Female genital schistosomiasis due to Schistosoma haematobium. Clinical and parasitological findings in women in rural Malawi

Kjetland EF, Poggensee G, Helling-Giese G, Richter J, Sjaastad A, Chitsulo L, Kumwenda N, Gundersen SG, Krantz I, Feldmeier H

Journal title: Acta tropica

Acta Trop. 1996 Dec;62(4):239-55

PMID: 9028409

Article on PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9028409


A total of 51 women with urinary schistosomiasis haematobium were examined in order to identify diagnostic indicators for female genital schistosomiasis (FGS). Patients were selected at random from the outpatient department of the Mangochi District Hospital, Malawi. The medical histories were recorded according to a pre-designed questionnaire and the women were subjected to a thorough gynaecological examination including colposcopy and photographic documentation of lesions. Microscopy of genital biopsies revealed that 33 of the 51 women had S. haematobium ova in cervix, vagina and/or vulva in addition to the presence of ova in urine. The most sensitive diagnostic procedure was beside microscopic examination of a wet cervix biopsy crushed between two glass slides, which revealed 25 of the 33 genital infections. There was a significant correlation between the size of genital lesions and the number of ova counted per mm2 of crushed tissue. Women with FGS had significantly more tumours in the vulva than women with schistosomiasis limited to the urinary tract. Most of the observed genital pathology could easily be identified by the naked eye, but colposcopic examination yielded valuable additional information like the demonstration of neovascularisation around cervical sandy patches. Few of the symptoms previously regarded as indicators for FGS could be linked to the presence of schistosome ova in genital tissue. Husbands of infertile women with FGS had children with other women significantly more often than husbands of women who only had urinary schistosomiasis. This, together with the finding that the majority of the divorced women had FGS, indicates that the manifestation of this disease may have implications for the marital and sexual life of the affected women.