An infection caused by the protozoan (single-celled microorganism) Trichomonas
vaginalis. Trichomoniasis is one of the common causes of vaginitis
(inflammation of the vagina) in women. The
infection is usually sexually transmitted. Trichomoniasis is less common
in men, in whom it affects the urethra.
|Magnified image of cells from the cervix shows the
presence of Trichomonas vaginalis, the protozoan responsible
Causes of trichomoniasis
In women, the causative organism may inhabit the vagina for many years without
causing symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, they include painful inflammation
of the vagina and and vulva, a nd greenish,
frothy, offensive-smelling discharge. Sexual intercourse may be painful.
Men usually have no symptoms, but some may have discomfort on passing urine.
Diagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis is made from examination of a sample of the discharge. However,
diagnosis is usually difficult to confirm in men.