Ectopic Pregnancy Meaning: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Ectopic Pregnancy Meaning: What You Need to Know
What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy? An ectopic pregnancy, also known as a tubal pregnancy, occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus, such as in the fallopian tubes or ovaries. A fertilized egg can’t successfully implant itself outside of the uterus since it needs to be in the mother’s body in order to develop normally. Since ectopic pregnancies can’t grow and remain at risk of rupturing, they must be treated as soon as possible in order to prevent any complications from occurring, including potential maternal death.
The meaning of ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus. The most common location for an ectopic pregnancy is in the fallopian tubes, but it can also occur in the ovaries, cervix, or abdominal cavity. If not treated immediately, an ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening for the mother. The most common symptom of an ectopic pregnancy is pelvic pain. Other symptoms may include vaginal bleeding, shoulder pain, and dizziness.
The cause of ectopic pregnancy
There are a few different possible causes of ectopic pregnancy, but the most common is when the fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus. This can happen if there is damage to the fallopian tubes or if they are not properly functioning. Other causes include endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or a history of tubal surgery. In some rare cases, it may be due to a congenital abnormality.
The signs and symptoms of ectopic pregnancy
One of the most common signs of ectopic pregnancy is pelvic pain. You may also experience abdominal pain, shoulder pain, or light vaginal bleeding. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fainting. If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to contact your healthcare provider right away. The ectopic pregnancy treatment options are surgery or medication. Surgery can be done with laparoscopy (minimally invasive) surgery where they will remove the embryo from the fallopian tube by inserting a laparoscope through a small incision in your abdomen. Medication can be given intravenously that causes an abortion within 24 hours after taking the medication.
How to diagnose ectopic pregnancy
If you think you might have an ectopic pregnancy, it's important to see a doctor right away. They will likely do a pelvic exam and an ultrasound to check for signs of ectopic pregnancy. If the embryo is growing in your fallopian tube, you may also have a rise in hCG levels and experience pain in your lower abdomen. Sometimes the pain can feel like a cramp or sharp stabbing sensation. The most common sign of ectopic pregnancy is bleeding from the vagina. Bleeding that lasts longer than 10 minutes could be an indication that you're experiencing ectopic pregnancy symptoms.
Ectopic pregnancies are treated with surgery to remove the fetus, which can usually be done laparoscopically by removing tissue through small incisions in your abdomen instead of open surgery.
Treatments for Ectopic Pregnancy
If you think you might be experiencing ectopic pregnancy symptoms, it's important to seek medical help right away. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition that can't be ignored.
The main treatment options are:
Expectant Management – your condition is carefully monitored to see whether treatment is necessary
Medication – a medicine called methotrexate is used to stop the pregnancy growing
Surgery – surgery is used to remove the pregnancy, usually along with the affected fallopian tube.