Ectopic pregnancy

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Ectopic pregnancy is a rare pathologic process of fetus development outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy is a threat to a woman’s life, because it is accompanied by the risk of tissue rupture and bleeding. Learn more about ectopic pregnancy signs and symptoms, as well as possible risk factors.

Ectopic pregnancy

In rare cases, the fertilized egg is not implanted in the uterus, but beyond. In most such cases, the egg is implanted in the fallopian (uterine) tubes, rarely in the ovary, and sometimes in the abdominal cavity. Ectopic or tubal pregnancy is the most serious gynecological disease that requires urgent medical intervention.

If the embryo is implanted outside the uterine cavity, there is not enough space, nor necessary means of nutrition for its growth and development. Fallopian tubes are too narrow for a rapidly growing fetus, so there is a risk of damage and rupture. The rapid growth of the embryo can rupture the organ in which it is implanted, which causes profuse bleeding. This endangers a pregnant woman’s life.

The probability of tubal ectopic pregnancy

Women that were taking means to improve fertility and stimulate ovulation have a higher risk of ectopic tubal pregnancy. Pelvic inflammatory disease in the past also increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy, because of inflammation there may appear adhesions on fallopian tubes, and passing through them can be difficult. This may prevent a fertilized egg from moving to the uterus. Any surgery on the fallopian tubes or pregnancy after tubal ligation increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Endometriosis is another risk factor for ectopic pregnancy.

Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy

It is often difficult to recognize ectopic pregnancy symptoms at an early stage. Sharp stabbing pain in the abdomen or pelvis - this is the first sign of probable ectopic pregnancy. Other symptoms: low blood pressure, dizziness or fainting.

Vaginal bleeding - another common symptom of ectopic pregnancy. If you notice one or more of the above symptoms, you should immediately contact a doctor, because internal bleeding is possible. Fallopian tubes rupture may be accompanied by bleeding, causing unbearable pain and scar tissue formation. This can affect a woman’s reproductive health and complicate a future pregnancy.

Diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is usually diagnosed on 8 - 10 weeks of pregnancy. Future placenta, from the first day of its existence, secretes a specific chorionic hormone that blocks function of ovaries to develop the next egg, thus preventing a secondary pregnancy. Often ectopic pregnancy can be diagnosed through chorionic hormone and progesterone content in blood. As a rule, in case of tubal pregnancy, chorionic hormone level in blood decreases. Ultrasonography of the pelvis will show the exact location of fetus and presence of ectopic pregnancy.

Laparoscopy also helps to determine the precise location of tubal pregnancy. If ectopic pregnancy does not end with an arbitrary miscarriage, they use certain drugs to remove placenta, for example, methotrexate. This treatment should be applied only when ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed at an early period. Surgical intervention is used when ectopic pregnancy has already gone far enough.

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