Signs & Symptoms of Intestinal Tuberculosis


Intestinal tuberculosis is an infection of the intestines. This form of tuberculosis is an infection that affects people from underdeveloped countries. It can be associated with other illnesses, such as HIV infection. People can get intestinal tuberculosis from drinking unpasteurized milk from infected cattle. The milk contains tubercle bacilli that infect the intestines. Some signs and symptoms appear when intestinal tuberculosis is present.

Pain in the Abdomen

  • People infected with intestinal tuberculosis may get abdominal cramps on the right side of the stomach. Abdominal cramps happen when the muscles in the abdomen contract. Abdominal cramps can affect other nearby organs, such as the intestines, aorta, pancreas, kidney and the appendix. There may also be some swelling in the abdomen, which can be mistaken for cancer. The pain in the abdomen is present as the tuberculosis travels from the lungs and gets to the intestines through the bloodstream. The best way to diagnose intestinal tuberculosis is to do a biopsy test or get an endoscopy. Intestinal tuberculosis can cause fistula formation, perforations and abscesses on the intestines of the patient.

Loss of Weight

  • Patients who have intestinal tuberculosis experience a significant weight loss. This is because most people who suffer from intestinal tuberculosis do not have an appetite or find it hard to take in food. The weight loss typically happens when the patient has been sick for a while. People who have just contracted the illness may not show outward symptoms at first, but may lack energy and start losing weight gradually until the effect of the weight loss becomes evident. After diagnosis, patients with intestinal tuberculosis may undergo surgery or take anti-tuberculosis drugs and other medications.


  • A percentage of people who suffer from intestinal tuberculosis get anorexia. Anorexia is an eating disorder wherein the patient starves herself. Patients with intestinal tuberculosis develop anorexia as they find it hard to keep down food and therefore refuse to eat. This may be because of the abdominal pains they experience when taking in food. Intestinal tuberculosis can greatly affect the intestines, and this causes the pain when digesting food. To prevent developing anorexia, go to the doctor as soon as possible when the first signs of intestinal tuberculosis are evident. Prolonging the treatment for the infection can cause other sicknesses in the patient. To prevent having intestinal tuberculosis, avoid drinking unpasteurized milk.

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