Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. This can happen in the fallopian tube, ovary, cervix, or any other organ within the pelvic and abdominal organs. Most ectopic pregnancies lead to immediate complications and can be life-threatening for the mother. If you think you may be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, it is important to seek medical help right away.
Reasons for Ectopic Pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg is implanted in a location outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Fallopian tube damage, pelvic inflammatory disease, surgery, scar tissue, endometriosis or a previous ectopic pregnancy can cause this. The chances of ectopic pregnancy increase if a woman becomes pregnant while using a contraceptive-coil or a progestogen-only contraceptive pill. Even in-vitro fertilization is known to be ectopic sometimes, even though the ovum is placed directly into the womb. The ovum may be able to implant in the fallopian tubes or another location outside the uterus.
One of the first signs of ectopic pregnancy is typically pain on one side of the abdomen. This pain can be severe and constant, and it often comes on suddenly. Another sign of ectopic pregnancy is pain in the shoulder, which usually intensifies when breathing in and out. Additionally, pain while using the bathroom may also indicate an ectopic pregnancy. Other common symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, lightheadedness, paleness, collapse, falling blood pressure, and vaginal bleeding or unusual periods.
An ectopic pregnancy can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are often the same as those of a normal pregnancy, such as tender breasts, nausea, frequent urination, missed period, and vomiting. However, if you notice any of the signs discussed above, you should consult your physician immediately.
The most reliable way to detect an ectopic pregnancy is through an ultrasound. However, a positive result on a specialized HCG blood test may also indicate an ectopic pregnancy. Additionally, an internal pelvic examination can reveal that the womb is smaller in an ectopic pregnancy than in a normal pregnancy at the same stage of pregnancy. Finally, a swelling may also be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.
Most ectopic pregnancies are now detectable through advances in technology, and can be treated with laparoscopy, laprotomy, or other medical interventions. However, if left untreated, ectopic pregnancies can be fatal to the mother.
If you have experienced an ectopic pregnancy, it is likely that you will have successful pregnancies in the future. Experts recommend waiting for several cycles before attempting to become pregnant again. Most women who have had ectopic pregnancies go on to have healthy pregnancies when they try again.