Ectopic Pregnancy: What you should know?

What is ectopic pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which the fertilised egg attaches itself anywhere outside the uterus and begins to develop. Mostly the fertilised egg attaches itself to the fallopian tube and starts growing. Therefore it is also called tubal pregnancy. Since the fallopian tube is not meant for serving the purpose, it can result in a complicated and risky pregnancy condition and therefore it needs immediate treatment.

How ectopic pregnancy occurs?

As you know, the egg from the ovary is released to the fallopian tube, and it stays for around 24 hours waiting for the sperm. Conception or fertilization happens when the female egg gets fertilised with the penetrated sperm. After fertilization it stays there for 3-4 days before moving to the uterus. During the time it may get attached to the lining of the fallopian tube and starts developing which is referred to as ectopic pregnancy.

Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy

It is difficult to find the exact cause of ectopic pregnancy in woman. It can occur if there is an infection or inflammation in the fallopian tube which may restrict the movement of the fertilised egg. The other reasons include:

  • Birth defects
  • Previous surgical adhesions
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • History of ectopic pregnancy
  • Use of fertility drugs
  • Treatment for Infertility
  • Failed Tubal Ligation procedure
  • Inflammation in the endometrium
  • Repeated abortions
  • Delayed pregnancy after 40 years

Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy will not show any visible symptoms in the first few days, which makes it difficult to recognise. It happens during the initial days after fertilisation. The common symptoms that may occur are:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Vaginal discharge in light red colour
  • Body pain especially in shoulders, neck, back etc
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting

Sometimes, the pregnancy may result in the rupturing of the fallopian tube. This will create heavy vaginal bleeding along with abdominal pain. You should seek immediate medical help in such condition.

Diagnosis of Ectopic Pregnancy

The doctor will do an abdominal examination to locate the pain, tenderness, etc, and suggest you an ultrasound to know the position of the foetal growth. Once ectopic pregnancy is confirmed, it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Complications in Ectopic Pregnancy

Pregnancy outside the uterus can lead to different complications. Ectopic pregnancy can lead to the rupture of the fallopian tube, causing an internal bleeding. It can be a life-threatening condition and needs medical care soon.

Treatment for Ectopic Pregnancy

In the initial stage of ectopic pregnancy, if the fallopian tube is not ruptured, the tissues can be prevented from growing further through an injection. The doctor will advise a Laparoscopic Surgery or laparotomy in later stages of ectopic pregnancy. In case the fallopian tube is damaged, the doctor will remove it though a laparoscopic surgery.  If the fallopian tube is ruptured causing severe internal bleeding, you may have to undergo an emergency laparotomy.