Trichomoniasis -- an infection from a parasite spread primarily through sexual intercourse -- is contagious but curable. Currently, there are an estimated 3.7 million cases of this sexually transmitted disease in men and women in the United States. In the majority of men, it doesn't cause symptoms, which makes it notoriously difficult to diagnose. However, women usually have symptoms more frequently, which may include genital discomfort and vaginal discharge. A woman's symptoms may be more pronounced right after menstruation or during
Left untreated, the parasite may infect tissues throughout the urinary tract and reproductive system. In women, vulnerable sites for infection include the vagina, urethra, cervix, and bladder. In men, the infection may spread to the urethra and the prostate gland, seminal vesicles, and epididymis.
The symptoms of sexual problems in men include:
Lack of sexual desire, sexual fantasies, or interest in sexual contact
Inability to have or maintain any erection
Inability to have or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual functioning
Inability to reach an orgasm despite adequate sexual stimulation and signs of arousal
Ability to achieve orgasm only after an unusually lengthy period of stimulation
Ability to achieve orgasm only during masturbation or during oral sex
Genital inflammation caused by trichomoniasis can increase a woman's risk of getting HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which can lead to AIDS. If a woman is already infected with HIV, there may also be an increased risk of infecting her sex partner with HIV.
What Causes Trichomoniasis?
The culprit behind trichomoniasis is a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, which usually is transmitted sexually. Transmission is through penis to vagina, vagina to penis, or vulva to vulva (the genital area outside the vagina).