Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (or sexually-transmitted disease, STD) caused by a protozoan (a microscopic parasite), usually found in the vagina and urethral tissues. Although this condition is most often treated in women, trichomoniasis infection in men can also occur (and often has no symptoms).
Trichomoniasis is caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, a flagellated motile protozoan.
Approximately 174 million people worldwide are infected with this parasite each year, making it the most common curable sexually transmitted infection worldwide.
In the U.S., it is estimated that bout 3.7 million people have the infection.
Only about 30% of these people will have any symptoms.
The average size of a trichomonad is 15 mm (they are not visible with the naked eye).
Reproduction of the parasites occurs every 8 to 12 hours.
Trichomonas vaginalis was isolated in men in 14% to 60% of male partners of infected women and in 67%
to 100% of female partners of infected men. It is unclear why women are infected more often than men. One possibility is that prostatic fluid contains zinc and other substances that may be harmful to trichomonads.