When a fertilised egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. The fallopian tube, unlike the uterus, is not designed to contain a growing embryo and cannot extend. The mother may have bleeding as a result of this condition. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that necessitates immediate medical attention.
1. Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy
2. Signs and Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
3. Treatment of Ectopic Pregnancy
Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy
The causes of ectopic pregnancy are not always evident. Ectopic pregnancy is most commonly caused by disorders that impede or prevent the egg from moving down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. The following conditions, however, have been associated with ectopic pregnancy in some cases:
- Hormonal factors
- Genetic abnormalities
- Birth defects
- Inflammation and scarring of the fallopian tubes from a previous medical condition
- Medical conditions that affect the shape and condition of the fallopian tubes and reproductive organs
Signs and Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
At first, you may not notice any symptoms. Some women with an ectopic pregnancy, however, experience the typical early signs and symptoms of pregnancy, such as missed periods, breast soreness, and nausea.
Signs and symptoms become increasingly noticeable when the fertilised egg grows in the wrong area. Both ectopic and uterine pregnancies can cause nausea and breast soreness. In an ectopic pregnancy, the following symptoms are more common and can cause a medical emergency:
- Light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain
- Upset stomach and vomiting
- Sharp abdominal cramps
- Pain on one side of the body
- Dizziness or weakness
- Pain in abdomen, pelvis, shoulder, or neck
- Rectal pressure
The fallopian tube can even burst or rupture as a result of an ectopic pregnancy. Severe pain, with or without substantial bleeding, is one of the emergency symptoms. If you experience significant vaginal bleeding with dizziness, fainting, shoulder discomfort or severe abdominal pain, especially on one side, call your doctor straight away.
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Treatment of Ectopic Pregnancy
As a fertilised egg can’t survive outside of the uterus, you will need to have it removed to prevent significant health complications. Medicine or surgery can be used to treat ectopic pregnancy.
Your doctor can give you a dose of methotrexate if your fallopian tube hasn’t ruptured and your pregnancy isn’t far along. It prevents the cells from multiplying. They will be absorbed by your body.
After using this medicine, surgery is rarely required. The chances of fallopian tube damage associated with methotrexate are lower than those associated with surgery. However, you won’t be able to conceive for several months after using this medicine.
In some circumstances, surgery may be required. Laparoscopy is the most common procedure for this. To remove the ectopic pregnancy, your doctor will make small cuts in your lower belly and insert a laparoscope.
The doctor may have to remove your fallopian tube as well if it is damaged. If you’re bleeding profusely or your doctor detects a ruptured fallopian tube, you may require emergency surgery which will remove the embryo and repair the internal damage with a larger cut. The medical term used for this procedure is laparotomy.
After surgery, your doctor will provide you with precise instructions on how to take care for your incisions. The most important thing to remember is to keep your incisions clean and dry while they heal. Also check for indications of infection on a daily basis.
After surgery, you can expect some light vaginal bleeding and little blood clots. This can happen anywhere from six weeks to a year following your treatment. You should avoid lifting heavy weights, drink plenty of water, refrain from sexual activity or using tampons for some time and rest as much as possible after the surgery.
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