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Ectopic Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Ectopic pregnancy is rare but is very dangerous. An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants itself anywhere outside the womb; usually it implants itself in one of the tubes. In this situation, the embryo will not be developed into a baby as the Fallopian tubes are not large enough to support the growth of the baby. Ectopic pregnancy causes as the damaged Fallopian tubes prevent the egg from reaching the uterus. In most of the cases,  it is difficult to diagnose in the early stage of pregnancy as initial ectopic pregnancy symptoms are the same as a normal pregnancy. The ectopic pregnancy treatment needs to start soon after the diagnosis as untreated ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening for the mother.

What is Ectopic Pregnancy?

Dr. Vinni Kaur Gynecologist & IVF Specialist explained that: “In normal pregnancies, the baby is developed from embryo inside your uterus, after a fertilized egg travels through Fallopian tubes and attach to your uterine linings. The fertilized egg attaches somewhere else such as Fallopian tubes, ovaries and somewhere else in the abdomen.”
If left untreated, it can pose some major health issues to the pregnant woman. The Fallopian tubes can break if stretched much with the growing pregnancy. This will cause internal bleeding, infection and sometimes death.

Ectopic Pregnancy Causes:

There is not a sure ectopic pregnancy cause this is the reason there is no obvious risk factor in half of the cases. But you are more likely to have it if you have one of the following risk factors:

  1. Previous ectopic pregnancy– risks of second time are 15-20% higher in the second time.
  2. Pelvic inflammatory disease– an infection in female reproductive organs caused by having sex with a person infected with Chlamydia.
  3. Previous surgeries – Previous pelvic or abdominal surgery, such as removal of an ovarian cyst
  4. Pregnancy after reversal of tubal ligation – tubal ligation reversal is a surgery that will reopen or untie your Fallopian tubes you can conceive. Around one-third of women who become pregnant after tubal ligation reversal face.
  5. STI – history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
  6. Endometriosis – women with endometriosis are at a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy. The scar tissues formed due to endometriosis may interfere with the ability of the fertilized egg reach the uterus.
  7. Getting pregnant with an IUD or IUS it is rare to get pregnant with these contraceptives but if you do then you are more likely to have it.
  8. Age 35 or over – Risk of ectopic pregnancy increases steadily with age.
  9. Cigarette smoking– greater the exposure to smoking, higher risk. Women who smoke have a 5 to 20 higher risk of ectopic pregnancy than women who do not smoke.
  10. Prior c-section– prior c-section scar can also an causes.

 

Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms:

Ectopic pregnancy is hard to diagnose as early ectopic pregnancy symptoms are same as normal pregnancy including missed periods, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or frequent urination. But there are some warning that indicate you are in trouble. Such as:

  • One-sided Abdominal Pain – You may experience pain in typically one side of yours. This pain can be persistent and severe.
  • Vaginal bleeding – Vaginal bleeding is different from your regular type of menstrual bleeding. This bleeding often starts and stops, and can be bright or dark red in color. Many times when a woman is not aware of if she is pregnant, this bleeding is misunderstood by the regular period and that causes serious issues.
  • Shoulder tip pain – This pain is felt where the shoulder ends and the arm begins. This pain occurs when you lay down.
  • Bowel pain – A severe pain felt while urinating.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting – it is often associated with diarrhea and vomiting.

Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnosis

If you face any of the above warning symptoms of Ectopic pregnancy you need your doctor’s help. It is not easy to diagnose until you go for an ultrasound in your routine checkup. An ultrasound can tell you the exact position of the developing fetus. But it needs to be noticed that it is hard to see the pregnancy through ultrasound before 5 weeks of your last menstrual period.

Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment

An ectopic pregnancy will not survive because a fertilized egg can’t grow fully outside your uterus. Ectopic pregnancy treatment is very important soon after it is diagnosed because if it is left untreated it could be more harmful. There are two available options  i.e. medicine or surgery:

1.Medicine –

Your doctor will give you medicine called methotrexate. This medicine will end. The fertilized egg’s cell stop growing and your body will absorb the cells that have already developed. This doesn’t damage the Fallopian tubes.

2.Surgery –

In the surgical method, the pregnancy is terminated using a procedure called laparoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut near the belly button and removes the pregnancy. This is done by a surgical tool with a tiny camera to see inside the body. This the most common treatment. In some cases this surgery causes scarring in the fallopian tube, thus a piece of the fallopian tube is needed to be removed.

Getting Pregnant after Ectopic Pregnancy
It is also like an early pregnancy loss and pregnancy losses are always hard to cope up with. But having this does put you at risk for having another one, but the good news is more than half of all women who have it can go on to have one or more healthy pregnancies in the future.

Your chances of having a successful pregnancy always depend on your overall health and the condition of your fallopian tubes. If you cannot conceive in the normal way then fertility treatment such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) may be an option. IVF treatment is where an egg is fertilized by a sperm outside the womb (usually in a test tube) and, after fertilization, the embryo is surgically implanted into the womb.

At Indira IVF and fertility center, our fertility experts are keen to help and resolve all your queries related to ectopic pregnancy and infertility. You can book your appointment for a free consultation now.

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