Where does T vaginalis reside in the human body?

Updated: Jan 02, 2020
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

In women, T vaginalis is isolated from the vagina, cervix, urethra, bladder, and Bartholin and Skene glands. In men, the organism is found in the anterior urethra, external genitalia, prostate, epididymis, and semen (see the image below). It resides both in the lumen and on the mucosal surfaces of the urogenital tract and uses flagella to move around vaginal and urethral tissues. [16] T vaginalis has also been isolated from the rectum and detected via molecular techniques in the respiratory tract, although these are not common areas of infection. [10, 17, 9] In cases of vertical transmission, T vaginalis may infect the respiratory systems of infants; however, little is known about this condition. [18, 19]

Life cycle of Trichomonas vaginalis. T vaginalis t Life cycle of Trichomonas vaginalis. T vaginalis trophozoite resides in female lower genital tract and in male urethra and prostate (1), where it replicates by binary fission (2). The parasite does not appear to have a cyst form and does not survive well in the external environment. T vaginalis is transmitted among humans, the only known host, primarily via sexual intercourse (3). Image courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trichomoniasis life cycle. Trichomoniasis life cycle.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!