Symptoms of active TB
You won’t notice a latent TB infection, and because the disease is relatively uncommon today, doctors don’t routinely test unless you have one or more risk factors for it. However, when the infection becomes active, you may experience the following uncomfortable symptoms.
- A persistent cough lasting three weeks or more
- Coughing that brings up blood
- Blood in the urine
- Chest pain or back pain; pain with breathing
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
- Intermittent fevers
- Night sweats
- A struggle to breathe in fully
- Body aches or a generalized feeling of being unwell
Most tuberculosis infections occur in the lungs, but it can also damage the spine, brain, and kidneys. The pain experienced tends to localize at the primary infection point. So for example, if your infection is primarily in the spine, your back will hurt. If in your kidneys, you may notice blood in your urine.
Because many of the symptoms of tuberculosis are non-specific and occur for multiple conditions, your doctor will be looking for you to have several symptoms as well as a particular risk factor. Other diseases and disorders may need to be ruled out before moving to a TB test.