[Question #1610] Nonsexual Transmission of Trich?

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85 months ago
I was having abnormal discharge and went in to see a doctor.  She treated me for a yeast infection and took a swab.  It was not a yeast infection and that treatment did not help the symptoms.  The results from testing the swab returned abnormal and she had me come back in to explain the results in person.  She said that I had Bacterial Vaginitis and that I tested positive for Trich.  I have been taking a lot of baths and soaking in various bath salts, so I can see how that might upset the balance and cause an infection.  She knew that I have been married for several years and that we are trying to have children.  When she was explaining the results she mentioned that Trich can be transmitted through public toliets or other nonsexual ways.  At the time I did not know that Trich was an STD/STI because I had never heard of it.    

As you can imagine, once I googled it I had a million more questions!  Mostly, how is this possible?  What does this mean? Etc.  

I called the CDC hotline and they said it was only possible to get sexually.  I then called Planned Parenthood and they told me it wasn't an STD, it was an infection.  My doctor did tell me it could be transmitted nonsexually, but I can't seem to find any credible sources online to back that up.  So I have narrowed my questions down to these top three for you to help me with.

1.  Is it possible for Trich to be transmitted nonsexually and if so is it likely?
2.  If we have been married for several years and neither of us have been unfaithful, is it possible one of us had it before the marriage and it is just now showing up?
3.  My doctor did not suggest my husband be treated, but shouldn't he go be tested and treated as well?

Thanks for your help.

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Edward W. Hook M.D.
85 months ago
 Welcome to our our forum. You asking important but difficult to answer question. The issue of how long women (or men) can carry trichomonas and then go on to develop symptoms is a topic of active research.   The recent development of improved test for diagnosing trichomoniasis have led to many questions such as yours.  It is clear that women can carry the infection for many years and develop symptoms for reasons that remain unclear.  While there are a few studies that suggest that non-sexual transmission may occur if it occurs it is very rare.   Clearly most trichomonas infections have been acquired sexually although how long before they are detected is highly variable.  Thus, you may have had you infection you a long time (even years)

1.  As I said above, most trich is sexually transmitted although non-sexual transmission may rarely occur.
2.  Yes, one of you may have been infected before you began your relationship began.
3.  Currently it is recommended that all partners of persons with trich be treated, irrespective of the presence or absence of symptoms,

I hope these comments are helpful.  EWH