What is Extra Pulmonary TB

Updated at: Mar 17, 2012
What is Extra Pulmonary TB

Extra pulmonary tuberculosis is a type of tuberculosis that exists outside of the lungs.

Bhadra Kamalasanan
Communicable DiseasesWritten by: Bhadra KamalasananPublished at: Mar 17, 2012

Tuberculosis is an airborne disease that is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. It commonly targets the lungs and the condition is called pulmonary TB. When the infection stings in other parts of the body but lungs, the condition is called extra pulmonary tuberculosis. Tuberculosis has been reported to be the most common infectious disease that leads to deaths worldwide. About 15% of the total tuberculosis cases are extra pulmonary. Different types of extra pulmonary tuberculosis include:


  • Renal tuberculosis.
  • Pericarditis tuberculosis.
  • Peritonitis tuberculosis.
  • Lymph node TB.
  • Bone and joint tuberculosis.
  • Liver TB.
  • TB meningitis.
  • Gastrointestinal tuberculosis .


Extra pulmonary tuberculosis is a chronic disease that presents the patient with several complications. Certain diseases such peritonitis and meningitis may be harmful for the patient since its beginning. Therefore, it is important that a victim of TB get himself/herself diagnosed and treated before it’s too late.

Extra pulmonary TB affects those people more, who have a weak immune system, HIV, diabetes, are malnourished, very young or elderly, are undergoing chemotherapy or cortisone etc. The most common forms of extra pulmonary TB include osteo-articular, node tuberculosis, renal and skin tuberculosis. Meningitis may target a person either along with pulmonary tuberculosis or independently. In children, it usually strikes between the age of one and five.


Symptoms of extra pulmonary TB

Extra pulmonary TB is when the TB infection has spread from the lungs to other parts of the body. Here are the symptoms of some of the common extra pulmonary TB:


Lymph node TB

Lymph nodes are oval glands that are part of the immune system and function to remove unwanted bacteria from the body. The symptoms of lymph node TB include:

  • Persistent and painless swelling of the lymph nodes, which can be seen on the neck and other parts of the body.
  • If the swelled nodes are left untreated, they will start to release a fluid through the skin.


Gastrointestinal TB

Symptoms of gastrointestinal TB include:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Bleeding from the anus.
  • Diarrhoea.


Genitourinary TB

Symptoms of genitourinary TB include:

  • Burning sensation while urinating.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Groin pain.
  • Frequent urge to pass urine at night.


Central Nervous System TB

The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The symptoms of central nervous system TB include:

  • Fever.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Headache.
  • Changes in mental and emotional state.
  • Fits.
  • Blurred vision.


Read more articles on Understand Tuberculosis.



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