Feel curious about ectopic pregnancy symptoms? One of your ovaries tends to release an egg into the fallopian tube every month. If you don’t get pregnant, then the lining of your uterus will shed. It is also a time for your menstrual period to come. But, if an egg is fertilized with sperm, then it will make its own way to the uterus. In that case, the fertilized egg will implant into the uterine lining and grow into a fetus.
Nevertheless, it does not happen like that in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. At that time, the fertilized egg is likely to implant outside the uterus. Hence, it may not continue to normally develop. Instead, it can attach to the fallopian tube, cervix or abdominal cavity. A pregnancy test can reveal whether a woman is pregnant or not. But, a fertilized egg may not properly grow anywhere than the uterus. One out of every 50 pregnancies can experience this case.
In general, an ectopic pregnancy occurs early during pregnancy, even before women realize they become future moms. It always requires right treatment. The reason is that when the ectopic pregnancy grows, then it may rupture the fallopian tube as well as cause dangerous internal bleeding. Suspect that you experience this condition? Then, don’t be hesitant to call your practitioner now! With a timely diagnosis and care, it is quite possible to have a high chance of getting a healthy pregnancy in the future.
Who may be at risk for an ectopic pregnancy?
Typically, sexually active women are high risk for an ectopic pregnancy. Furthermore, risk factors may even increase with the following reasons:
- History of pelvic surgery, multiple abortions, pelvic inflammatory disease, abdominal surgery, and endometriosis
- maternal age of 35 years old or older
- Conception happened, in spite of intrauterine device or tubal ligation
- Conception aided by fertility procedures or drugs
- Usually smoking
- History of ectopic pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases
- Having structural abnormalities in the fallopian tubes, which make it difficult for the egg to travel
Consider visiting a doctor or a fertility specialist if you have any of the above risk factors. They will surely minimize the risks for ectopic pregnancies in the future.
Ectopic pregnancy symptoms – what to notice?
In fact, an ectopic pregnancy may become hard to diagnose. The reason is that many symptoms, like nausea, breast tenderness, or fatigue, are similar to normal pregnancy symptoms. As a result, though slight vaginal spotting and occasional cramping are not cause for alarm during pregnancy, make sure to call your physician if you experience the following signs, especially if such earliest ectopic pregnancy symptoms persist or worsen:
- Sharp and abdominal pain in the lower abdomen. Pain can be continual or intermittent. Thus, it can become worsen with straining of bowels, coughing, or even movement!
- Brown spotting or abnormal light bleeding after a positive pregnancy test
- Other vaginal bleeding which does not happen at the time of your period
What if the ectopic pregnancy is unnoticed while a fallopian tube is likely to rupture? Then, you start realizing:
- Increasing abdominal pain
- Heavier bleeding
- Intense sharp abdominal pain
- Rectal pressure
- Faintness, dizziness, or weakness, due to blood loss
- Shoulder pain, because of the accumulation of blood under the diaphragm
- Low blood pressure, because of blood loss
Diagnose ectopic pregnancy
Suspect you may suffer from early signs of ectopic pregnancy symptoms? Then, see your doctor immediately. Actually, ectopic pregnancies may not be diagnosed from a physical exam. But, the physician tends to perform one to find out other factors. Of course, a transvaginal ultrasound is also an important step of diagnosis. At that time, a special wand-like instrument will be inserted into your vagina. This helps the doctor see if a gestational sac is now in the uterus or not.
In addition, he also uses a blood test to examine your hCG levels and progesterone. Such hormones are often present during pregnancy. Do these hormone levels begin decreasing or staying the same over the course of a few days? Is not a gestational sac present in an ultrasound? Then, the pregnancy seems to be ectopic.
For those who experience severe symptoms, (i.e. significant pain or bleeding), it is not enough time to do all these steps. In extreme cases, the fallopian tube might even rupture that causes severe internal bleeding. For that reason, the healthcare provider may perform an emergency surgery to give immediate treatment.
How to treat ectopic pregnancy?
The doctor tends to prescribe several medications which help to prevent the ectopic mass from bursting. Methotrexate (Rheumatrex) is one common medication for this condition. This drug can stop the growth of dividing cells. It is better to get regular blood tests to make sure that the drug is effective. If the result is effective, the medication can cause symptoms similar to ones of a miscarriage. Some examples are bleeding, cramping, and the passing of tissue.
According to many surgeons, removing the embryo as well as repairing internal damages is a must. In general, the doctor will insert a small camera via a small incision. This helps him to see his work clearly. Next, the surgeon will remove the embryo and continue repairing any damage to the fallopian tube. What happens if the surgery is unsuccessful? Then, the surgeon will repeat the surgery performance. In this case, he uses a larger incision.
It is also necessary for the doctor to have the fallopian tube removed during surgery if it’s damaged.
At that time, the physician will provide the patient with specific instructions about the care of her incisions after surgery. The main aims are to keep her incisions dry and clean while they heal. Call the doctor if notice any infection signs, such as:
- Excess bleeding
- Bleeding which does not stop
- Foul-smelling drainage
- Hot to the touch
After surgery, you are quite able to notice light vaginal bleeding and small blood clots. This case may last up to 6 weeks after your procedure. Hence, ensure to include other following self-care measures to have a good health:
- Drink a lot of fluids to prevent constipation
- Never lift something that is heavy more than 10 pounds
- Pelvic rest. Of course, refrain from sexual intercourse, douching and tampon use!
- Rest as much as possible during the first week post-surgery. After that, increase activity in the next weeks
Always let your healthcare provider know if you feel something that is out of the ordinary or your pain increases!