TB can cause infertility in women

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Tuberculosis (TB) bacterium primarily affects the lungs, but can also spread and cause secondary infections to the uterus and even the fallopian tubes, which can reduce chances of pregnancy, health experts warned.

Usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) bacteria, TB is the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming around 4,400 lives a day.

When the bacteria attacks the uterus, it causes uterine tuberculosis (also known as pelvic TB) which mostly affects women during the child-bearing period and is usually diagnosed during an infertility check-up.

Women are more often affected than males and due to uterine tuberculosis, two out of 10 females are unable to bear a child. In extreme cases, the uterine lining becomes so thin that it is unable to bear implantation resulting in miscarriage.

Mtb bacteria is transported by the blood to other organs including reproductive organs and causes infection in fallopian tubes, uterus or in endometrial lining.

Tuberculosis has the ability to severely damage the fallopian tubes, if not treated at the initial stage.. it can further lead to serious health complications and also result in infertility.

Symptoms of TB in uterus include irregular menstruation, pelvic pain, continuous discharge which is stained with blood or without blood with a foul smell and bleeding after intercourse.

In over 95 per cent of the cases, the infection was found to affect the fallopian tubes, in 50 per cent the endometrium and 30 per cent the ovaries.

Moreover, nearly 75 per cent of women with genital TB were found to be infertile, and 50-60 per cent of women with infertility were found to have genital TB, the report stated.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘Global Tuberculosis Report 2018’, India accounted for 27 per cent of the 10 million people, who had developed TB in 2017, besides making up 32 per cent of global TB deaths among HIV-negative people and 27 per cent of combined TB deaths.

To combat the disease, it is essential that diagnostic facilities reach the farthest areas and people made aware of the consequences of contracting TB.