Document Type

Article

Department

Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)

Abstract

Background: Asymptomatic female genital tuberculosis can impair tubal and endometrial function and later present as subfertility. A majority of the patients with genital tuberculosis in endemic regions present with subfertility and the delay in presentation, coupled with the potential the disease has in mimicking other gynecological conditions, renders it elusive. In addition to the challenge of diagnosing genital tuberculosis, fertility outcomes after treatment are not impressive. This is particularly so in the background of another confounding subfertility factor to which interventional efforts may initially be directed, at the expense of undiagnosed genital tuberculosis. We therefore present a case of subfertility due to endometrial tuberculosis, but confounded by other subfertility factors notably polycystic ovary syndrome. To the best of our knowledge this case report is the first of its kind in the literature.

Case presentation: This is a case report of a 42-year-old woman of African descent who presented to our fertility clinic with a 10-year history of primary subfertility and amenorrhea of 6 years duration. She was a nurse in a medical ward and had no prior history of tuberculosis. She had undergone a diagnostic laparoscopy 8 years prior which demonstrated dense pelvic adhesions and an impression of tubal factor subfertility was made. At presentation, her gonadal hormone profile and pelvic ultrasound were consistent with polycystic ovary syndrome. A negative response to a progesterone challenge test prompted a hysteroscopic evaluation which revealed endometrial atrophy. Endometrial biopsies confirmed histological features consistent with tuberculosis. Normal endometrial function was not restored despite adequate treatment and her options were limited to surrogacy or adoption.

Conclusions: Genital tuberculosis is elusive in presentation and clinicians should consider it in patients with amenorrhea and/or tubal disease from tuberculosis-endemic regions. Due to the attendant high cost of fertility treatment and associated poor fertility outcomes, it is prudent to explore options to diagnose it early. A routine endometrial biopsy in a patient with subfertility in a tuberculosis-endemic area would be pragmatic. An alternative algorithm in management would be risk stratification prior to endometrial biopsy.

Publication

Journal of Medical Case Reports

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