Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the uterus. It is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency treatment.

Usually, a fertilized egg travels from the Fallopian tubes to the uterus to attach itself. But in the case of ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg doesn’t attach to the uterus, it attaches to the fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix.

An untreated ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening because any structure other than the uterus cannot support pregnancy. It is not a pregnancy you can carry to term (till birth) and it can be dangerous for the mother if not treated right away.

Immediate treatment will reduce your risk of complications from the ectopic pregnancy, and increases your chances for a healthier pregnancy.

Causes And Risk Factor Of Ectopic Pregnancy.

Experts have not found a clear cause of this pregnancy, but the following can be linked with the pregnancy.

  • Multiple abortions.
  • Tubal ligation and ligation reversal, tying Fallopian tubes.
  • History of sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Smoking.
  • History of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Women older than 35 years.
  • History of endometriosis.
  • Scarring of Fallopian tubes from previous surgery.
  • Hormonal factors.
  • Choice of birth control, if you ever get pregnant with an IUD inside of you, it is more likely to be ectopic.
  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases.
  • Fertility treatment such as IVF.

Signs And Symptoms Of Ectopic Pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and you experience the following symptoms, do not hesitate to call your doctor.

  • Sharp abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Light or Heavy Vaginal bleeding
  • Shoulder pain
  • Painful bowel movement and urination.
  • Severe pains on one side of your abdomen
  • Dizziness.

Prevention Of Ectopic Pregnancy.

Reducing your risk factors is an effective way of preventing ectopic pregnancy, although prevention and prediction are not possible in every case.

  • Use protection during sex to reduce the risk of contracting an STD such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Visit your gynecologist regularly for pelvic exams and STD screening.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Go for contraceptive options with a lower risk of the pregnancy.
  • Treat STDs as soon as you are diagnosed, some STDs can increase your risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Treatments Available.

Medication

Doctors use a medication called methotrexate (Trexall), to treat early ectopic pregnancy without unstable bleeding. Methotrexate ceases the growth of the cell and dissolves existing cells. Your doctor will inject methotrexate into your body. Before the treatment, there must be a proper diagnosis that proves ectopic pregnancy.

Doctors recommend an HCG test after the treatment to determine how well the treatment is working, and if you need more medication.

Laparoscopic procedure

The two laparoscopic surgeries salpingectomy and salpingostomy are used to treat ectopic pregnancy sometimes.

During a laparoscopic procedure, your doctor makes a small incision in your navel area, in your abdomen. Your doctor will make use of a thin tube equipped with a camera lens and light (laparoscope) to view the tubal area.

If it is a salpingectomy surgery, your doctor will remove the pregnancy and the Fallopian tube.

When it is a salpingostomy, the doctor will remove the pregnancy and your doctor will let the tubes heal on their own.

The type of laparoscopic surgery you have depends on the amount of bleeding and damage and whether your Fallopian tube has ruptured.

Emergency surgery

If the ectopic pregnancy is advanced and causes heavy bleeding, an incision will be made on the abdomen, the pregnancy will be removed together with damaged fallopian tubes. If your fallopian tubes are still intact, the doctor will only remove the pregnancy.

Our Advice

Take a pregnancy test as soon as you miss your period, if you test positive, get a pelvic examination scan as soon as possible. This will help your doctor note the position of the fertilized egg. If the pregnancy is detected early, you won’t stand the risk of losing your Fallopian tube.

Don’t wait for symptoms before you check.

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