Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Sexual Conditions Health Center

Font Size

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

Recommended Related to Sexual Conditions

Get the STD Picture

Check out the first two words of "sexually transmitted diseases." If you're having sex, you may be at risk. Do you know as much as you think you do about STDs? It's easy to find out. Read through the list of symptoms below, then name that STD.

Read the Get the STD Picture 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 Trina Pagano, MD on April 10, 2014

Today on WebMD

Sex Drive Killers 03
Slideshow
couple holding hands
Quiz
 
Couple in bed
Article
Condom Quiz
Quiz
 

HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
STD Overview
Slideshow
 
Man tearing a condom packet
Quiz
things your guy wish you knew slideshow
Slideshow
 

Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Quiz
Girls Puberty 10
Quiz
 
Couple in bed
Article
Young couple holding hands
Quiz
 

WebMD Special Sections