An ectopic pregnancy is a very scary experience for most women. Ectopic pregnancy happens when the embryo fails to implant itself inside the uterine wall, but instead implants itself outside the uterus, causing complications.
The most common case of ectopic pregnancies is when the embryo implants itself in the fallopian tube. It can also grow in the ovaries, cervix and other abdominal regions. Ectopic pregnancies are difficult to diagnose early as it may not have many symptoms.
Typically, it is discovered after the seventh week when women face severe abdominal cramps, spotting or bleeding. It is important to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy immediately and seek medical help, failing which the woman can become infertile or even lose her life. Here are some ways to recognise the warning signs.
Symptoms Of Ectopic Pregnancy
The most common symptoms associated with an ectopic pregnancy are vaginal bleeding or spotting, vomiting along with nausea, pain concentrated in one side of the lower abdominal area, weakness, rectal pain, dizziness and pain in the shoulders and neck if the ectopic pregnancy breaks open. If any of these symptoms surface, especially in the early weeks of pregnancy, seek medical assistance immediately.
Diagnosis Of Ectopic Pregnancy
Look for ectopic pregnancy symptoms as mentioned above. The symptoms occur within seven to eight weeks of pregnancy and not later than that. Vaginal bleeding will be especially profuse if the pregnancy has broken. Blood would be either red or brown.
Along with abdominal cramping and bleeding, you might also notice certain kind of clustered tissue passing out through the vagina. If grape like clusters are present, it is most often due to an ectopic pregnancy.
Your doctor might recommend a pelvic examination during which time he/she will assess the size of the uterus and look for enlarged ovaries. Ectopic pregnancy will cause the ovaries to enlarge due to the tissue growth inside and the uterus will be larger than what is normal.
A vaginal ultrasound scan would be conducted to check for abnormal tissues in the uterus. The presence of grapelike clusters can be detected with an ultrasound scan and the presence of ectopic pregnancy can be confirmed.
Blood tests are conducted in order to monitor the levels of hCG in the blood. Women who are suspected to have an ectopic pregnancy will have their blood tested for hCG levels for several days. The hCG levels will be higher for women with ectopic pregnancy than those who have a normal pregnancy.
As an ectopic pregnancy will have the embryo outside the uterus, an ultrasound can help in checking whether the foetus is present within the uterus. Absence of foetal growth inside the uterus and absence of heart beats and foetal movement can help in the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy.
A ruptured ectopic pregnancy will require surgery to treat the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. Sometimes surgical removal is necessary to stop hemorrhaging. If the ectopic pregnancy is detected early, the doctor will remove the embryo through a laparoscopic procedure or give medications to stop the advancement of pregnancy if the ectopic pregnancy is in the initial stage and inside the ovaries.