Tuberculosis is a very common bacterial infection, especially in developing countries, and it can cause many symptoms, include intestinal symptoms. Tuberculosis is quite contagious, and it requires immediate medical evaluation and treatment. Most commonly, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis infects the lungs, causing chronic cough, weight loss, and other symptoms. However sometimes it can cause what is called 'extra-pulmonary' (outside the lungs) tuberculosis, infecting lymph nodes and other organs, such as the intestines. Intestinal tuberculosis is especially common in the developing world. Often intestinal tuberculosis may have no symptoms, or it may present with abdominal pain
, cramping, and weight loss. Often people who have intestinal tuberculosis also have other sites of tuberculosis infection, such as in the lungs. It is very important that your son be evaluated by an infectious disease doctor
or his primary care doctor
, or whatever other qualified physician is available wherever he is living. In addition to beginning treatment for tuberculosis, which usually requires taking several drugs at the same time for many month, he may also need to be evaluated for medical conditions that may have put him at higher risk of contracting tuberculosis, such as infection with the HIV virus.