Ectopic Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
At the beginning a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy may not notice any significant signs or symptoms. Others, however, have reported similar symptoms that one would expect with a normal pregnancy, such as breast tenderness and nausea. Home pregnancy tests will show a positive result if you are having an ectopic pregnancy as well, but these pregnancies will not continue as they would normally.
1. Possible signs of an Ectopic pregnancy
The first warning signs that your pregnancy may be ectopic are abdominal or pelvic pain which may be coupled with light vaginal bleeding. It is also possible that a woman will experience shoulder pain if blood is leaking from the Fallopian tube. It is unlikely that heavy bleeding occurs, unless the pregnancy has occurred in the cervix.
If the fallopian tube ruptures, there is a possibility that heavy bleeding will occur in the abdomen, which can lead to extreme dizziness, fainting and shock.
2. When to see a doctor
You should seek medical assistance if you have any signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy:
- Severe pain in the abdomen or pelvic area, especially if vaginal bleeding occurs as well
- Fainting or extreme light-headedness
The most common cause of an ectopic pregnancy is a tubal pregnancy. This occurs when the egg gets lodged in the Fallopian tube after it has been fertilized. Other times, it could be related to a hormonal balance or issues with the development of the fetus as well. However, there are times when the exact cause of an ectopic pregnancy remains unknown.
4. Risk Factors
It is estimated that there are about 20 ectopic pregnancies to every 1000 and there are many factors that are related to them:
- Having an Ectopic Pregnancy in the past
o You are more likely to have another ectopic pregnancy if you have had one in the past.
- Infection and inflammation
o If the Fallopian tubes are infected or inflamed you have an increased risk of having an ectopic pregnancy
- Issues with fertility
o There is some research available that shows a correlation between ectopic pregnancies and fertility issues and drugs used to treat them.
o Depending on the type of contraceptive that you use, you may be more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy.
If you do have an ectopic pregnancy, you will find that your risks are fairly high. There is a chance that your Fallopian tubes will rupture, which can lead to life threatening conditions. If untreated about half of all ectopic pregnancies are fatal to the mother.
6. What to do
If you are experiencing symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, it is important that you talk to your doctor as quickly as possible. You may even need immediate care, so be prepared for a trip to the emergency room.
It is a good idea to bring a friend or a family member with you to the appointment because it may be difficult to remember everything that you need to do. Make sure that you ask plenty of questions so that you will fully understand what is going to happen and what you need to do.
You can expect your doctor to ask many questions as well as run some tests in order to determine if you are having an ectopic pregnancy. When examining you, your doctor will probably perform a pelvic exam followed by an ultrasound to determine if the pregnancy is ectopic.
If it is discovered soon enough, an ectopic pregnancy may be treated with an injection. However, many times a surgery is required in order to remove it and repair the damage left behind by an ectopic pregnancy.
Regardless of when the pregnancy is discovered, it will need to be removed because of the life threatening situation that it causes for the mother. It is important to realize that an ectopic pregnancy cannot develop naturally and must be ended.
There is no way to prevent an ectopic pregnancy from occurring and many times doctors are not able to determine why one occurs. You can decrease your risk factors, however by limiting the number of sexual partners that you have and using condoms to reduce the risk of STDs and infections, which may be able to cause ectopic pregnancies.Ectopic Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms,