- by Kubra Maternity and Nursing Home
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- Mar 01 2018
KNOW ALL ABOUT AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY
An ectopic pregnancy is a condition that results in a fertilized egg implanting outside the uterus.
Most ectopic pregnancy occur when the egg implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus and continues to develop there. This can happen due to the following reasons:
- Infection or inflammation in the fallopian tube, making it partially or entirely blocked
- Scar tissue left over from a previous infection or a surgical procedure on the tube
- Adhesions caused due to a previous surgery in the pelvic area or on the tubes
- Hormonal imbalances or abnormal development of the fertilised egg
Although any woman can have an ectopic pregnancy, there are certain risk factors that may increase the chances of such a pregnancy in some women. Some of these risk factors include:
- A higher maternal age ranging between 35-44 years
- A past ectopic pregnancy
- Pelvic or abdominal surgery
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Previous abortions
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Fertility treatments such as an IVF or fertility medications
- Conceiving through a tubal ligation
- Scarring from a previous pelvic surgery
- Getting pregnant while an IUD is in place
An ectopic pregnancy has the symptoms resembling a normal pregnancy. Although, some symptoms that may help recognise a potential ectopic pregnancy include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pelvic pain
- Sharp or stabbing abdominal cramps
- Dizziness, Fainting and weakness
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Pain in one side of the body
- Pain in the shoulder, neck or rectum
An ectopic pregnancy could be difficult to diagnose. If you complain of an abdominal or pelvic pain during your pre natal visit, your doctor may suspect an ectopic pregnancy. A pelvic exam will be conducted to locate pain, tenderness or a mass in the abdomen. An ultrasound will be conducted to determine if the uterus has a developing foetus. HCG levels could be measured to check if it is lower than expected.
Your doctor could also check your progesterone levels as low levels could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. Another procedure, known as culdocentesis, involves inserting a needle at the very top of the vagina, behind the uterus and in front of the rectum to check for bleeding from a ruptured fallopian tube.
Sometimes, it may not be clear if you have an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. In that case, a surgical procedure, called dilation and curettage (D&C), could be done to remove any tissue in your uterus or conduct a laparoscopic surgery to examine your tubes.
Once an ectopic pregnancy has been diagnosed, your doctor will check how far along you are in the pregnancy and treatment will be based on that.
A fertilised egg can’t develop outside of the uterus and thus the ectopic tissue would need to be removed, in order to prevent any future complications. Ectopic surgery could be treated in the following ways.
- Medication: If the fallopian tube hasn’t ruptured yet and you are not very far along in the pregnancy, your doctor will give you an injection. This will stop the cell growth.
- Surgery: Laparoscopy or Laparotomy could be conducted to remove the ectopic pregnancy and the affected fallopian tube.
An ectopic pregnancy doesn’t mean that you can’t have a normal pregnancy in the future. It is important to detect the cause of the ectopic pregnancy to avoid complications with future pregnancies.
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