Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is a serious obstacle to the long-awaited birth of a baby. This condition is not only dangerous for a woman, but can also adversely affect subsequent attempts to conceive. The main reason for the poor outcome is the inability to seek medical care at an early stage. Therefore, it is important to know the first symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy and, if they occur, immediately seek medical help. 

who is at risk for ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy during which a fertilized egg is implanted outside the uterus. In 95% of cases with such a conception, embryo implantation occurs in the fallopian tube. Other places include the ovaries, abdominal organs, and cervix.

However, this process does not always occur correctly from the point of view of physiology. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when, for some reason, the zygote has not reached the uterus. The reason may be, for example, a too narrow fallopian tube.
However, the more common provocateurs are:

  • the presence of adhesions in the fallopian tubes as a result of previous inflammation and endometriosis;
  • functional disorders of the genital organs, mainly the abnormal contractility of the fallopian tubes;
  • violation of the proportions between the concentrations of estrogen and progesterone.

Today, doctors distinguish a considerable number of reasons that have, to one degree or another, influenced the development of ectopic pregnancy, and in fact most of them are still not understood.

what are the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy

The initial stage of an ectopic pregnancy coincides with the normal, therefore it is difficult to detect it at the earliest possible date. A woman notices a delay in menstruation, mood swings, and the test shows two stripes (in some cases with an abnormal pregnancy, one strip will be less clear). Therefore, at the very beginning, a woman does not know that pregnancy is developing incorrectly and that she can pose a threat to her health or even life. However, after some time, even before visiting the gynecologist, alarming symptoms begin to appear:

  • stomach ache;
  • abnormal bleeding;
  • feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder;
  • back pain, lower back;
  • soreness in the ovaries;
  • tactile pains in the entire lower abdomen;
  • palpable formation near the ovaries;
  • low-grade fever;
  • fainting, dizziness, general malaise.

An ectopic pregnancy gives symptoms quite late, usually at 5-6 weeks, there are aching pains in the lower abdomen and spotting.

Types of ectopic pregnancy

Pipe. Egg implantation occurs inside the fallopian tube. Most often, during such a pregnancy, a miscarriage or rupture of the tube occurs, depending on in which segment of the organ the fetus was located.

Abdominal. The fetal egg attaches to the selected abdominal organ. Pain in the lower abdomen is the main symptom of this type of pregnancy. Continuous vomiting, nausea, constipation, diarrhea may also occur.

Ovarian. The development and implantation of a fertilized egg occurs in the ovary. This type of ectopic pregnancy is most common in women who have given birth several times and have reached 40 years of age.

Cervical. The attachment of the egg occurs below the internal opening of the uterus. This type of pregnancy carries a high risk of bleeding.

If an ectopic pregnancy appears once, the risk of her relapse is 15% and increases with its subsequent occurrence.

Diagnosis and treatment methods

When diagnosing, the doctor must differentiate this condition from other diseases that cause similar symptoms. These include:

  • inflammation of the appendages;
  • intrauterine miscarriage;
  • appendicitis;
  • rupture of an ovarian cyst.

Once an ectopic pregnancy is detected, the only option is to terminate it. Depending on the clinical situation, therapy may consist of an injection of a drug that stops the growth of the embryo, or surgery to remove it.

Some ectopic pregnancies will resolve on their own, without the need for any intervention, while others will need urgent surgery due to life-threatening bleeding.