Tuberculosis (TB) and Infertility
Just recently, we passed World Tuberculosis Day. If you are like most folks, you probably never even knew that such a day even existed. In fact, most doctors here in the US, including fertility doctors, don't pay much attention to tuberculosis anyhow and think of it as a disease of the past, not really much of an issue here at home. Certainly, tuberculosis is a disease that is uncommon here in 21st century America. But that is not necessarily true around the world.
Practicing here in New Jersey, we see patients who have moved here from all over the world, and particularly quite a few from India. TB is endemic in India where it has been estimated that 40 % or more of the population is affected. Many who have been infected with tuberculosis are not even aware of it.
While we generally think of TB as respiratory disease, it can also affect the reproductive system. While here in the United States, it is very uncommon to see genital tuberculosis, that is not necessarily true in other countries. TB can infect and damage the fallopian tubes and the lining of the uterus resulting in infertility. While this is relatively uncommon, it seen by New Jersey fertility doctors and obgyns from time to time, though most are unaware that it is even a possibility. Many can be helped by modern technologies such as IVF.
It turns out after all there is a connection between World TB Day and the world of Reproductive Medicine. Its a reminder that not all of the diseases we though we have conquered have completely been defeated.