What is Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis and What are Its Symptoms?

Gastrointestinal tuberculosis is an infection of the gastrointestinal system which is caused by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. Learn about its symptoms, diagnosis and treatments here.
Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis as we generally know affects the lungs, but in 1-3% of Tuberculosis cases, it may affect other body parts. In such cases, it is known as Extrapulmonary TB.

Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis occurs when it affects the peritoneum and lymph glands of the stomach. Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis which is a rod-shaped Gram-positive bacteria.

In India, around 5-9% of all TB patients are affected by gastrointestinal tuberculosis which is the second most common intestinal disease after Typhoid fever.

People who are suffering from HIV and Diabetes are at the most risk of developing gastrointestinal tuberculosis.

Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis - Symptoms

The following are the symptoms of Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis

Weight Loss

Individuals suffering from gastrointestinal tuberculosis tend to have problems digesting the food, and as a result, are unable to get essential nutrients which cause the body to lose weight due to malnutrition.

Persistent Mild Fever

The presence of persistent mild fever in individuals can be a sign of gastrointestinal tuberculosis, the fever is due to the immune response to the bacterium.

Decreased Appetite

There is a marked decrease in appetite in individuals with gastrointestinal tuberculosis. Due to decreased appetite, the individual also loses weight.


The bacterium affects the gastrointestinal system causing constipation in individuals. 

Diarrhoea and Vomiting

The incidences of diarrhoea and vomiting occur in one out of every three patients with gastrointestinal tuberculosis. Vomiting can occur due to nausea which can be caused due to a poor digestive system as mentioned earlier.

Night Sweats

Individuals with gastrointestinal tuberculosis may get night sweats.

Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis

Gastrointestinal tuberculosis is diagnosed by performing blood tests and the classic Mantoux test. The Mantoux test is also known as the skin test.

Treatment for Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis

The treatment for Gastrointestinal tuberculosis involves treatment with antitubercular drugs such as rifampicin and isoniazid.

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