Tuberculosis mainly affects the lungs. At the same time, it can also affect any part of the body. The route of the spread of infection is mainly blood. The infection spreads to parts of the body like bones, urinary tract, genital tract etc. If it reaches the genital tract it leads to severe complications like infertility.
Genital Tuberculosis and Infertility
Genital tuberculosis is mostly a silent disease. It can be present for up to 20 years without producing any symptoms – the woman remains in apparent good health. It is mostly diagnosed when females get evaluated for infertility.
Almost 40% of women suffering from infertility give the history of pelvic tuberculosis at some point in their past. Almost 10 % of infertile women are found to have active tuberculosis.
Genital TB can be Suspected if you have:
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Vaginal discharge which is heavy, continuous and stained with blood
- Bleeding from the vagina after sex
- Severe Pain while having sex
- Not able to conceive (infertility)
Sometimes, there can be no symptoms so it is difficult to diagnose genital tuberculosis. With the help of some tests, the diagnosis can be confirmed.
TB and Fertility:
Fallopian tubes are the most common organs affected if a patient has genital TB associated infertility. The tubes get inflamed. It is known as tuberculous salpingitis. It occurs in almost 75% of the cases. Uterine tuberculosis is responsible for fertility in almost 30% of the cases.
If the TB is detected early, and appropriate treatment is given, the damage occurred to the uterus, ovaries, and tubes may heal. But if it is left untreated for a very long time, it may lead to severe inflammation and scarring of these organs.
- A detailed history: the best Infertility Specialist takes a detailed medical, family, and past history.
- Chest X-ray: based on the patient’s complaints, a doctor might suspect TB and advise a chest X-ray.
Chest X-ray may show lesions of Tuberculosis.
- HSG (hysterosalpingogram): A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-ray of the genital organs of a female. It is used to see tubal blocks. It also shows the peculiar lead pipe appearance of the fallopian tubes if the patient has tuberculous lesions in the tubes.
- Endometrial biopsy: a piece of the endometrial tissue is obtained in a laparoscopic procedure. Microscopic examination of the tissue might reveal tubercular bacteria.
- The culture of menstrual blood: A menstrual blood can be cultured to find out the presence of tubercular bacteria in the uterus.
However, there is not a single definitive test to diagnose genital tuberculosis. The diagnosis can only be confirmed collectively after performing all the above tests in Hegde Fertility. Contact us at 040-4260 7310 for details on infertility treatment
How is Genital TB treated?
- Other organ affected by TB. A course of antibiotics that lasts about 9 months to 1 year is prescribed. It is essential to complete the entire course in order to get rid of the TB completely. Although, the chances of recovering from infertility depend on the extent of the damage to the reproductive organs like tubes and uterus.
- IVF: If the tuberculous process has not destroyed the endometrium, in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be done following successful anti-tubercular treatment (ATT). Blocked fallopian tubes are the most common cause of patient opting for IVF (In vitro fertilization)
Genital TB is hence one of the most important causes of infertility in a tropical country like India. And sooner the patient gets treated for the condition, better are the chances of pregnancy.