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Symptoms of Intestinal Tuberculosis and its Treatment

Intestinal tuberculosis is a condition when the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis infects the abdominal organs, peritoneum (membranes in the abdominal cavity), and intestines. TB bacteria can spread to the abdominal organs through blood, lymph, or sputum that is ingested. The risk of developing this disease is increased in people who have low body resistance, such as those suffering from malnutrition, diabetes, or HIV.

TB or tuberculosis is one of the most infectious diseases that cause death in the tropics. TB infection generally occurs in the lungs. However, TB bacteria can spread to other organs, especially the pleura (membrane covering the lung), lymph nodes, and intestines.

Symptoms of Intestinal TB

Symptoms of intestinal TB are often non-specific and difficult to distinguish from other intestinal diseases, such as colon cancer and Crohn's disease. But in general, symptoms of intestinal TB can be:

  • Stomach ache
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Enlarged liver and spleen
  • Bloody bowel movements

In some cases, intestinal TB infection can cause intestinal obstruction which is an emergency condition, with symptoms in the form of a tense stomach, a lump in the stomach, and vomiting.




How to treat intestinal tuberculosis

Treatment of intestinal tuberculosis still causes much debate. This is because the number of studies examining the treatment of this condition is still very small when compared to research on pulmonary tuberculosis treatment. But in broad outline, the treatment of intestinal TB includes:

The use of antituberculosis drugs

Anti-TB drugs used for intestinal TB are the same as antibiotics for pulmonary TB. Examples of drugs are rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol.

The duration of the ideal consumption of antituberculosis drugs to treat intestinal tuberculosis is still being studied. However, research shows that the consumption of antituberculosis drugs for 6 months gives satisfactory results. Treatment for more than 6 months may be needed for intestinal tuberculosis cases with complications.

Surgery

Surgery is needed in cases of intestinal tuberculosis that are accompanied by complications, such as perforation (hole), adhesion (attachment), fistula, bleeding, and obstruction (blockage) of the intestine.

Because the symptoms of intestinal TB are often nonspecific, it helps you to see a doctor immediately to consult and undergo further tests to make sure. Especially if you have a risk of TB.

If you have been taking antituberculosis drugs and are declared cured of intestinal tuberculosis but still feel a tense stomach, pain, nausea, and vomiting, do not hesitate to check yourself back at the doctor. This may be due to the constriction or attachment that continues after intestinal therapy.





References

References

  1. Longhurst, AS. Healthline (2019). Types of Tuberculosis.
  2. Mandavdhare, (2017). Recent Advances in the Diagnosis and Management of Abdominal Tuberculosis. EMJ Gastroenterology.

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