What is Ectopic Pregnancy?
Ectopic pregnancy is a condition where the fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. This abnormal pregnancy can have severe consequences if left untreated. In this article, we will explore the symptoms, causes, and treatment options available for ectopic pregnancy.
Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
The symptoms of ectopic pregnancy can vary from person to person. However, some common symptoms include vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, upset stomach, vomiting, sharp abdominal cramps, one-sided pain in the body, dizziness, fatigue, and pain in the shoulder, neck, and rectum. If you experience significant pain with heavy vaginal bleeding, lightheadedness, fainting, shoulder pain, or severe belly pain, especially on one side, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy
Several factors can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), smoking, age (above 35 years), sexually transmitted infections (STIs), scarring from pelvic surgery, a history of ectopic pregnancy, and the use of fertility drugs or treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Ectopic Pregnancy Ultrasound
To diagnose ectopic pregnancy, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam and blood tests to detect the presence of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Additionally, an ultrasound test can help to visualize the uterus and fallopian tubes in detail.
Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment
Ectopic pregnancy is not replaceable in the uterus, so it always requires treatment. The two methods used to treat ectopic pregnancy are medication and surgery.
Methotrexate is the most commonly used drug for treating ectopic pregnancy. It stops the cells from growing, which terminates the pregnancy. The implanted egg is then absorbed by the body over 4-6 weeks.
Emergency surgery is needed if the ectopic pregnancy has ruptured a tube. Sometimes surgery is required even if the fallopian tube is not ruptured. The ectopic pregnancy can be easily removed from the tube using a procedure called laparoscopy. This procedure uses a slender, lighted camera inserted through tiny cuts in the abdomen under general anesthesia.
Ectopic Pregnancy Recovery
Recovery from ectopic pregnancy can take several weeks, and follow-up appointments are required with each treatment option.
Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatment options can help individuals seek medical attention quickly and receive timely treatment.