An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants someplace aside from the main cavity of the uterus. Pregnancy starts with a fertilized egg. Typically, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus.
An ectopic pregnancy frequently takes place in among the tubes that bring eggs from the ovaries to the uterus (fallopian tubes). This type of ectopic pregnancy is known as a tubal pregnancy. Sometimes, nevertheless, an ectopic pregnancy takes place in the abdominal cavity, ovary or neck of the uterus (cervix).
An ectopic pregnancy cannot continue typically. The fertilized egg can’t make it through, and the growing tissue might damage various maternal structures. Left without treatment, lethal blood loss is possible.
Early treatment of an ectopic pregnancy can help maintain the possibility for future healthy pregnancies.
Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms
At first, an ectopic pregnancy may not cause any signs or symptoms. In other cases, early symptoms and signs of an ectopic pregnancy may be the same as those of any pregnancy– a missed duration, breast inflammation and nausea.
If you take a pregnancy test, the outcome will be positive. Still, an ectopic pregnancy cannot continue as regular.
Light vaginal bleeding with abdominal or pelvic pain is often the first warning sign of an ectopic pregnancy. If blood leakages from the fallopian tube, it’s likewise possible to feel shoulder pain or an urge to have a defecation– depending on where the blood swimming pools or which nerves are irritated. If the fallopian tube ruptures, heavy bleeding inside the abdominal area is likely– followed by lightheadedness, fainting and shock.
When to see a doctor
Seek emergency medical help if you experience any signs or symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, including:
Severe abdominal or pelvic pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding
Severe lightheadedness or fainting
Ectopic Pregnancy Causes
A tubal pregnancy– the most common kind of ectopic pregnancy– happens when a fertilized egg gets stuck on its way to the uterus, frequently due to the fact that the fallopian tube is damaged by inflammation or is misshapen. Hormone imbalances or abnormal advancement of the fertilized egg also may play a role.
Risk factors and Complications
Up to an approximated 20 in every 1,000 pregnancies are ectopic. Various elements are connected with ectopic pregnancy, consisting of:
- Previous ectopic pregnancy. If you’ve had one ectopic pregnancy, you’re more likely to have another.
Inflammation or infection. Inflammation of the fallopian tube (salpingitis) or an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries (pelvic inflammatory disease) increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Often, these infections are caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia.
- Fertility concerns. Some research suggests an association in between difficulties with fertility– in addition to use of fertility drugs– and ectopic pregnancy.
- Structural concerns. An ectopic pregnancy is most likely if you have an uncommonly shaped fallopian tube or the fallopian tube was harmed, perhaps during surgery. Even surgery to rebuild the fallopian tube can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
- Contraceptive choice. Pregnancy when using an intrauterine device (IUD) is rare. If pregnancy happens, however, it’s most likely to be ectopic. The very same goes for pregnancy after tubal ligation– a permanent method of contraception typically referred to as “having your tubes tied.” Although pregnancy after tubal ligation is rare, if it happens, it’s most likely to be ectopic.
- Cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking prior to you get pregnant can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. And the more you smoke, the greater the risk.
When you have an ectopic pregnancy, the stakes are high. Without treatment, a ruptured fallopian tube could result in lethal bleeding.
Tests and Diagnosis
If your doctor suspects an ectopic pregnancy, he or she might do a pelvic test to check for pain, inflammation, or a mass in the fallopian tube or ovary. A physical exam alone usually isn’t sufficient to detect an ectopic pregnancy, however. The medical diagnosis is typically confirmed with blood tests and imaging studies, such as an ultrasound.
With a standard ultrasound, high-frequency acoustic waves are directed at the tissues in the abdominal area. During early pregnancy, nevertheless, the uterus and fallopian tubes are better to the vagina than to the abdominal surface. The ultrasound will likely be done using a wandlike device placed in your vagina (transvaginal ultrasound).
Sometimes it’s prematurely to find a pregnancy through ultrasound. If the medical diagnosis remains in concern, your doctor might monitor your condition with blood tests till the ectopic pregnancy can be validated or dismissed through ultrasound– generally by 4 to five weeks after conception.
In an emergency situation– if you’re bleeding greatly, for instance– an ectopic pregnancy may be diagnosed and treated surgically.
Treatments for Ectopic Pregnancy
A fertilized egg cannot develop typically outside the uterus. To prevent deadly complications, the ectopic tissue needs to be gotten rid of.
If the ectopic pregnancy is spotted early, an injection of the drug methotrexate is in some cases used to stop cell growth and liquify existing cells. It’s necessary that the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy is specific prior to this treatment is undertaken.
After the injection, your doctor will monitor your blood for the pregnancy hormonal agent human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). If the HCG level remains high, you might require another injection of methotrexate.
In other cases, ectopic pregnancy is usually treated with laparoscopic surgery. In this procedure, a small cut is made in the abdominal area, near or in the navel. Then your doctor uses a thin tube equipped with a cam lens and light (laparoscope) to see the area.
Other instruments can be placed into the tube or through other little cuts to eliminate the ectopic tissue and fix the fallopian tube. If the fallopian tube is considerably harmed, it might have to be gotten rid of.
If the ectopic pregnancy is triggering heavy bleeding or the fallopian tube has burst, you might need emergency surgery through an abdominal cut (laparotomy). In many cases, the fallopian tube can be repaired. Usually, however, a burst tube must be removed.
Your doctor will monitor your HCG levels after surgery to be sure all the ectopic tissue was gotten rid of. If HCG levels do not come down quickly, an injection of methotrexate may be needed.
You cannot prevent an ectopic pregnancy, but you can reduce specific risk factors. For instance, restrict your number of sexual partners and use a prophylactic when you have sex to assist prevent sexually sent infections and minimize the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. Stopping cigarette smoking prior to you try to obtain pregnant might likewise reduce your risk.
Last modified: October 23, 2016