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What are the impacts of Tuberculosis on fertility? Know from expert

TB infection can spread to reproductive organs in both men and women, causing infertility. If you have TB and are struggling to conceive, consult a fertility specialist.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: March 29, 2024 13:41 IST
impacts of Tuberculosis on fertility
Image Source : ONLYMYHEALTH Expert explains the impacts of Tuberculosis on fertility

Tuberculosis, a bacterial infection primarily affecting the lungs, has the potential to spread and cause secondary infections. In women, these secondary infections can extend to reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes, reducing the likelihood of conception. TB can also cause fertility problems in men as well.

Understanding the association between TB and infertility:

  • According to Dr Rupali Tambe, fertility consultant Nova IVF Pune, women impacted by tuberculosis (TB) may experience fertility issues due to the infection's impact on the reproductive system. TB can directly affect the genital organs, leading to complications such as inflammation of the fallopian tubes and uterus. Hence, the fallopian tubes tend to get damaged. TB can also lead to the formation of scar tissue in these organs, causing obstruction and hindering fertility. 
  • Endometrial TB can damage the lining of the uterus causing thin endometrium which is inadequate for the implantation of an embryo as it also can lead to scars inside the uterus which we call Asherman’s syndrome.
  • Uterine tuberculosis, also known as pelvic TB, is primarily a result of bacterial invasion in the uterus. It mainly impacts women in their child-bearing years and is commonly detected during fertility assessments. Females are more susceptible to this condition than males, leading to a higher prevalence of uterine tuberculosis.

The treatment for TB often involves a prolonged course of antibiotics, Some medications used to treat TB may disrupt hormone levels or cause temporary interference with ovulation. The emotional toll of dealing with a chronic illness like TB can also affect fertility. Stress and anxiety related to managing a serious infection can contribute to hormonal imbalances and interfere with normal reproductive functions. It is crucial for individuals facing both TB and fertility concerns to seek support from fertility experts and mental health specialists to address reproductive, physical and emotional aspects of their health journey.

In men, Tuberculosis (TB) has the potential to result in a condition known as epididymitis, where inflammation occurs in the epididymis, a tube responsible for transporting sperm. This inflammation can cause obstructions or scarring, hindering the passage of sperm from the testes to the urethra. Consequently, if sperm cannot exit properly, fertility issues may arise. It is worth mentioning that epididymal TB is not very common, and typically TB does not have a direct impact on the male reproductive system.

Symptoms in women and men:

Most of the men and women may present with only infertility without any symptoms 

Women: Will see irregularities in your menstrual cycle and scanty menses. Your periods could become erratic, arriving unexpectedly or disappearing altogether. Persistent pelvic pain that differs from typical menstrual cramps may arise, causing discomfort that lingers beyond your usual cycle.

Men: May notice discomfort or enlargement in your testicles. This is a symptom that should not be overlooked. Seeking the expertise of a doctor specializing in fertility issues is crucial to determine if tuberculosis is the underlying cause.

The treatment: Those with infertility problems due to TB should consult a fertility expert without any further delay to increase the chances of conception.

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