In India, genital tuberculosis is rapidly increasing amongst women. Female genital tuberculosis is a rampant disease which is increasing as one of the major health issue that leads to infertility. According to various medical researchers, tuberculosis is a root cause of infection which results in infertility among 25-30% of women in India. Genital tuberculosis is a striking factor for infertility not only in females but also in males.
What is Genital Tuberculosis?
· Usually, Tuberculosis or TB is a deadly infectious disease which initially affects lungs. It can also cause secondary infections in the genital tract, vagina, pelvic area, kidneys, spine and brain.
· Genital tuberculosis which is also known as pelvic TB, is caused when the bacteria attacks the genital tract, which mostly affects women during childbearing period and is usually diagnosed during infertility workup.
· One of the major issues is that the disease is easier to detect if it affects the lungs primarily, but the disease is difficult to detect at later stages if the bacteria directly attacks the genital organs, and reduces the chances of conception among women.
How Does it Occur?
Tuberculosis is highly infectious and it can spread easily through an infected person. According to Dr. Priti Gupta, Consultant Fertility & IVF, First Step IVF Clinic, New Delhi “The infection is likely to spread through inhalation or breathing. When you are physically close to an infected person, then the risk of acquiring tuberculosis increases because such infection can easily spread through air. At initial point, tuberculosis primarily affects the lungs but then later, the bacteria travels through blood to the other parts of the body. Dr Priti Gupta further adds that people with low immunity are the frequent victims of TB.”
At initial stage, genital TB doesn’t reveal any symptoms but after seven or eight months of the disease a person can account the following symptoms:
· Vaginal discharge
· Severe pain in lower abdomen
· Irregular menstruation
· Heavy bleeding
How does it cause infertility?
· Tuberculosis can lead to serious health complications and it has the ability to severely damage the fallopian tubes if not treated at an early stage.
· Doctors suggest that 30% of women with any type of tuberculosis tend to develop genital TB, out of which, 5-10% develops hydro salpingitis in which the water fills up into the tube, resulting in infertility.
Dr. Priti Gupta says, “The TB bacteria mainly affect the fallopian tubes by blocking it which leads to inadequate periods and infertility. In some cases, the uterine lining gets deeply affected and periods may entirely stop.” She further added that as compared to the fallopian tubes Genital TB has less effect on vagina, vulva, and ovaries”. Therefore, it becomes necessary to treat the disease quickly otherwise the chances of conceiving in the future may, unfortunately, become next to nil.
Tests and Treatment
An ailment like genital TB will cause deformity of fallopian tube structures and adverse pain. But as per Dr. Priti Gupta, “As genital TB is asymptomatic; there’s no specific take a look at to detect the disease. There are combined tests that are used to investigate whether or not someone is affected by genital TB. Endometrial diagnostic assay and laparoscopy is used to check whether or not the fallopian tube is affected or not. Other tests like tuberculin test or blood test is done to discover tuberculosis”. It is essential to get tested and treated at a proper time to avoid any serious health complications in the future.