What Is Ectopic Pregnancy? Causes, Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment Options for This Pregnancy Complication
Ectopic Pregnancy (Photo Credit: Pexels) For representational purposes only.

One of the leading cause of maternal death in early pregnancies is . Occurring amongst the sexually active women of the reproductive age, this fatal pregnancy complication is one of the rising concerns among women opting for pregnancy. A 2011 study believes that, in the developed world countries, about 1% and 2% of all reported pregnancies are ectopic pregnancies and that such incidences are more common in the developing countries. Risk factors like pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal surgeries, intrauterine device, infertility, sexually transmitted infections are associated with ectopic pregnancy. How To Get Pregnant: 7 Things That Will Help You Conceive Faster

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What is Ectopic Pregnancy?

Pregnancies that are normal have the fertilised egg moves from the fallopian tube into the uterus, where the pregnancy develops, however, in a few cases the embryo may be implant fertilised ovum implants outside the normal uterine cavity. This occurrence is called ectopic pregnancy. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common causes of morbidity and occasionally of mortality in women of reproductive age. A study says that the of ectopic pregnancy remains uncertain however there exists a set of risk factors. Pregnancy Tips: Here Are Dietician-Recommended Healthy Foods Mothers-to-Be Must Add in Their Diet. 

Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy

  • Adnexal infections or tubal surgery- Such surgeries and infections can damage the fallopian tubes, and abnormal fallopian tubes may put you at a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Prior tubal surgery-  Surgeries such as tubal sterilisation may put you at the risk of Ectopic pregnancy.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)-This type of infection in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and nearby pelvic structures can increase your risk of Ectopic pregnancy. This infection can also be transmitted sexually.
  • Infertility and infertility treatment-Various infertility treatments may act as a risk factor for ectopic pregnancy.
  • Previous ectopic pregnancy: You may be at a 12% higher risk of developing a repeat ectopic pregnancies.
  • Previous pelvic or abdominal surgery- Surgeries around the pelvic area or the lower abdominal are may put you at the risk of Ectopic pregnancy.
  • Endometriosis- Endometriosis, tubal surgery and pelvic surgery may cause pelvic and tubal adhesions. They may also cause abnormal tubal function.

Other risk factors include-

  • Cigarette smoking- Regular smoking may affect ciliary action within the fallopian tubes.
  • Heterotopic pregnancy- A rare situation-Heterotopic pregnancy- when there is an intra-uterine and extra-uterine pregnancy occurring concurrently.
  • DES- If the mother of the woman during a pregnancy has been exposed to the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES.)

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Ectopic pregnancy diagnosis

Diagnosing ectopic pregnancies can sometimes be difficult. However, diagnosis relies on a combination of ultrasound scanning. However, your doctor may first examine your pelvic area for him to identify areas of pain, or a mass in the fallopian tube or ovary.

Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms

The symptoms of Ectopic pregnancy differ in different women, and sometimes the ectopic pregnancy can even be asymptomatic. However, the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy should be known by all women at the reproductive age who are sexually active. Here are a few common signs of ectopic pregnancy.

1. Vaginal bleeding: While this symptom may also be associated with miscarriages and other pregnancy complication as well but if you see any sort of bleeding during your pregnancy, it is advised that you see your doctor without any delay. However, the blood may look different from the average period bleeding and may happen around the time of your period or a few weeks after missed periods. The blood may look darker than usual.

2. Abdominal or pelvic pain is felt in the lower abdomen- If you suffer from pain for no apparent reason, then you must immediately see your doctor. The pain may also come gradually over several days and can be sharp, sudden without relief. It may sometimes only occur on only one side. However, it may also be a symptom of other pregnancy complication.

While these two are the most significant symptoms, some women have also faced these lesser prominent symptoms.

1. Weakness, dizziness- Some women may feel weak upto an extent of fainting because of blood loss since the fallopian tube ruptures and causes internal bleeding.

2. Shoulder pain- Another strange symptom could be Shoulder pain usually because of a collection of blood from the ruptured tube may move into the abdomen under the diaphragm. This may also cause the pain to worsen during lying down.

3. Rectal pressure or pain on defecation- The pain can be increasingly felt while you poop due to the rupture in the tube.

4. Collapse- Due to excessive blood loss not identified earlier, the collapse may across as the first sign of ectopic pregnancy. However, it should be deemed an emergency situation urgent medical attention should be sought.

Treatment for Ectopic Pregnancy

Treatment options may vary from medications, Expectant management to surgery. The treatment option is chosen in accordance with the complication faced by the women. Usually, the surgery options suggested are Laparoscopy, Laparotomy, Salpingostomy, Salpingectomy, etc. according to the condition of your ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy may be complicated to deal with but awareness and quick response to the problem can help ease your pregnancy and even protect your health in future.