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Understanding Trichomoniasis -- the Basics

Trichomoniasis -- an infection from a parasite spread primarily through sexual intercourse -- is contagious but curable. An estimated 7.4 million new cases of this sexually transmitted disease occur each year in men and women. In most men, it doesn't cause symptoms, which makes it notoriously difficult to diagnose. However, women usually do have symptoms, which may include genital discomfort and vaginal discharge. A woman's symptoms may be more pronounced right after menstruation or during pregnancy. 

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, bladder, and various glands. In men, the infection may spread to the urethra and the prostate gland, seminal vesicles, and epididymis.

Recommended Related to Sexual Conditions

Understanding Chlamydia -- Symptoms

Often chlamydia will present no symptoms. When symptoms are present, common ones include: In men: A clear or whitish yellow discharge from the tip of the penis A frequent urge to urinate or a burning sensation while urinating Redness at the tip of the penis In women: Mild discomfort that you may mistake for menstrual cramps Vaginal discharge that may have a bad smell Bleeding between periods Painful periods Pain when having sex Itching or burning in or around t...

Read the Understanding Chlamydia -- Symptoms article > >

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 or vulva to vulva (the genital area outside the vagina).

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 03, 2013

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