What Does An Ectopic Pregnancy Feel Like?
When a pregnancy happens outside the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. In normal pregnancy, the embryo attaches itself to the inner lining of the uterus however the fertilized egg is implanted outside the main cavity of the uterus, within an ectopic pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy is also known as tubal pregnancy because most often it carries egg away from uterus and implants it in fallopian tubes. But it can also implant in other parts of the body like ovary, abdominal cavity or lower part of the uterus. Due to “wrong” engagement, ectopic pregnancy usually don’t last long. It should be treated immediately otherwise it may cause life-threatening situation due to excessive bleeding and growing tissue
Symptoms And Warning Signs Of Ectopic Pregnancy
It is hard to say exactly when ectopic pregnancy symptoms start? You cannot know about ectopic pregnancy unless tested and confirmed by the doctor. However, there can be few symptoms that may not seem normal to pregnant women. Like every woman, you may get early pregnancy symptoms like breast tenderness, nausea and missed periods. The positive pregnancy result will confirm the news.
Ectopic pregnancy will start like other normal pregnancy but it will not continue as normal.
No one can confirm ectopic pregnancy just by symptoms but there are few warning signs that can alert you to consult your doctor immediately.
If you are having severe pelvic pain(light pain is common in early pregnancy) and vaginal bleeding, consult your doctor. With growing pregnancy, the blood will leak from the fallopian tube and collects in other parts of the body. You may feel irritation, urge to bowl and shoulder pain.
Pain in pelvic location, neck, and even shoulder can be a symptom of ectopic pregnancy.
The pain can be on the left side or overall pelvic region and can be mild or severe but if you are not feeling ok and the pain is severe seek for medical help. If you are feeling cramps in the belly, consult your doctor.
Extreme warning signs
If you don’t know about your ectopic pregnancy, it will continue to grow in a fallopian tube and will cause it to rupture. You may get shocks, fainting, and dizziness.
Ruptured tissue will cause heavy bleeding and the situation can be life-threatening.
Ectopic Pregnancy Test
You can’t confirm ectopic pregnancy just from unusual symptoms. Doctor will check, diagnose and run tests to confirm ectopic pregnancy.
During a pelvic examination, your doctor may feel mass and run hormonal tests along with pelvic ultrasound to check for ectopic pregnancy. The ultrasound will confirm the absence of pregnancy in the uterus.
A pregnant woman has elevated HCG levels. Unusual patterns in HCG can point towards ectopic pregnancy.
In very few cases, the doctor may need a laparoscopy to confirm an ectopic pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy requires treatment because fertilized egg can’t develop outside the uterus. The tissue must be removed to prevent a life-threatening situation. Treatment for ectopic pregnancy depends on time when your ectopic pregnancy is confirmed. Your doctor will give medication for early ectopic pregnancy but surgery can be required if medication won’t work.
Ectopic pregnancy may be treated with medication given by a doctor. Your doctor will give you methotrexate, a medicine to stop cell growth and remove existing cells. This medication will be given through injection. After medication, the doctor will run HCG tests to see how well this treatment is working.
Laparoscopy (ectopic pregnancy surgery)
Ectopic pregnancy may be treated through laparoscopy. In this procedure, a laceration is made near a navel and a thin tube with an attached camera is inserted to view the tubal area.
Salpingostomy and salpingectomy are two types of laparoscopic surgeries. In salpingostomy, they remove the pregnancy and let the body and tube heal on their own but in salpingectomy, the tube is removed from the body along with pregnancy. Your surgery type will be decided according to your condition.
Your bleeding, level of damage and health of another fallopian tube may contribute to the type of surgery that you will receive.
Sometimes, due to heavy bleeding, you require emergency surgery to avoid life-threatening conditions and remove an ectopic pregnancy.
Mostly heavy bleeding is caused by ruptured tubes, so tubes will be removed through surgery. In some cases, with less damage and according to the situation, fallopian tube can be saved.
Reasons for having ectopic pregnancy can be different and vary according to women and their health history.
The following can be the reasons of ectopic pregnancy.
- Infection and inflammation of the fallopian tube which can cause swelling and block the tube partially or entirely. So egg gets attached to tubes instead of the uterus.
- Scar tissue from previous surgery. It can also affect the egg movement and may block its way to the uterus.
- Previous surgery can also cause resistance in tubes and egg can fail its journey to the uterus.
- Abnormality in tube shape due to birth defect or abnormal growth.
- History of ectopic pregnancy can also cause this type of pregnancy again.
- Sexually transmitted infections can also cause inflammation in tubes and can increase your risks of ectopic pregnancy.
- Fertility treatments such as IVF or similar treatment can also cause ectopic pregnancy.
- Infertility is also a major cause itself.
- Tubal surgery can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
- Birth control methods like IUD can also cause ectopic pregnancy. If you get pregnant when your IUD is in place, chances are you will have ectopic pregnancy.
- Tubal ligation surgery can also increase the chances if you still get pregnant after that.
- Smoking and use of alcohol before pregnancy can cause ectopic pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy can be a life-threatening situation. It can cause your fallopian tubes to burst.If not treated immediately, excessive bleeding can cause a risk to life. If tubes are removed permanently, chances of infertility increase.
Ectopic pregnancy prevention
If ectopic pregnancy is about to happen than technically you can’t prevent it. But with some precautions, you can definitely reduce the risk. Limit sexual partners to decrease the risks of infection, sexually transmitted diseases, and ectopic pregnancy.
Use condoms to prevent the risk of ectopic pregnancy due to IUD and it also reduces the chances of pelvic inflammation due to infections.Quit smoking before you are trying to get pregnant and after pregnancy.