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    fertility basics

    Leprosy - Causes, Effects in Pregnancy, and Leprosy Treatment

    • 4.6   (6 Votes)
    Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MS, MBBS on 30 Aug 2018 - Written by Dr. Mala Raj - Diploma, Diploma, MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MS, MBBS

    Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection. Leprosy causes include bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. For Leprosy treatment, a person should maintain a proper diet and hygiene. Leprosy infection has a bad impact on pregnancy as the child can have birth defects and chromosomal abnormalities.

    Leprosy is a disease which impacts the skin and nervous system of a human being. Leprosy can be the reason of primary infertility in the women who are suffering from it. Infertility is one of the major issues, which couples usually face in the case when they are unable to have their babies through a natural process. There are several factors, which have a negative impact on the fertility levels of the males and females.  One of the explored causes of infertility in the recent times is that of leprosy. Several studies are carried out to find the link between leprosy and infertility. In this article, you will find the link between leprosy and its impact on pregnancy and health of the baby.

    Leprosy is a highly contagious disease, which is caused byMycobacterium Leprae. Though Leprosy is contagious, its proliferation rate is low as a large proportion of the current population is naturally resistant to this disease. The diagnosis is based on the skin and neurologic examination of the patient. This disease affects and damages the skin and the peripheral nerves. Sometimes, it also damages the internal organs. Leprosy needs an early diagnosis as the timely and proper implementation of the treatment may prevent all the related physical disabilities that can have a negative impact on the patient’s personal and social spheres of life. Leprosy is still considered as a stigma and it needs to be eradicated from the society as soon as possible.

    What are the causes of Leprosy (Hansen’s disease)?

    Leprosy is caused by a slow-growing bacterium called Mycobacterium leprae. There are two common forms of leprosy:Tuberculoid and Lepromatous

    Tuberculoid Leprosy is a milder form of the disease in which only a few pores or lesions appear on the skin. It can be treated easily. While on the other hand, Lepromatous Leprosy is more severe and can cause some large lumps and bumps on the body. In the lepromatous type of leprosy, the patients are severely affected along with their immunity.


    You will be surprised to know that India is one of the top countries, which is affected massively with leprosy cases. This makes it important for the patients to keep a firm note on the causes and make sure that the women who are vulnerable to leprosy take the right precautions.

    This highly contagious disease is generally transmitted through the droplets that get expelled while sneezing, coughing or by coming in contact with the nasal fluids. It’s a myth that just touching someone with the disease usually causes the infection.

    Risks associated with Leprosy

    The risks associated with leprosy are quite varied and need to be kept in focus if the adverse effects of the leprosy disease need to be kept in check as well. The risks which are associated with leprosy includes the following:

    • Increased risk of malnutrition
    • Use of the same bed linen for prolonged periods of time
    • Infertility problems in men and women
    • Other female reproductive related disorders such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOD)
    • Increased chances of affecting male reproductive organs too


    Does Leprosy affect fertility of women along with menstrual cycle?

    In many studies, it has been revealed that leprosy affects fertility in patients. In the starting years when Leprosy was on the stage of proliferation, a test was conducted in which 40 healthy individuals and 40 patients suffering from leprosy participated. All participants were subjected to careful dermatological and genital examination, complete blood count, liver and renal function tests, complete urine analysis, assessment of follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone levels, and semen analysis.

    leprosy affect fertility

    It was found that there was a statistically significant difference between the patients with the history of Erythema Nodosum Leprosum (ENL) and patients without the history of erythema nodosum leprosum regarding sexual examination, hormonal profile and sperm count. There was a strong positive correlation between disease duration and hormonal levels of FSH and LH and a strong negative correlation between disease duration and hormonal levels of testosterone and sperm count.

    The bottom-line is that if you are suffering from Leprosy then it is very likely that you will suffer from infertility problems in your near future.

    How does leprosy impact pregnancy?

    Like infertility, leprosy also has an impact on the pregnancy. In general, hormonal changes are quite prominent in case of pregnancy. This has a notable impact on the immunity of the women as well. The third trimester of pregnancy has the evidence of introduction of the leprosy-like reactions in the women. Hormonal and cell-mediated immunity both are responsible for affecting the pregnancy in women who have chances of developing leprosy as well. This leads to the increased chances of the occurrence of lepra infections as well. Type 1 reactions can be seen in case of postpartum phase and Type 2 reactions peaks during pregnancy.

