Genital tuberculosis at Tygerberg Hospital - Prevalence, clinical presentation and diagnosis
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Over a period of 30 months (1 July 1986-31 December 1988) 57 cases of genital tuberculosis were diagnosed at Tygerberg Hospital. Forty of these cases were diagnosed as a result of routine screening in 650 patients who presented with infertility and the other 17 were diagnosed in patients admitted to the gynaecological wards. The prevalence in patients presenting with infertility was 6,15%. The commonest gynaecological presenting symptom was infertility (73,7%). Dysmenorrhoea in 29,8% and deep dyspareunia in 12,3% were the only other frequently occurring gynaecological symptoms. Menstruation was normal in 50 patients (87,7%). Seven per cent of patients were postmenopausal. Abdominal symptoms were only present in 15,8%. These findings re-emphasise that genital tuberculosis is often a disease absent of or with few symptoms. General, abdominal and pelvic examinations were normal in 56,1% of patients and even when clinical signs were present they were nonspecific. Menstrual fluid collection and culture proved to be the most reliable diagnostic procedure, since it was positive in 11 patients in whom premenstrual endometrial sample cultures were negative and also in 17 patients in whom histological examination of premenstrual endometrial samples for tuberculosis were negative. The possible reasons for this and its clinical importance are discussed. Other than histological examination of operation and/or biopsy specimens, special investigations proved to be of little help in the diagnosis of genital tuberculosis.
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