An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to something other than the uterus. In these cases the egg typically implants in the fallopian tube. This is a very rare condition, and also an extremely dangerous one. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition.
Below we cover more details of this pregnancy complication, causes, and ectopic pregnancy symptoms. The symptoms can sometimes overlap with typical early pregnancy symptoms or PMS, but if you suspect you may have an ectopic pregnancy be on the safe side and see your doctor immediately.
What Is An Ectopic Pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy is commonly called “Tubal Pregnancy” and it occurs when the fertilized egg does not reach the cavity of the uterus. Most commonly it occurs in a fallopian tube but also may occur elsewhere, including in the abdomen or ovaries.
This type of pregnancy complication can be very dangerous because the out-of-place fertilized egg can cause internal ruptures. In this case the situation becomes an emergency where your life is in danger. Many women do not even know that they are pregnant when they have this condition.
WARNING: An Ectopic Pregnancy, or cornual pregnancy, is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical care.
What are some ectopic pregnancy symptoms?
Possible symptoms of tubal pregnancy include:
- Unusually early, late, missed or spotty period.
- Low abdominal pain. This can be intensely sharp or dull. This pain may be progressively worse in one side of the lower abdomen.
- Cramping on one side.
- Low back pain.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Other symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may include dizziness, nausea and shoulder, arm or chest pain.
What are the causes of an ectopic pregnancy?
There are several reasons why you may have an ectopic pregnancy. Some experts say that one of the most common causes is an inflammation of the fallopian tubes.
The tubes may be blocked after an inflammation. If this happens, there is a possibility that the egg cannot leave the tubes and you may have an ectopic pregnancy.
Some statistics indicate that around 50% of women who have had an ectopic pregnancy have had inflammation of the fallopian tubes in the past.
So be careful with any pelvic inflammation and be on the lookout for any ectopic pregnancy symptom.
There are other possible causes like:
- Surgery of the fallopian tubes.
- A previous ectopic pregnancy.
- Developmental defects in the tubes leading to a narrowing.
- Birth defects in the tubes “Endometriosis”.
- Complications of appendicitis.
- Cicatrisation from a prior pelvic surgery.
- Pregnancy at a later age.
If you use the intrauterine device (IUD) as birth control method and you become pregnant you may have an ectopic pregnancy. It is very unlikely, but it has happened.
How do I reduce the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy?
Keep in mind that any inflammation or surgery of the fallopian tubes can cause an ectopic pregnancy.
You should avoid sexual intercourse without protection that can cause sexually transmitted diseases.
If you have to undergo to a surgery in the fallopian tubes, and you want to get pregnant after that, be on the lookout for any ectopic pregnancy symptoms.
Are there any treatments for an ectopic pregnancy?
There are two ways to treat an ectopic pregnancy: surgical treatment and the medical treatment. However you should keep in mind that the goal of either of these two treatments is to save your life. Your pregnancy will be terminated.
Medical treatment consists of applying a drug called Methotrexate to stop the growth of cell division and to induce miscarriage. Your doctor will decide to apply this method if your pregnancy is less than 6 weeks and the size is less than 3.5 cm. If there is a risk of rupture, surgery will be needed.
Getting pregnant is a wonderful gift but you also must stay healthy in order to avoid complications during pregnancy. You should avoid conditions that can cause a Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
If your period is late and you suspect you are pregnant, you should keep an eye on any ectopic pregnancy symptoms. If you are experiencing the symptoms, immediately go to your doctor.