Ectopic pregnancy is a condition when a pregnancy develops outside of the uterus, generally in the fallopian tube. Although ectopic pregnancies are rare, they can lead to serious issues. Therefore, ectopic pregnancies need to be treated as soon as possible. Read on to learn more about this condition.
What Is An Ectopic Pregnancy?
A normal pregnancy occurs inside the uterus after the fertilised egg moves through the fallopian tube and attaches to the uterine lining. In an ectopic pregnancy, a fertilised egg implants in the fallopian tube. It is also called a tubal pregnancy. Doctors believe that it can also develop in the belly or ovary. However, this condition is rare.
However, in an ectopic pregnancy, a fertilised egg will not be able to survive. If an ectopic pregnancy is not treated in time, the growing tissue can lead to bleeding and other severe health issues.
How Serious Are Ectopic Pregnancies?
Ectopic pregnancies are a serious health issue; you should consult your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms. Your uterus is the only place that can hold a developing fetus. This organ can expand and stretch. However, the fallopian tubes are not that flexible. When a fertilised egg develops, the tubes burst, leading to life-threatening internal bleeding. Ectopic pregnancies must be treated immediately to prevent injury to the fallopian tubes and organs in the abdominal cavity and avoid death.
Causes of Ectopic Pregnancies
The major causes of ectopic pregnancies are not always clear. Doctors suggest the following conditions may lead to an ectopic pregnancy.
· Congenital disabilities
· Hormonal factors
· Inflammation of the fallopian tube due to previous surgery or medical condition
· Genetic abnormalities
· Abnormal development of a fertilised egg
You should consult your doctor to get more information about your condition.
Understanding Risk Factors
Multiple risk factors can increase a woman's chance of developing this condition. Some factors that can increase your chances of having an ectopic pregnancy are:
· Infection or Inflammation
As per the experts, different sexually transmitted infections, like chlamydia or gonorrhoea, can develop inflammation in fallopian tubes and other nearby organs, increasing the risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy.
Studies have found that smoking cigarettes before pregnancy can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancies. The more one smokes, the higher the risk.
· Tubal Surgery
Surgery to treat an infected or closed fallopian tube can also trigger the risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy.
· Previous Ectopic Pregnancy
If you have previously had an ectopic pregnancy, you may develop another.
· Fertility Treatments
Studies have found that women undergoing In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or other treatments are at higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Infertility is also a major cause of ectopic pregnancies.
· Use of Birth Control
While using an Intrauterine Device (IU), the chances of getting pregnant are very low. If you still get pregnant using an IUD, it is more likely to be an ectopic pregnancy. Tubal ligation increases the risk.
Health experts state that the risk can increase with age, and women above 35 are at a higher risk than women below 35.
Are There Any Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy?
Studies have found that early symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are similar to those of a normal pregnancy. However, one may experience additional symptoms such as:
· Weakness or dizziness
· Pain in the lower back, pelvis, or the lower abdomen
· Vaginal bleeding
When the tube ruptures, the bleeding and pain can be very severe and can lead to additional symptoms, including:
· Shoulder pain
· Hypotension or low blood pressure
· Rectal pressure
When the fallopian tube bursts, women will experience sharp lower abdominal pain. In such cases, they should call their doctor as soon as possible.
Diagnosis of an Ectopic Pregnancy
Your doctor will conduct multiple tests to determine if you have an ectopic pregnancy. These tests may include a blood test to know the levels of the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hCG hormone, a urine test and an ultrasound exam. Once confirmed, your doctor will suggest the best treatment option.
Treatment For an Ectopic Pregnancy
Your doctor may prescribe a medicine called methotrexate that can prevent the growth of an ectopic pregnancy. This is a less invasive option compared to surgery. Get your blood regularly tested to ensure the drug works. Sometimes, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove the embryo. This is called a laparotomy. If the fallopian tube is damaged, your doctor will remove it.
Although you cannot completely prevent an ectopic pregnancy, you can lower the chances of having one by following a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors before getting pregnant.
As per the doctors, if not treated in time, the fetus may take around 6 to 15 weeks to rupture the fallopian tube.
In most cases, the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy can be noticed between the 3rd and 11th week of the pregnancy. Some may take more time to develop the symptoms.
It can lead to bursts open of the fallopian tube, and women may suffer from life-threatening bleeding. Consult your doctor to begin treatment as soon as possible.
One of the most effective ways to detect an ectopic pregnancy is by conducting a transvaginal ultrasound test or through hysteroscopy.
No, it is not possible to move this to your uterus. You need to treat it immediately to avoid complications.