Life goes on. Humans’ societies have evolved from the pre-historic caveman-era towards the modern age of technology. However, the act of reproduction has remained the same throughout this journey. Pregnancy is one of the important phases in the life of every woman. If any problem occurs in this phase, a woman suffers a lot. Biologically speaking, fertilization in egg results in pregnancy, which is basically the progress in fetus development in the womb of the mother. In a normal situation, the fertilized egg combines with the uterus lining after passing through the fallopian tube. However, in some cases, it does not happen in the same way. This situation results in something called Ectopic Pregnancy. In this article, we will see exactly what ectopic pregnancy is and what are its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
By definition, this type of pregnancy occurs when the egg after fertilization starts growing in the fallopian tube. That is why another name of this pregnancy is a tubal pregnancy. It may also occur in some other body parts, like in ovary, abdominal cavity, or cervix. As you can imagine, this type of case is actually very rare and doesn’t occur quite often. But whenever it does, mostly it leads to the death of a woman. Because in this situation, the fallopian tube mostly breaks due to stretching. As a result, bleeding starts in the fallopian tube and this may result in death. Let’s see how the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy appear.
Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
Basically, symptoms of ectopic pregnancy do not occur immediately. It takes time to appear. The symptoms of ectopic pregnancy appear between 1 to 3 months of pregnancy. Sometimes, the first scan of the uterus shows the issue. Actually, when the fallopian tube gets rupture due to pressure, the following symptoms of ectopic pregnancy can occur:
As in normal conditions, blood passes through the vagina of every woman. This situation is known as periods. But in this case, this bleeding is very different from those in periods. It is not regular. It starts and stops irregularly. Sometimes it is very thick and sometimes very thin like water. Its color is also different. Mostly, it is dark brown in color instead of red.
Pain in Tummy
One of the major symptoms of ectopic pregnancy is severe pain in the tummy. Basically, it occurs on one side of the tummy. It can occur suddenly. However, sometimes it comes and go or sometimes, it can be persistent. Although it is not necessary that always a pain in tummy occurs because of this reason. Tummy pain may also occur due to some other natural reasons. It may also occur due to gas.
Shoulder tip pain
This pain basically occurs where the shoulder ends and the arms start. Actually, there is not an exact reason for this pain to occur. But it results in bleeding inside the body and causes ectopic pregnancy.
Discomfort when going to the toilet
A woman feels difficulty in urine passing. Similarly, she faces difficulty in stool passing. Sometime, in normal pregnancy, she may also face difficulty in going to the toilet. So, for confirmation, she must consult her doctor as soon as possible.
Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy
There is not any single cause of this disease. Hormonal imbalance is one of the major causes of ectopic pregnancy. Other contributing causes of ectopic pregnancy are as follows:
Previous ectopic pregnancy
As we know that hormonal imbalance results in this problem. So, if a woman suffers from this situation once in her life, there are more chances to occur again. It’s better to avoid pregnancy in this situation.
Sometimes, in sexual contacts, both males and females get an infection. Basically, there are some bacteria that cause infection in the warm and moist body areas. Gonorrhea is one of those bacteria. So, they cause infections in the tube of the female. As a result, this infection causes ectopic pregnancy.
Some women take some treatments before getting pregnant. They take these treatments because they have fertility problems. Sometimes, these treatments become the cause of this issue. As everything has its side effects.
Some women have damaged fallopian tubes. They go for surgery in this situation. Although the surgery helps them in healing their fallopian tube. But when a woman gets pregnant, her egg got stuck to the fallopian tube which causes ectopic pregnancy.
Choice of birth control
Mostly, those people who do not want children use one device. The name of that device is the intrauterine device (IUD). It is basically a small device, which doctor implants into the uterus of a woman. It helps in preventing pregnancy. There is a very rare chance of getting pregnant after using this device. However, in some rare cases, she may get pregnant. Then in that situation, she faces the problem of this type of pregnancy. Similarly, there is another permanent surgery for controlling pregnancy. The name of this surgery is Tubal ligation. After this surgery, the egg comes from the ovary and travels to the uterus through the fallopian tube. Due to which it causes ectopic pregnancy if pregnancy occurs.
