Gonorrhea and female infertility in rural Uganda
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We studied sociocultural and medical factors in the Teso District in eastern Uganda and the Ankole District in western Uganda to discover the cause of the low and high fertility rates in these respective districts. The findings related to gonorrhea in women are presented in this article. Gonococcal cervicitis and clinical evidence of salpingitis occurred significantly more frequently in Teso (18.3% and 19%, respectively) than in Ankole (2.4% and 5.9%) women. Significantly more of the husbands of the gonococcal-negative infertile women compared to gonococcal-negative fertile women were found to have active gonorrhea, a past history of urethral discharge, and bilaterally thickened epididymides. PIP: Teso District in eastern Uganda with low fertility (crude birth rate in 1969 was 37/1000), and Ankole District in western Uganda with high fertility (55/1000), were selected to study malaria, nutrition, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The gonorrhea methodology for women included genital examination and endocervical smears and cultures. Husbands of gonococcal-negative fertile and infertile women also were examined for the presence of gonorrhea and evidence of infection in the past. Three hundred and forty-three women in Teso and 250 in Ankole underwent medical examination. In the Teso District, 84 (25%) of the women, as compared with 22 (8.9%) in Ankole, complained of lower abdominal pain (p 0.001). Seven women in Teso but none in Ankole had signs of bartholinitis. Mucopurulent discharge in the vagina was found in 56 (19%) of the Teso women as compared with 17 (10%) of the Ankole women (p 0.02). 90 (30.5%) of the women in Teso but only 21 (12.5%) women in Ankole had an eroded and/or infected cervix (p 0.001). Evidence of salpingitis was obtained in 56 (19%) of the Teso women as compared with 10 (5.9%) Ankole women (p 0.001). A tender adnexal mass was felt in 23 (7.8%) of the Teso sample but in only one (0.6%) in Ankole. Among the women in Teso, 54 (18.3%) had a positive cervical smear or culture for gonorrhea, but only four (2.4%) in Ankole had similar positive tests (p 0.001). Evidence of pelvic inflammatory disease was present in 17% of the infected Teso women. None of the infected Ankole women, however, had PID. Cervical secretions showed gonococci in only 10% of the infertile women as compared with 23% of the fertile women. However, 24.5% of husbands of the gonococcal-negative infertile women, as compared with 6.7% of husbands of the gonococcal-negative fertile women, were found to have active gonorrhea (p 0.01). In this group 75.5%, and 57.7% of husbands, respectively, had a past history of urethral discharge (p 0.05), while 18.4% and 5.8%, respectively, had bilaterally thickened epididymides (p 0.05).