Ectopic pregnancy also known as tubal or extrauterine pregnancy, is when a zygote implants outside the uterus. The implantation can be in the ovaries, cervix, abdominal cavity or fallopian tube. Fallopian tube implantation is the commonest (tubal pregnancy).
The uterus is specially designed to stretch and accommodate the developing foetus unlike other organs. As such, implantation outside the uterus can lead to bleeding in the mother. An ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency treatment.
Signs And Symptoms Of Ectopic Pregnancy
At first, ectopic pregnancy has the same signs and symptoms as a normal pregnancy. This makes some not to know, but an ectopic pregnancy can’t continue as normal.
As the fertilized egg grows in the improper place, signs and symptoms become more noticeable.
- Light to heavy vaginal bleeding a brown watery discharg
- Tommy or Abdominal pain (always one sided)
- Dizziness or weakness
- Pain in shoulder tip
- Discomfort when peeing or pooing.
Causes Of Ectopic Pregnancy
The cause of an ectopic pregnancy, comes from any factor that prevents or slows down the movement of the fertilized egg to the uterus. Some of these factors may include;
- Inflammation and scarring of the fallopian tubes from a previous medical condition, infection, or surgery
- Genetic abnormalities
- Medical conditions that affect the shape and condition of the fallopian tubes and reproductive organs
- Birth Defects
Risk Factors That Increases The Chances Of Ectopic Pregnancy
Some of the following lifestyles or factors increase a woman’s chance of not having a normal pregnancy;
- A woman’s age above 35
- Have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Uses fertility drugs or Had fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF)
- History of Ectopic Pregnancy
- Had a tubal ligation or conception occurred despite tubal ligation or intrauterine device (IUD)
- Had endometriosis
- Multiple abortions
- Abdominal or pelvic surgeries
- History of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Diagnosis Of Ectopic Pregnancy
This is carried out by blood hormone test or pelvic ultrasound.
Treatment Of Ectopic Pregnancy
Treatment options for ectopic pregnancy include both surgery and medication.
Medication: At the early stage if noticed, drugs like methotrexate can be administered, which stops the cell from growing. Then the body can absorb it or symptoms that are similar to that of a miscarriage will occur if effective.
Surgery: sometimes surgeries may be an emergency treatment to save the mother. The most common is laparoscopy. The doctor will make a very small cuts in your lower belly and insert a thin, flexible tube called a laparoscope to remove the ectopic pregnancy. If your fallopian tube is damaged, they may have to remove it as well.
If you’re bleeding a lot or your doctor suspects that your fallopian tube is ruptured, you might need emergency surgery with a larger cut. This is called laparotomy.
Prevention of Ectopic Pregnancy
Prevention is not clearly possible, but is important to practice a healthy sexual and lifestyle habits. Which includes;
- Limiting the number of sexual partners.
- Always use condoms during sex to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
- Avoid smoking.
- Maintain a good weight and diet.