The fertilized egg gets attached inside the uterus and grows and develops into a baby. However, if that does not happen then the pregnancy cannot sustain.
When the fertilized egg attaches itself not in the uterus but in some other place like in the fallopian tube, this leads to a pregnancy defect. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the fallopian tube and this is also the reason why it is called a tubal pregnancy. The fallopian tube is not designed to hold a growing embryo and thus prevents the fertilized egg from developing properly. This then needs to be treated.
Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms
A woman may experience normal signs of pregnancy; however, there could be a few symptoms that can help her find out if she is having an ectopic pregnancy:
Varying intensity of stabbing pain that comes in intervals. The pain can be felt in the abdominal area or on the pelvis. It can also be felt in the neck and shoulder
Heavier or lighter vaginal bleeding
Dizziness, weakness or fainting
In case the woman experiences any of these symptoms, she should rush to a doctor immediately.
Diagnosing ectopic pregnancy
A pelvic examination is done to locate the pain or tenderness or to check for amas in the abdomen. An ultrasound may be done to check if the uterus contains the developing fetus. The physician will also test the hCG and progesterone levels. A lower hCG and progesterone level can be a reason for ectopic pregnancy.
The doctor may also do a culdocentesis. In this process, a needle is inserted into space at the top of the vagina that is in front of the rectum and behind the uterus. In case there is any blood in the area it could be because of a rupture in the fallopian tube.
Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment
There are ways in which ectopic pregnancy can be treated:
·Methotrexate is given to the woman as it allows the body to absorb the pregnancy tissue and can save the fallopian tube. This is however dependent on how far the pregnancy has progressed.
·In case the fallopian tube has ruptured because of being stretched and has started bleeding then it may become necessary to remove a part of the full tube.
This may also require an emergency surgery as bleeding needs to be stopped. The doctor may even suggest a laparoscopic surgery under general anesthesia.
In this method, the surgeon will use a laparoscope to remove the pregnancy and removes or repair the fallopian tube. Another surgical method called laparotomy is done in case the ectopic pregnancy cannot be removed using the laparoscopic surgery method.
Causes of ectopic pregnancy
The causes of tubal pregnancy can be one of the following:
·Blocking of fallopian tube because of an inflammation or an infection
·Obstruction in the movement of the egg because of a previous surgery or a scar tissue
·Adhesions caused because of a previous surgery in the tubes or in the pelvic area
·Abnormality in the shape of the tube because of an abnormal growth or a birth defect
Patients at high risk of ectopic pregnancy
The risk of having an ectopic pregnancy is higher for women:
·Over 35 years of age
·Had a previous ectopic pregnancy
·Pelvic inflammation diseases
·Pervious abdominal or pelvic surgery
·Under fertility treatment or fertility medication
The chances of having a successful sign of pregnancy may be reduced for those who had a case of ectopic pregnancy. However, this is also dependent on why the pregnancy was ectopic and the medical history of the woman.