Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease that brings with it lot of stigma and fears related to it being communicable, treatment, and other side effects. Here we will understand female genital tract TB infection and its relation with fertility.
As a layman, you may call a pelvic area bacterial infection as – genital TB, pelvic TB, uterine TB or uterus TB. But the name is simply based on the part affected by TB such as uterine TB (in Uterus), Fallopian TB (in Fallopian tubes) or cervical TB (in cervix) etc.
Tuberculosis in the female pelvic region, which may affect any of the female reproductive parts or spread throughout – uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina or cervix, is commonly called pelvic or genital TB.
There may be two modes of infection to the female genital tract – secondary infection – when you have lung TB that is not treated and becomes chronic spreading to other organs including your reproductive organs. The other is rare primary bacterial infection directly in any part of your genital or pelvic region like uterus or Fallopian tubes.
Symptoms of female genital TB
Studies show mostly, tuberculosis is latent i:e., without symptoms. So you may have a bacteria but not the disease and it’s ‘not’ communicable too in this state.
However, in cases of latent TB, later in life, if your immune system weakens due to any reason like poor diet, any disease, excess stress, unhealthy lifestyle etc., you are at high risk of developing active tuberculosis.
Although, genital or pelvic TB attacks silently with no prominent symptoms, you should not ignore the below ones:
- Pelvic pain
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Blood stained, heavy and discolored vaginal discharge
- Bleeding after intercourse
Based on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend some tests such as blood tests, pelvic X-rays, laparoscopy, biopsy, PCR analysis etc., to confirm or rule out TB.
The treatment is same as lung TB and your doctor would decide medication plan based on the intensity and how old your infection is. Generally doctors follow six or 12 month antibiotics course to treat female pelvic TB.
Timely and taking complete treatment of genital TB is important before it spreads and damages your uterus endometrium lining, cause Fallopian tube blockage, lead to scarring of ovaries or do other damages.
Can Pelvic TB affect my fertility?
It has been seen that female genital TB patients often have difficulty in conceiving or face miscarriages. Doctors say, early TB diagnosis and timely treatment can prevent the disease to affect your fertility. Once treated from pelvic or uterine TB, you have the chances of conceiving as any normal woman. But it is strictly advisable that you should complete the medication course prescribed by your doctor to get rid of the bacteria.
Genital TB, if left undetected for long, it may do some permanent damage to your Fallopian tubes, uterus or ovaries wherein you might require assisted reproductive techniques like IVF or surrogacy (in case permanent uterus damage due to uterine TB) etc.
Thus, do not ignore the recommended diagnostic tests for TB to avoid further complications and fertility issues.
For assistance on genital / pelvic TB or any infertility treatment such as IVF, in India, you can call our patient advisors for ‘free’ guidance.
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