An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, usually on the fallopian tube. Although not as dangerous as other pregnancy complications, ectopic pregnancy can lead to major complications for both the mother and the fetus. The major threat to the developing fetus is that the fertilized egg will die as it grows outside of the uterus. If not treated immediately, this condition may result in the death of the unborn baby.
Ectopic pregnancy also occurs when the lining of the fallopian tube becomes too thick. This condition is most common during early pregnancy, but sometimes it can occur after childbirth. A rupture of the fallopian tube may cause a large cyst to develop that develops outside of the uterus.
Ectopic pregnancy is not life threatening
However, if not treated quickly, the cyst may grow larger and travel to the other side of the uterus. This may lead to a ruptured uterus, birth injury, or other complications. Ectopic pregnancy can be one of the leading causes of miscarriage. Therefore, early treatment is important to prevent damage to the developing fetus.
The symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are similar to those of any other pregnancy, including missed periods, pain during intercourse, bleeding, or spotting between periods. There may also be a change in vaginal discharge. A woman who is pregnant can pass this condition to her unborn child. If left untreated, the condition may cause severe infection and even death.
Why Ectopic pregnancy should be diagnosed immediately
It is not uncommon for a cyst to develop and not be detected until it ruptures. Left untreated, the cyst may grow larger and cause other complications for the mother and the developing fetus.
The necessary tests include blood and urine tests. To test for infection, a special dye may be inserted into the bladder. If it is positive for infection, then it is probably due to an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is often misdiagnosed as a miscarriage.
Symptoms of the condition include
An infected person may not notice any symptoms at first. However, some women who have an ectopic pregnancy have the usual early signs or symptoms of pregnancy, a missed period, breast tenderness and nausea.
If such an individual takes a pregnancy test, the result will be positive. Still, an ectopic pregnancy cannot continue as normal. As the fertilized egg grows in the improper place, signs and symptoms become more noticeable.
- Pain low down and on one side of your abdomen
- Bleeding from your vagina
- Pain in the tip of your shoulder
- Discomfort when going to the toilet
- Brown watery discharge from your vagina
Risk factors of an Ectopic pregnancy
- Previous ectopic pregnancy. If you’ve had this type of pregnancy before, you’re more likely to have another.
- Inflammation or infection. Sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia, can cause inflammation in the tubes and other nearby organs, and increase your risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
- Fertility treatments. Some research suggests that women who have in vitro fertilization (IVF) or similar treatments are more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. Infertility itself may also raise your risk.
- Tubal surgery. Surgery to correct a closed or damaged fallopian tube can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
- Choice of birth control. The chance of getting pregnant while using an intrauterine device (IUD) is rare. However, if you do get pregnant with an IUD in place, it’s more likely to be ectopic. Tubal ligation, a permanent method of birth control commonly known as “having your tubes tied,” also raises your risk, if you become pregnant after this procedure.
- Smoking. Cigarette smoking just before you get pregnant can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. The more you smoke, the greater the risk. You can also read: Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Women who are at high pregnancy risk for this condition should be monitored regularly by their doctor. These women may be more likely to miscarry than women who are at low risk. Women who are at high risk for this condition should avoid all activities that put them at risk of falling, such as standing, dancing, or running.
Early diagnosis is essential for avoiding complications that could occur after birth. Other complications, such as shock, miscarriage, or infection, could lead to permanent damage to the developing fetus. Therefore, early treatment of this condition is critical to reducing the possibility of these complications.
Although early treatment of ectopic pregnancy may lead to complications, it is very safe. In fact, there are many successful pregnancies that have been successfully treated early on with surgical procedures. However, it is important for women to discuss the option of surgical treatment with their doctor before proceeding.
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