Abdominal Tuberculosis (TB): Symptoms you should never ignore

Abdominal Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious bacterial infection in the digestive system and abdominal cavity. It can affect from mouth to anus including your intestine, spleen, pancreas, and lymph nodes. It can be caused due to poor immune system, malnutrition, HIV, renal infections etc. Poor diet, consuming contaminated milk, alcohol and tobacco intake are also responsible for the disease.

Abdominal tuberculosis is increasingly getting common more due to its non-specific symptoms which may lead to delay in diagnosis, resulting in greater complications. Although the disease is curable, ignorance of symptoms postpones the treatment making it severe. Let’s understand the symptoms and when you need to see the doctor for timely treatment.

Symptoms of abdominal tuberculosis

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Loss of weight
  • Anorexia (abnormal low body weight)
  • Diarrhea / Constipation
  • Night sweats
  • Fever and cough
  • Swelling / tightness / doughy abdomen
  • Loss of appetite & fatigue

Diagnosis & investigations of abdominal tuberculosis

If you experience any of the above symptoms for longer duration or at regular intervals, do not try your own medications but visit your doctor as soon as possible. He/she would take your medical history and do physical examination to form the primary diagnosis.

To confirm or rule out abdominal TB, you would be recommended some blood tests and investigations, such as below:

  • Blood test
  • Mantoux test
  • Liver Function Test (LFT)
  • X-rays/ ultrasound / CT scan of abdomen
  • Endoscopy, colonoscopy and diagnostic laparoscopy
  • Peritoneal biopsy

Treatment of abdominal tuberculosis

Abdominal TB can be treated through medications and/or surgery. You would be prescribed a course of medications for a period six to nine months or even longer depending upon the response. A corrective surgery may be required if there is a perforation, abscess or fistula (an abnormal connection between organs) formation in intestines that cannot be treated through only medications.

Remember abdominal TB is a completely curable disease unless you follow a strict medicines course, suggested diet plan, and healthy lifestyle refraining yourself from alcohol and tobacco.

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