Tuberculosis (TB) Facts (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What are tuberculosis symptoms and signs?

Although there are a number of TB types, pulmonary TB is responsible for the majority (about 85%) of TB infections. Consequently, pulmonary TB symptoms and signs may occur with or even before other types of TB are diagnosed. The classical clinical symptoms and signs of pulmonary TB include fever, night sweats, cough, hemoptysis (coughing up blood-stained sputum), weight loss, fatigue, and chest pain. The elderly may just exhibit pneumonitis.

Other types are loosely classified as extra pulmonary and often have symptoms that are nonspecific but frequently localized to the involved site. The following includes the signs and symptoms of additional types of TB:

  • Skeletal TB (also termed Pott's disease): spinal pain, back stiffness, paralysis is possible
  • TB meningitis: headaches (variable in length but persistent), mental changes, coma
  • TB arthritis: usually pain in a single joint (hips and knees most common)
  • Genitourinary TB: dysuria, flank pain, increased frequency, masses or lumps (granulomas)
  • Gastrointestinal TB: difficulty swallowing, nonhealing ulcers, abdominal pain, malabsorption, diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • Miliary TB: many small nodules widespread in organs that resemble millet seeds (hence its name)
  • Pleural TB: empyema and pleural effusions
  • MDR TB: patients infected with TB bacteria that are resistant to multiple drugs
  • XDR TB: patients infected with TB bacteria that are resistant to some of the most effective anti-TB medications; XDR stands for extensively drug resistant
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/8/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Tuberculosis (TB) - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) - Prognosis Question: What is your TB prognosis?
Tuberculosis (TB) - Cause Question: What caused your TB?
Tuberculosis - Diagnosis Question: How was the diagnosis of your tuberculosis established?
Tuberculosis - Experience Question: If known, how did you or a loved one contract TB?