An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg gets attached to a place other than within the uterine lining. Mostly, all the ectopic pregnancies happen in the Fallopian tube, and are, therefore, at times known as tubal pregnancies.
The Fallopian tubes are not meant or intended for holding a growing embryo or a fetus. Therefore, the fertilized egg in an ectopic pregnancy or a tubal pregnancy is not able to develop in a proper manner and needs treatment. A tubal pregnancy occurs in one in about 50 pregnancies.
Ectopic pregnancy causes
The ectopic pregnancies may happen because of the following reasons:
- The Fallopian tubes may be afflicted with inflammation or develop an infections, like Gonorrhea or Chalmydia, resulting in their blockage, partially or wholly.
- The presence of scar tissue that may have come from a prior infection or a surgical operation on the tube may also obstruct the movement of the fertilized egg.
- Earlier surgery on the tube or in the pelvic area may have caused adhesions.
- An inborn defect or unusual growths may cause abnormality in the shape of the Fallopian tube.
Risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy
The following are the main risk factors for developing an ectopic pregnancy:
- In case you are above 35 years of age
- History of developing ectopic pregnancy
- History of abdominal or pelvic surgery
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Many induced abortions
- Achieving conception after undergoing ligation
- Presence of an Intrauterine Device (IUD)
- Smoking habit
- Heavy consumption of Alcohol
- Presence of Endometriosis
- Use of fertility drugs or going through infertility treatments
Ectopic pregnancy symptoms
Though you may be experiencing usual pregnancy symptoms, some other symptoms may be useful in recognizing a prospective ectopic pregnancy:
- Piercing and sharp pain coming and going and variable in force. (The pain might be in the stomach, pelvic area, or even in your neck and shoulders. This happens because of the blood accumulation from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy below the diaphragm).
- Lighter or heavier menstrual bleeding than your usual periods
- Symptoms of Gastrointestinal
- Fainting, weakness, or dizziness
Consulting your doctor becomes imperative and urgent, in case you happen to experience a piercing pain that lasts longer a minute or bleeding.
Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnosis
- Your doctor may identify the presence of an ectopic pregnancy by performing a pelvic examination for establishing pain, softness or an accumulated mass in your abdomen.
- Your doctor may also perform an ultrasound for determining whether the uterus is holding a growing fetus.
- The levels of hCG are also relevant. If the hCG levels are found to be less than estimated, it is one of the reasons to conclude the presence of an ectopic pregnancy.
- Your doctor may also like to examine the levels of progesterone as the stumpy levels signify the presence of an ectopic pregnancy.
- Apart from this, your doctor may perform a culdocentesis. This is a method that entails introducing a needle in the upper top portion of the vagina, in the rear of the uterus, facing the rectum. The blood presence in this region signifies bleeding of a bursting Fallopian tube.
Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment
An ectopic pregnancy can be treated in the following manners:
- The female holding an ectopic pregnancy is given Methotrexate. It helps the body in absorbing the pregnancy tissue and saving the Fallopian tube. But the treatment with Methotrexate will depend on how much the pregnancy has progressed.
- In case the Fallopian tube has lengthened or has developed ruptures and oozing blood, a part or the entire tube may require removal. In such a case, first of all, the bleeding requires immediate attention and needs to be stopped. Besides, you may require an emergency surgical operation.
- Another option is performing a laparoscopy procedure. In this procedure, the woman is given general anesthesia and the surgeon uses a laparoscope for not only removing the ectopic pregnancy, but also repairing or removing the Fallopian tube that has been affected. In case the ectopic pregnancy cannot be eliminated with the help of laparoscopy, one more surgical operation, known as laparotomy is performed.
Your future after the ectopic pregnancy treatment
In case your Fallopian tubes are not removed wholly, the hCG levels in your body require regular monitoring until the levels reach zero level. In case the hCG levels in your body remain high, it points to the presence of ectopic tissue that have not been completely removed. In such a case, you may require a surgical operation or which would require surgery or management with the help of Methotrexate.
After the ectopic pregnancy, the chances of achieving a successful pregnancy get reduced. But, that will depend on your medical history and reasons of ectopic pregnancy. In case the Fallopian tubes are kept intact, you have near about 60 percent chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.