If a woman smokes before pregnancy, it may cause a reaction in her body. Due to which when she gets pregnant, the chance of this type of pregnancy increases.
As you know that if you take something for granted, it may harm you. The same is the case with ectopic pregnancy. If you do not go for its treatment on time, it may lead you towards death. Because the fallopian tube gets burst if you do not take this problem seriously.
When to see a doctor
Mostly, when a woman gets pregnant, she visits a doctor. But sometimes it becomes necessary to visit the doctor in the following conditions:
- If she feels severe pain in her stomach. Along with that pain, she also faces dark brown vaginal pain.
- If there is extreme pain in her head and her color becomes faint due to weakness.
- If a woman feels continuous shoulder pain then she must visit her doctor.
Diagnosis of Ectopic Pregnancy
If you get the positive pregnancy test and there are any symptoms of ectopic pregnancy. Then in this situation, it becomes necessary to go for a diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy. For the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy, the doctor does the following tests:
For the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy, the doctor may go for the ultrasound of the vagina. So, that he can easily find the infection. For this purpose, the doctor first inserts a small probe into the vagina of the patient. The doctor does not give any anesthesia to the patient for this ultrasound. Basically, this probe shows the image of the reproductive system. It emits waves that bounce back to show the image. That image displays on the monitor. However, it does not always show accurate results. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to find the issue.
In comparison to vaginal ultrasound, blood tests are more accurate for the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy. This test basically helps in finding the level of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone. In a normal pregnancy, its level rises in more speed than in this situation. So, to determine speed, the doctor conducts the blood test two times. There is a gap of 2 days between these two tests.
If the above two tests do not help in the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy, then the doctors go for this surgery. The name of this surgery is laparoscopy. To proceed with this surgery, the doctors first give anesthesia to the patient. After that, they make a small cut on the tummy of the patient. Then they insert a small fiber-optic tube in the tummy. This tube helps in examining the womb as well as fallopian tubes. After examining, doctors get confirmation whether there is a problem or not. If they find the problem, they try to remove it with small surgical instruments. So that the patient does not need to go for another operation.
Treatment of Ectopic Pregnancy
Treatment of Ectopic pregnancy is very important. Without treatment, it may cause life-threatening issues. However, before going for the treatment, the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy is very necessary. Depending upon the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, the doctor decides its treatment in the following ways:
If you get to know about this problem in the early stage, you can easily treat it by taking some medicines. Methotrexate is one of the medicines you can use for this purpose. Basically, medicine helps in the treatment of ectopic pregnancy by stopping it. Doctors inject this medicine through a single injection. In this situation, there is no need to admit the patient. Although, the doctor takes his blood tests regularly to know about the current situation. After this treatment, you should avoid pregnancy for 3 months. As this medicine is harmful to the baby. Similarly, you should also avoid the use of alcohol after this medication. Because it can cause liver problems.
Disadvantages of Medication
As every action has some reaction, the same is the case with medication. After this medication, you may suffer from
- Tummy pain
After laparoscopy, if the doctor gets confirmation about the ectopic pregnancy, then the doctors go for the surgery. In this surgery, they remove the fallopian tube right after the laparoscopy. It is a very effective treatment for ectopic pregnancy. After this surgery, there are still maximum chances of pregnancy again. A patient can easily recover in one week after treatment.
Prevention of Ectopic pregnancy
Basically, there is not any defined way for the prevention of ectopic pregnancy. But all you can do is to follow some precautions for the prevention of this pregnancy. You should avoid the following things:
- Try to use a condom during sexual contact. It can help you to stay away from different infections during sexual contact.
- Don’t come in sexual contact with many persons as it can cause infection and ultimately, you may face this problem.
- Avoid smoking in a normal routine. But if you are trying to get pregnant, quit it completely.
- If you had suffered from this issue in the past. Try to avoid conceiving in the future. As there are maximum chances of getting this problem again. So, it may help in the prevention of this type of pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy is the least common type that occurs naturally and its causes depend upon the conditions. But you must go for the treatment of ectopic pregnancy immediately after diagnosis when its symptoms appear. There is not any known prevention of this pregnancy, but you can avoid some things as precautions.