Genital tuberculosis associated with female infertility in the western Cape
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Infertility is a common presenting symptom in women with genital tuberculosis. A study was undertaken to determine the prevalence and characteristics of this disease among the infertile patients (A and B income group) attending the Reproductive Biology Unit at Tygerberg Hospital. Between June 1986 and December 1987, the menstrual fluid from 451 infertile women was cultured for Mycobacterium tuberculosis using Lowenstein-Jensen medium. A prevalence of 7.98% (36/451) was found. Laparoscopic examination of the pelvis revealed bilateral tubal occlusion in 3 patients (8,3%); peritubular adhesions were present in 17 patients (47,2%). In the remaining 16 patients (44,5%), the pelvis was considered normal. No culture-positive patient gave a history of previous infection or contact with tuberculosis. Radiography of the chest and histological examination of the endometrium showed no evidence of infection. Of the 34 patients treated, 13 (38.2%) became pregnant after antituberculosis treatment was completed. If tuberculosis occurs in a population, menstrual fluid of infertile women should be cultured routinely for M. tuberculosis, especially if there is evidence of tubal damage.
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