoms can be to trich, you might wonder, “Can you get trichomoniasis from a UTI?”
It can be a discouraging thought; you’ve been careful to practice safe sex, but there might be a risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease anyway. But it’s important to remember that these are rumors, not facts—and at Rapid STD Testing, we’re here to clear up any misconceptions.
Understanding UTI and Trichomoniasis
Before explaining the connection between the two, it’s important to understand what UTIs and trich are. Both can affect the urinary tract and share some symptoms, but they are different.
What Is a UTI?
A UTI is an infection of the urinary tract caused by bacteria. These infections can affect everything from your kidneys to your bladder.
While not all UTIs will have symptoms, some of the most common to occur include:
- Frequent urination (or feeling like you have to urinate frequently).
- Pain while urinating.
- Discolored urine.
- Persistent pain in your abdomen.
- Urine that has a strong, unusual smell.
UTIs tend to be more common in women but can happen to anyone. Causes of UTIs include using catheters, blockages like kidney stones, and even sexual activity that results in bacteria near or in the urinary tract.
What Is Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis—better known as trich—is a relatively common STD that can mimic some of the symptoms of a UTI. While male and female trichomoniasis symptoms are different, they can still be frustrating to deal with.
Female trichomoniasis symptoms include:
- Discolored or foul-smelling discharge
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent or painful urination
- Painful periods
- Vaginal itching, swelling, or pain
Male trichomoniasis symptoms include:
- Frequent or painful urination
- Unusual penis discharge
- Swelling or pain around the penis
Symptoms of trichomoniasis will generally show up between five and 28 days after the infection. That said, many infected people may not have symptoms at all.
Can a UTI Lead to Trichomoniasis?
Most people will do whatever they can to reduce the chance of contracting an STD. They practice safe sex, get tested, and are in a monogamous relationship. The idea that someone could do all of that and still contract an STD can be frustrating.
Here’s a common myth: Many people think UTIs have a connection to trich because of how similar their symptoms are. Both can cause painful urination, abdominal pain, and more. It can be easy to think that the two may be connected.
Thankfully, this isn’t the case at all.
UTIs and trich have a lot in common, from symptoms to areas infected. What they don’t have in common is how they spread.
UTIs are caused primarily by bacteria—typically e. Coli. If bacteria get into the urinary tract, then it can grow and cause all sorts of symptoms.
Trich, unlike a UTI, isn’t caused by bacteria. Instead, it’s caused by a parasite that gets into the reproductive system. This parasite is what ultimately causes all of the symptoms that you’ll experience.
So can you get trichomoniasis from a UTI? Thankfully no; the origins of the two are different, so it’s impossible for a UTI to lead to trich.
But while a UTI may not cause trich, that isn’t the only way that trich can spread. Many people may still be wondering, “Can you get trichomoniasis without having sex?” The short answer is “yes”—though it’s not a common occurrence.
How Trichomoniasis Spreads
Most people contract trich through unprotected sexual contact. The parasite that causes trichomoniasis comes from male or female sexual fluids like semen, pre-ejaculate, and vaginal fluid. During unprotected intercourse, an infected person can spread it to their partner.
Trichomoniasis occurs in both men and women. However, it is usually transferred either between a male and female partner or between two women. The most common ways trich spread is by sharing sex toys, vulva-to-vulva contact, oral sex, and other types of sexual contact.
While sex is the primary method of transfer, it isn’t the only method. Can a woman get trichomoniasis on her own? The answer is yes. The parasite thrives in warm, damp environments and can potentially spread through:
- Toilet seats
- Damp towels
- Public pools
This can sound incredibly alarming—but it is relatively rare to contract trich through these non-sexual ways. In addition, hugging, shaking hands, and other types of contact generally won’t lead to an infection.
Testing for Trichomoniasis
While you may no longer be wondering, “can you get trichomoniasis from a UTI,” that doesn’t mean you’re entirely in the clear. Both can still cause very real problems. If you suspect that you have a UTI or trichomoniasis, then it’s important to get tested and begin treatment.
UTIs are generally detected through a urine test. These tests will look for blood and bacteria in the urine to determine if there’s an issue. Doctors typically prescribe an antibiotic to clear up urinary tract infections.
UTIs can mimic the symptoms of other problems—yeast infections, for example. Proper testing can help you determine the difference between a UTI vs. a yeast infection.
Your doctor will likely diagnose trich by examining your genitals and performing a test to determine if you have the parasite. This test may include collecting vaginal fluid, doing a urine test, and more. A 10-panel STD test may be beneficial to help detect any potential issues, including trich and other STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
At Rapid STD Testing, we offer same-day STD testing to help put your mind at ease.
If your test comes back positive for the parasite, then your doctor will prescribe medication to get rid of it.
Can UTI antibiotics treat trichomoniasis? Not always. Doctors usually prescribe different antibiotics for UTI and trich, so it’s important to know what you have to ensure your treatment is successful.
Is It an STD or UTI?
Most people want to know if they have a UTI or trich before going to the doctor. The unfortunate reality, though, is that it’s nearly impossible to tell if you have a UTI or trich without testing.
There are a couple of signs that mean your symptoms are more likely due to an STD like trich rather than a UTI:
- Painful intercourse
- Painful genitals
- Bleeding between periods
Even if you’re relatively sure you know which you have, it’s best to get testing for both, anyway. Because the symptoms of UTI and trich are so similar, one could mask the other—and not getting the proper treatment could affect your health and cause problems down the line.
Prevention of Trichomoniasis and UTIs
Both trich and UTIs can cause serious issues. They can be embarrassing and painful to deal with. While treatable, most people would prefer to avoid the problem altogether.
Thankfully, preventing both trich and UTIs can be relatively easy.
Trich is simple to avoid: if you never have sex, you probably won’t ever get trich. But for those who don’t want to abstain, you can take a couple of steps to lower the risk of infection:
- Practice safe sex. Make sure to use condoms and discuss your STD status before having intercourse with a partner. This can help lessen the chance of passing the parasite from one person to another.
- Get tested. If you’re sexually active, then both you and any partners should get testing and treatment. Knowing whether or not you have the parasite is half the battle in preventing it from spreading further.
- Practice monogamy. Having multiple sexual partners can make it more likely you’ll spread the infection. Practicing monogamy can help you avoid this issue.
Urinary tract infections can happen even if you try your hardest to avoid them. There are, however, a few ways to lessen the risk:
- Make sure that you drink plenty of water and urinate frequently.
- Clean catheters before using them, wipe back to front after using the restroom, and otherwise avoid actions that might cause an infection.
- Add cranberry juice to your diet.
Trich Can Be Uncomfortable, but STD Testing Doesn’t Have to Be
Can you get trichomoniasis from a UTI? No, but the two can both cause unpleasant symptoms. If you’re concerned, then it’s important to schedule testing for both quickly.
At Rapid STD Testing, we can help you find out if you have trich and give you peace of mind. Our rapid STD test can help you discover if you have an STD with fast, confidential, accurate results. If your test comes back positive, we can prescribe medication to clear up the infection and get you back to normal life.
Don’t wait; reach out to us today to learn more about our testing options.