The most common causes of ectopic pregnancy are damage to, inflammation, or narrowing of the fallopian tubes.
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy in which a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus . According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, dislocation means ‘to occur in an abnormal location or in an unusual manner or form’. That’s what happens in an ectopic pregnancy. This article describes the causes, symptoms, and treatment of ectopic pregnancy.
The ‘abnormal’ locations where a fertilized egg can be implanted are:
- Fallopian tubes, the most common site
- where the fallopian tubes and the uterus meet
- one of the ovaries
Depending on where the egg is implanted, ectopic pregnancy is also known by other names. One of them is ‘fallopian tube pregnancy’, in which the egg settles in the fallopian tube.
There is also a ‘cervical pregnancy’, which is implanted in the neck or cervix of the uterus. It is also known as a peritoneal pregnancy, in which the egg settles in the abdomen.
None of these positions are suitable for fetal development. First, there is not enough room for the fetus to develop, and secondly, it does not have the trophic tissue necessary to provide nutrition.
Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy
The most common causes are damage, inflammation, or narrowing of the fallopian tubes. This makes it more difficult for the egg to move into the uterus, which is sometimes impossible. These issues can be brought about by a few elements.
One factor is the history of abdominal surgery. It can also be caused by a history of infections or conditions that have caused inflammation in the pelvic area. Or it could be due to a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Endometriosis can likewise be one more reason for an ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when cells inside the uterus begin to grow in other parts of the body.
There are other factors as well, such as being a smoker, being treated for infertility, or having had an ectopic pregnancy in the past.
Symptoms and signs of an ectopic pregnancy
Symptoms that indicate a possible ectopic pregnancy include:
Amenorrhea: If you become pregnant at the beginning of your menstrual cycle, you may not notice that you are not menstruating.
Pain or Vaginal Bleeding: Another reason you may not notice your absence.
Pain in the Pelvis, Abdomen, or Shoulders: The pain can be felt by stimulation of certain nerves due to the build-up of blood.
Dizziness, Nausea or Fainting: Caused by blood loss.
Low Blood Pressure: Associated with blood loss.
Increased Frequency of Urination: You may find that you urinate more often than usual.
How is an Ectopic Pregnancy Treated?
Treatment may depend on a variety of factors. One of the things to consider is the degree to which the pregnancy is progressing. The doctor also considers what damage the fallopian tubes may have and logically considers the severity of the symptoms. Needless to say, all these factors should be analyzed by a professional physician.
Sometimes when pregnancy is very early, doctors inject methotrexate to stop the embryo from growing.
As the pregnancy progresses, surgery to remove the abnormal pregnancy may be necessary. With modern technology, these dislocations can be removed laparoscopically as long as there is no serious organ damage.
Laparoscopic surgery is a method of inserting a video camera and necessary surgical tools through a small incision in the lower abdomen.
In this way, the doctor can remove the dislocation tissue and, if necessary, repair the organ damaged by an ectopic pregnancy. In the most severe cases, these organs may need to be removed.
It is possible that an ectopic pregnancy will stop on its own. It often occurs when symptoms are not very serious. However, blood tests (to measure the level of HCG in the blood) and ultrasound examinations require a specialist to closely monitor the mother’s condition.
Can an ectopic pregnancy be prevented?
It is basically impossible to prevent an ectopic pregnancy. This is a problem that can happen to any woman. However, you are more likely to develop an ectopic pregnancy if you are over the age of 35 or have had any of the aforementioned conditions.
If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. If you need treatment for an ectopic pregnancy, you need someone to share your feelings and experiences with.
If treatment is successful and there is no serious damage, a woman can have a perfectly normal pregnancy after an ectopic pregnancy.