    In what way does leprosy impact the foetus and children?

    The babies who are born from mothers with leprosy are prone to low weight and infections. The pubertal skeletal growth along with menarche in girls is delayed in the babies who are born from the mothers had leprosy or lepra infections during pregnancy.

    What are the possible treatments for leprosy?

    The treatment of leprosy is long and it should be treated with patience. It is 100% curable and with some proper hygienic measures, proper diet and adequate treatments, it can be treated. There are several drugs used for the treatment of leprosy such as Dapsone and Thalidomide. These drugs may be given for a period of 6 months to 2 years and even longer if required.

    In the last two decades, 16 million people with leprosy have been cured. The World Health Organization provides free treatment to all people with leprosy. The treatment depends on the type of leprosy that you have. There are some antibiotics that are used to treat the infection. Usually, a long-term treatment with two or more antibiotics is recommended from six months to a year. People with severe leprosy may need to take antibiotics even for a longer time. If, because of Leprosy, the patient is suffering from any sort of nerve damage then these antibiotics cannot treat the nerve damage. Here, the doctors might refer to some advanced treatments to receive desired results. Some anti-inflammatory drugs are also used to control nerve pain and damage related to leprosy. This may include steroids, such as prednisone.

    Always make sure that you consult your doctor first before opting for any treatment for leprosy. In this way, leprosy can be treated to a certain extent so that the negative effects of the disease are not prominent in patients.

    Thus, you can clearly see that leprosy and infertility closely associated with each other.

    For more information about fertility treatments, give a call at +917899912611Ela specialists will assist you throughout your journey of parenthood.

    Dr. Mala Raj

    Written by

    Diploma, Diploma, MBBS, DGO
    Laparoscopic Surgeon
    Dr. Mala Raj is an infertility specialist, obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in IVF, IUI, Reproductive Medicine and Gynecology Laparoscopy procedures. Dr. Mala Raj has completed her MBBS from Kilpauk Medical College in 1992, DGO from Sriramachandra Medical College in 1996. Then, she pursued Advanced Gynecology Laparoscopy Surgery and Diploma in Reproductive Medicine from Kiel University in Germany in 2001 and 2014 respectively. You can visit for more details.


    • What are the top 6 risk factors of pregnancy after 30 and success rates?  pregnancy, Elawoman - 2017
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos) - causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatments  PCOD, Elawoman - 2017
    • Pesa procedure - best sperm retrieval procedures for conception  FSH, Elawoman - 2018
    • Semen analysis - procedure, findings, role in male infertility treatment  semen analysis, Elawoman - 2018
    • Do's and don'ts you need to choose to increase sperm count for improved fertility  sperm count, Elawoman - 2017
    • Male fertility and age chart - how to increase sperm count naturally  testosterone, Elawoman - 2018
    • How to get pregnant fast with fertility foods - what to eat to boost fertility levels?  proper diet, Elawoman - 2017



    Divya Bhatt

    My leprosy treatment was successful but I lost my fingers and I am not able to perform my daily task by myself.

    Oct. 13, 2018, 10:35 a.m. 5.0


    Sunil Diwakar

    It's a very painful disease and transferable too. I will try not to be close with them. One question though, can anyone get attacked by these diseases twice?

    Sept. 30, 2018, 12:33 p.m. 4.5


    Javed Khan

    Leprosy is of 2 categories, first is paucibacillary and second is multibacillary. No bacterium is detected in the skin samples of the first category and in second, bacterium is detected.

    Sept. 11, 2018, 9:27 p.m. 4.5


    Riwas Sood

    Skin patches and thicken nerves are the main symptoms of Leprosy in women, men, and children. And by following healthy habit we can really prevent it.

    Aug. 27, 2018, 10:21 p.m. 4.5


    Sharda Sinha

    After being cured of leprosy, is it possible for women to conceive?

    Aug. 27, 2018, 12:14 p.m. 4.5


    Subhang Bux

    Aug. 25, 2018, 8:07 p.m. 4.5

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